How To Shadowbox | 5 Easy Steps For Beginner Boxers

How To Shadowbox | 5 Easy Steps For Beginner Boxers

Shadowboxing is an important boxing technique. FightCamp Trainer Aaron Swenson is sharing his top 5 tips to perfect your form so you don't make common mistakes.

Published: April 21, 2022

Topics: Tips & Technique, Training

Author: Aaron Swenson

One of the best drills that a boxer can use for training is shadowboxing. You can't learn how to box without shadowboxing–and you can’t learn how to shadowbox without a mirror.

Using a mirror is the best way to perfect your form and boxing technique. It provides instant visual feedback on what needs to be corrected. The word “shadowbox” was first used because the technique involved boxing against imaginary opponents, and in doing so, it would look like you were boxing against your shadow.

FightCamp Trainer Aaron Swenson shares his five (5) tips for shadowboxing effectively.

Aaron’s Top 5 Tips For Shadowboxing

1. The Stance (Orthodox)

Aaron Swenson in a Boxing Stance
  • Feet

    • Staggered and shoulder-width apart

    • Rear foot is at a 90-degree angle

    • Weight on the ball of the foot for explosiveness

    • Lead foot is at a 45-degree angle

    • Establish a midline (imaginary line running from toe of lead foot to heel of the rear foot)

    Common Mistakes:

    • Too narrow stance = no lead hand power (off-balance)

    • Too open stance = open for opponent shots

  • Hands

    • Elbows tucked into the body, perpendicular to the floor

    • Rear hand should be close to eye-level

    • Lead hand should be slightly further away

    • Your hands should be open, loose, and relaxed

    Note: This is the long range stance set up. The closer you are to an opponent, the tighter your hands should be to get to your face for a close range stance.

2. Straight Punches

Aaron Swenson Throwing a Jab Punch

The Jab | 1

Perform a mental checklist as you shadowbox, working from the ground up. When punching, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Am I pivoting? Are my toes/heels pointing in the same direction as my punch?

  2. Am I shifting my weight properly?

    • Make sure you are transferring your weight from your rear leg to your lead leg for the most punching power

  3. Am I getting enough extension?

    • When you execute a jab, you need to find full extension

      • Power for the jab is generated by pushing off of your back foot

      • Your rear foot should pivot with your extension

      • During the punch, your weight is transferred forward

      • Focus on throwing the punch, landing it in the same spot every time (on your own “chin” in the mirror)

The Cross | 2

Again, perform the same mental checklist, work from the ground up, and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I pivoting? Are my toes/heels pointing in the same direction as my punch?

  2. Am I shifting my weight properly?

    • Make sure you are transferring your weight from your rear leg to your lead leg for optimum punching power

  3. Am I getting enough extension?

    • Make sure to find full extension

    • Rotate your shoulders, utilizing your core to generate power

Pro tip: A master boxer knows exactly how much he needs to twist and pivot, without leaning over the lead knee, to successfully land the cross.

3. Hooks

Aaron Swenson Throwing a Hook Punch

Lead Hook | 3

  • Start with 70 percent of your weight on your lead leg

  • The power you generate during a hook punch is determined by how much weight is transferred from your lead leg to your rear leg

  • Your lead arm is simply a lever during the punch

  • Key form checkpoints (mid-throw):

    • Rear foot should be flat

    • Pivot on lead foot

    • You should be able to lift your lead foot off of the ground, as your weight is shifted almost entirely on your rear foot

  • Optimal punch angle starts about one foot outside of your midline

Rear Hook | 4

  • Start with 70 percent of your weight on your rear leg

  • The power you generate during a hook punch is determined by how much weight is transferred from your rear leg to your lead leg

  • Your rear arm is simply a lever during the punch

  • Key form checkpoints (mid-throw):

    • Lead foot should be flat

    • Pivot on rear foot

    • You should be able to lift your rear foot off of the ground, as your weight is shifted almost entirely on your lead foot

  • Optimal punch angle starts about one foot outside of your midline

4. Uppercuts

Aaron Swenson Throwing An Uppercut Punch
  • Get into position to throw the uppercut by bending your knees, dropping your center of gravity

  • Power is generated using your quads and glutes to explode upwards, transferring your weight into the punch

Lead Uppercut | 5

  • Hand comes down just around your beltline

  • To execute the punch, break it down into two (2) steps:

    • Slip down to start the punch, in close range, with your hands up high in guard

    • Drop your lead hand simultaneously, while rising, as the punch is thrown

      • These same steps can be followed to properly execute a rear uppercut

Rear Uppercut | 6

  • Starts at beltline

    • Common mistake: Rear hand drops too low to start punching, which leaves you open for an opponent’s strike

  • To execute the punch, break it down into two (2) steps:

    • Slip down to start the punch, in close range, with your hands up high in guard

    • Drop your rear hand simultaneously, while rising, as the punch is thrown

5. Footwork

Aaron Swenson Demonstrating Footwork For Shadowboxing
  • Anytime one foot moves, the other foot moves the same distance

    • Common mistake: Jab is thrown, but the rear foot doesn't follow

      • This leaves you out of position and off balance

  • When stepping, make sure to use the mirror to check your footwork form–your midline stance is maintained, and your feet are shoulder-width apart

  • Key focus points:

    • When throwing a jab - cross (1 - 2) punch combo, as the foot hits, the punch hits

    • Focus on moving your feet together

    • Back foot pivots when throwing the cross

    • Rotate shoulders enough for full extension

Bonus Tip - Advanced Fighters

  • Practice keeping one hand open and one hand closed

    • The hand that is executing the punch should be closed, while your guard hand should remain open

    • This helps maintain and conserve energy

  • Keeping your hand open results in less tension, so you won't get exhausted as quickly

  • Practice this slowly as it takes time to master, alternating between open and closed hands

Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Being able to shadowbox takes time. Start slow, and over time you’ll be able to fully master the basics. While executing punches, remember to perform a mental checklist. Start from your feet, working all the way up to your hands. The mirror is there to help you correct and improve your boxing technique.

Are you ready to train like a fighter? Get access to hundreds of boxing, kickboxing, strength, conditioning, recovery, and stretching workouts that will push you mentally and physically. Download the FREE FightCamp App and train with real fighters from the comfort of your own home.

Aaron Swenson

Aaron “Speedy” Swenson began in his family’s Chicago dojo. By 2013, Aaron had two National Kickboxing titles & a USA National Kickboxing Team spot. Aaron is a Founding Coach at FightCamp & USA Boxing Coach certified.

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