Knock yourself out: shadow boxing in the gym

Knock yourself out: shadow boxing in the gym

What exercise routine needs just space and a mirror? This shadow boxing routine, that’s what.

Okay - maybe some good exercise tunes and a workout timer too (try the Tabata Stopwatch Pro App).  And – although not necessary - some boxing gloves for added effect.

Set the timer counting down from 21 minutes, with 3 minute intervals with 30 second breaks in between. That should give you 6 rounds of boxing (31minutes gives you 9).

Then you’re ready for your rounds:

Round 1:

Jogging on spot whilst punching with both hands out in front with short fast punches (this is your warm up) – you could replace this with rope skipping.

Round 2:

1st minute left jab, make it long and snappy always bringing your fist back to your chin, 2nd minute right jab, 3rd minute right and left punches. Get on your toes, use the mirror to perfect your technique.

Round 3:

More technique whilst practicing combinations. Jab, cross, hook for a 3 punch move. Jab, cross, hook, uppercut, cross for a five punch combo. If you have no idea what I’m talking about check out YouTube for punching technique. As a rule keep your elbows in, punches straight, direct and always coming back to your chin.

Round 4:

So far you’ve put some combinations together and worked on technique, it’s time to relax and ‘freestyle’ at the mid-way point. Get on your toes, dance around, relax and throw some punches, soft and light, try putting multiple combinations together.

Round 5:

Back to work. 20 quick punches followed by 10 press up, 20 punches again followed by 10 sit ups, 20 quick punches followed by 10 burpees and so on. Make both your punches and exercises quick and sharp, the aim is to do as many reps as possible in the 3 minute round.

Round 6:

Fight time! Not really it’s still just you and your reflection. This is the 3 minutes when you’re a boxer, putting together a round of boxing where you attack, defend, slip punches and put together quick fire combinations of punches. Think Sugar Ray rather than Rocky and deliver a realistic 3 minutes of controlled boxing not a slug fest.

How to make it harder:

Use Dumbbells. A 2 or 3 kg dumbbell in each hand will add intensity. Just be careful when bringing the dumbbell back to your chin not to hit yourself with it or you will actually knock yourself out!

How to make it more realistic:

Use a punch bag (a pair of boxing gloves is a good idea) or buddy up and get a friend to hold boxing pads for the routines, then swap (holding the pads can be a workout in itself).

How to make it more fun:

Use your imagination. Imagine yourself in the boxing ring, use feints, slip punches, get on your toes and pull off some Ali shuffles.

As long as you’re moving, you’re working.


The Author

Ben Walder

Ben is a keen cyclist, road and mountain biking, runner, skier and even enjoyed a brief flirtation with boxing. He’s cycled John O Groats to Lands End, London to Paris in 24 hours, 5 countries in 3 days and ticked off some legendary climbs from the Tour de France. When he’s not dragging his mates out on cycling adventures across Europe he’s being dragged around by his 2 young daughters to karate, ballet, gymnastics, tennis and swimming..


Pete R.
12 August 2015

Pete R.

Great workout. Thanks Ben

Olivia C.
12 August 2015

Olivia C.

I like the fact this uses upper body a lot - great workout.

Sasha B.
12 August 2015

Sasha B.

Have just tried this with my son's punch bag. it's one hell of a workout - brilliant!

Emma C.
12 August 2015

Emma C.

Wow - I really like the sound of this! I like the adding in of freestyle and I could always add some wrist weights too I guess??

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