Shadowboxing is one of the fundamental training methods you learn at Muay Thai class, and it is an integral part of learning striking-based martial arts like Muay Thai and Boxing. We have all seen people shadowboxing many times during pre-fight clips or popular fighting films like the Rocky series.
Shadowboxing might sometimes look like a person is randomly punching and kicking the air, but it is used to perfect fighting techniques and form muscle memory. Anyone serious about learning the art of eight limbs should add shadowboxing to their training routine.
How Shadowboxing Improves Your Performance At The Muay Thai Gym
Using proper shadowboxing techniques helps to improve your foundation as a Muay Thai practitioner. Shadowboxing provides an opportunity to practice how to land your strikes while defending with your arms and legs. You also get to practice how to use your footwork to get into defensive positions and how to evade attacks by simply moving out of the way.
Shadowboxing allows you to develop your style as a fighter, improve your reflexes, and perfect your techniques. The more you incorporate training aspects like shadowboxing and sparring, the quicker you will turn all these things into part of your muscle memory — something you simply do out of habit.
Unlike sparring, which typically involves having to eat a few shots from your sparring partner, shadowboxing does not involve taking any type of punishment. Think of shadowboxing as the next best thing to sparring.
You get to work on many of the attributes that affect your progression through the ranks, like your speed, connecting your strikes to your breathing, footwork, and composure. All these things will pay dividends when you spar or enter competitions. Shadowboxing regularly as part of your training helps to improve your confidence as a Muay Thai practitioner, and it deepens the mind and body connection needed to master the art.
Shadowboxing also happens to be a pretty good workout. It provides an aerobic workout that can be incorporated into your warm-ups and cool-downs when training at the Muay Thai gym. It works out your body and can be used to get you closer to your fitness goals. It’s also something you can do even if you don’t have access to a gym or any equipment.
Who Needs It?
Anyone who wants to be the best Muay Thai fighter they can be should add shadowboxing into their training regimen. It helps to develop your fight IQ, head movement, footwork, and strikes. Professional Muay Thai fighters and boxers all use shadowboxing as one of the main ways to perfect their techniques.
Shadowboxing provides an intense workout when done properly, and most people are shocked at the burn they feel after a properly done shadowboxing session.
Why Proper Shadowboxing Practices Start In The Gym
If you’re healthy enough to train Muay Thai, you can easily add shadowboxing to your training routine. It does not require anything besides yourself and an empty space you can freely move around in. You should have enough room to throw all of the punching and kicking techniques you know and practice your footwork. That’s all you need to properly shadowbox. Everything else is just a bonus.
Many people love shadow boxing at the gym since you get to work on a comfortable mat. You don’t want to work on a surface that’s so hard you need shoes since that isn’t true to the way Muay Thai is practiced. Students do not wear footwear for Muay Thai classes, and professionals do not wear footwear during competitions. It is best to train how you fight so find a surface that is comfortable enough to move around on barefoot or place a mat on the ground.
It’s nice to get feedback when you’re new to shadowboxing or Muay Thai classes to make sure you are properly executing techniques. Shadowboxing at the gym gives your instructors a chance to provide feedback on what you’re doing. Most competent Muay Thai instructors can’t resist the urge to correct bad techniques, even if you’re just working on your own outside of class. Use this to your advantage.
Other ways to get feedback on your shadowboxing include filming yourself and sending the video to your instructor for their thoughts or working in front of a mirror so you can better analyze your form. You can also get feedback from more experienced training partners.
To get the most out of your shadowboxing sessions, warm up your body with about five to ten minutes of light cardio and dynamic stretching. For example, you can jog or jump rope at a relaxed pace.
Your shadowboxing sessions should start with you assuming your basic Muay Thai stance just like you do when learning techniques, sparring, or fighting. One of the main keys to getting the most out of your shadowboxing sessions is treating it seriously as if it was a real fight and not holding back.
You are trying to develop muscle memory with your striking, blocking, evading, and footwork, so always use proper form and resist the urge to goof around. Throw your shots with power and as fast as you can while maintaining the correct form.
Don’t just focus on strikes when shadowboxing. Imagine you are fighting an imaginary opponent, so make sure you’re using head movement, blocking and parrying imaginary strikes, feinting out of the way of attacks, and using your footwork to set up your attacks and to exit the strike zone. A good imagination goes a long way when shadowboxing, and you’ll get better with it the more you shadowbox. You can start with five-minute shadowboxing sessions with one-minute breaks between them. Slowly increase the length of your rounds as your endurance improves.
Shadowboxing Can Get You To The Next Level
If you have been training Muay Thai without shadowboxing, you might want to reconsider that, especially if you don’t plan on sparring. Shadowboxing allows you to create real-life scenarios in your head so you can practice using your techniques in these scenarios. It improves your speed, power, reflexes, and technique, allowing you to progress through the ranks easier.
Stop by one of Evolve’s introductory Muay Thai classes in Singapore to learn more about how to get the most out of your shadowboxing sessions!
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