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Shadow Boxing to Lose Weight

author image Andrea Cespedes
Andrea Cespedes is a professionally trained chef who has focused studies in nutrition. With more than 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, she coaches cycling and running and teaches Pilates and yoga. She is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer, RYT-200 and has degrees from Princeton and Columbia University.
Shadow Boxing to Lose Weight
Shadow boxing with or without gloves will burn calories. Photo Credit: MeikePetri/iStock/Getty Images

Weight loss is an imbalance of the number of calories you consume versus the number of calories you burn through activity. Shadow boxing is an exercise that burns calories and one that you can do in the privacy of your home. A 140-lb. person burns approximately 382 calories per hour when boxing. Professional boxers use shadow boxing to warm their joints and muscles before they make contact with a punching bag or sparring partner. With a basic knowledge of punching techniques, you can create a shadow boxing workout to aid in your weight loss.

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Foot Position

Most boxers stand with their left foot in front of their right. You can choose this stance, or place your right foot in front of your left. During your shadow boxing workout, you may want to change your stance to equally train both sides of your body. You can increase the calories burned by adding forward, backward and sideways movements to your punches. Boxing footwork is also used to avoid punches.

Arm Position

Throughout your shadow boxing workout, your elbows will be bent and close to your ribs, as if you are protecting your sides from punches. Make fists with both hands and hold them up next to your face. Position your thumb over the front of your four fingers and avoid a "hitch-hike" thumb position.


Perform a jab by shifting your weight onto your front, or left, leg and extending your front, or left, arm straight out in line with your shoulder with your palm facing toward the floor. Keep your right hand in a position that is protecting your face. Perform a cross by extending your right arm out in front with your palm down. To increase your cross, rotate your right shoulder and shift your weight onto your right toes so that you can press your hip forward. Perform a left hook by bending your left arm to a 90-degree angle and punching across the front of your body with your palm facing toward the floor or toward your body.


Combine the footwork and punches as you shadow box. For example, quickly move to the right while performing a left hook. You can vary the tempo of your punches for workout variety. You can also add in a duck, squat, as you pretend to avoid a punch. Shadow boxing in front of a mirror is helpful to monitor your form. You can also fight an imaginary opponent and direct your hand toward their head, or stomach to vary the height of your punches.

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