It’s the perfect way to warm up specific muscles before you start your boxing session as you will be moving around:
Use your legs, move your head, relax the shoulders, throw some punches, shake your limbs out, repeat!
Make sure you breathe and put some purpose into your movements and you should break a sweat.
Shadow boxing is great for working on technique:
It's great to work on certain offense or defensive moves; you can take your time and check out your form in your mirror.
Instead of working on the entire movement, maybe you can pick out one or two key points to focus on. Once that part feels right, you can move on to another detail or try the movement in its entirety.
Repetition is important, but only after you know for sure that you’re practicing the right thing. Practice makes permanent, so make sure you're doing it right or you will quickly pick up bad habits. This is where having a coach helps.
Most pro fighters use shadow boxing for game plans. It's perfect for working on key strategic moments before a fight:
Maybe you're boxing an opponent who always drops his lead hand after throwing a punch; if you know this, you can work on a game plan of countering the jab with an overhand right.
Or, if you're fighting a southpaw, you can visualize their stance in front of you while you are moving around shadow boxing.
Every now and then after a hard session, we can use shadow boxing as a warm down:
Move slowly, relax and breathe; reflect on the session that you just have just done.
Think about different techniques or movement strategies that could have helped you and work on them. You’ve already done the hard work for the day.
Help remove all the lactic acid out of your body while you are shaking it out, burning the last few calories, keeping the sweat coming out of your body before you shower and get weighed.
Since retiring from boxing I now teach people how to teach boxing at the Box 'N Burn Academy. Watch this video for my brief explanation on shadow boxing...