When I think of boxing, I sometimes imagine a cartoonish figure pummeling a punching bag so fast that both the boxer’s hands and the bag become mere blurs. Yet, having actually tried this drill, I can tell you that reaching top boxing speeds is no easy feat. But a new shadowboxing for beginners workout from Well+Good’s Trainer of the Month Club can clue you in on how to make those fists fly (no bag required).
First of all, your fighting position is key. You’ll want to stand with your knees slightly bent, legs hip-width apart, with your dominant foot stepped behind you. This enables you to create a solid pedestal and center of force for where the boxing magic happens: your core.
Yep, although we think of the arms when it comes to boxing, it’s actually our core that’s ground zero for generating fast, powerful punches. And because the core wraps all the way around your trunk and connects to your hip flexors and glutes, you need your lower body engaged, too.
While you should be crackling with energy below your chest, your upper body needs to tell a different story. For as solid as your core is, your shoulders need to be equally loose.
“Anytime we hit speed, I want to think tight core, loose shoulders,” says Rumble boxing instructor Olivia Platania.
But you don’t want your arms to be wet noodles, either. So while the loose shoulders are free to rotate and move the arms, engage the arms themselves by squeezing your fists.
“It’s going to feel a little funky,” Platania says. But watching her powerful jabs, crosses, uppercuts, and hooks, it’s clear she knows what she’s talking about.
In this new video, Platania is here to lead you in a 20-minute shadowboxing for beginners workout. You’ll start with fundamentals, like the boxer stance and boxer bounce, while also learning key punches that you’ll then put together in combinations.
“[It’s an] excellent thing to do if you had an iffy week and you need to knock something out,” Platania says. “You didn’t hear it from me, but you could go for it.”
A 20-minute shadowboxing for beginners workout
Format: A pre-class run through of moves, followed by four rounds of combinations.
Equipment needed: Some space to move around, and your fists.
Who is this for?: Shadowboxing beginners who want to learn the fundamentals, and get in a good sweat!
In this section you’ll learn the basic moves that make up the combos in the rest of the class. First up is establishing your fighting stance, your boxer stance. For that, you’ll want to bend your knees slightly, ground yourself, and then step back with your dominant food.
“You always want to think that your punches start and end right here,” says Platania. “Instead of thinking one foot in front of the other, you want to think railroad tracks, right? Get a good bend in the knees, your elbows are going to get locked into your ribs and then your fists are up at your cheekbones. This is your home base.”
You’ll also learn six moves: The jab, cross, front hook, back hook, and right and left upper cuts. Each is assigned a number for combos: “one jab, two cross, three front hook, four back hook, five front upper, six back upper.”
Finally, you’ll learn a defensive move, which is a duck. “Just a little drop of the knees and then you come right back up,” says Platania.
Alternate sections of jab-crosses and hook-hook-drops for four minutes finishing up with a 30-second active recovery of bodyweight squats.
First up in the second round is getting comfortable using the power of your hips as you practice front and back uppers. Next, you’ll add in a jab and a cross to the combo. Return to uppers but pick up the tempo. Next, replace the jab and cross with a hook on each side in between the uppers. Continue with the uppers, but add a drop in between each side. Finally, put all six moves together for 30 seconds. Recover for 30 seconds in a plank.
This round takes it up a notch with three-move combos. The first one is a jab-jab-cross. Next you’ll try a jab-cross-hook, then an uppercut-uppercut-hook. Finish up on the jab-jab-cross. This round you get 30 seconds of recovery doing reverse lunges.
This final round is about conditioning, where you’re gonna go for “long stretches, long pushes.” For the first two minutes, repeat rounds of 20 jab-crosses, followed by a front and back hook. The next two minutes, repeat rounds of 20 upper cuts, followed by a front and back hook at the end. For the final minute, you’ll do all six moves in a row, quickly and with power.