Shadow Boxing is one of the essential training styles to improve your visualization, enhancing your coordination for many parts of Boxing.
Most of the time, you’ll see other fighters performing Shadow Boxing wearing no gloves or just their hand wraps, as it is often used as a warming up practice before you put the gloves on to train.
But what if you want to try shadow boxing with gloves?
You can do Shadow Boxing with gloves on. The extra weight will add a level of resistance training to improve the strength and conditioning of punching muscles. It’s also good to add variety to Shadow Boxing with no gloves, holding small weights in your fist, or using weighted gloves.
For more detail about what you may need to consider, keep reading!
Shadow Boxing Benefits While Wearing Gloves
Shadow Boxing with Gloves on is a unique way to add extra resistance to your striking movements and develop your conditioning in new ways. The slight weight added to the end of your arms can help you build up the strength required to wear boxing gloves.
Boxing Gloves typically weigh between 12 oz (3/4 lbs) up to 18 oz (1 1/8 lbs), essentially 1 lb, give or take, depending on the glove size.
What most people don’t realize until they start boxing for the first time, how much this extra little bit of weight can add to their exhaustion levels and demands on their body (particularly the shoulders and arms).
It’s all too common for a beginner, or even someone within their first year of regular Boxing, to feel the strain on their shoulders, triceps, biceps, forearms, and even areas of the back. It takes repetition and time to make these punching muscles sustain the constant demand.
With time, though, you will develop the ability to hold your hands up with your Boxing Gloves on more easily.
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If you were to start Shadow Boxing while wearing your gloves, then you’re giving yourself some extra training to condition all these muscle areas and joints to improve them.
It isn’t uncommon for even professional boxers to use this method to condition and train their ability to throw punches with the extra weight. If it’s good enough for Anthony Joshua, then it’s good enough for amateurs, too:
One of the great benefits of shadow Boxing is how it raises the level of your brain to compete against another person, even if they are imaginary.
Shadow Boxing With 16 oz Gloves
You can do Shadow Boxing with 16 oz gloves and other standard Boxing glove weights. Gloves of this size aren’t just for sparring as they can also be worn while Shadow Boxing gives you the extra strength development where you need it for punching.
No matter which size gloves you have, you can start Shadow Boxing with them to add an extra dimension to training.
Shadow Boxing Workout With Gloves On
You can do a Shadow Boxing workout with gloves during a regular Shadow Boxing warmup or cooldown and wear your Boxing gloves simultaneously. Imagine an opponent in front of you and deliver the jab, cross, hook all to the air while focusing on your footwork and countering.
If you’re not very confident yet with your Shadow Boxing, let me give you a few combination variations you can use during shadow work that will not only help you to improve but make you look like you’ve been doing this for years.
Jab-Jab-Body Shadow Boxing Workout
This one is super simple but develops your striking height and movement variety.
- Double Jab to the head
- Cross to the body
- Push backward off your lead foot and move away
1-2-Step-2 Shadow Boxing Workout
This one is important to learn, particularly if you get a chance to practice on the pads with a trainer, but equally good to practice with Shadow Boxing to develop your reaction to expect a counter and fire back with your own!
- Jab to the head
- Cross to the head
- Push backward off your lead foot, lean your head backward expecting a counter-hook
- Fire straight back with a Cross to the head, pushing off your backfoot for power
1-2-1-Slip-Body Shadow Boxing Workout
This is essential in your Boxing toolkit to make your opponent expect a second Cross coming their way, but as they shell up (or counter), you instead sneak a body shot with a hook with your lead arm where they’re not expecting it. This is great to practice with shadow boxing as you develop the movement.
- Jab to the head
- Cross to the head
- Jab to the head
- Step to the outside and slip to avoid any counter strike, then pivot your upper body towards your lead foot and throw a Hook with your lead hand to the body
- Wind your upper body in reverse and be ready to move away or Roll under a counter
You can do any of these combination workouts in Shadow Boxing with gloves on, without gloves on, or while wearing specially designed weighted gloves. You’ll benefit from this practice with any of them, just with some differences.
Can you get shadow Boxing gloves?
There aren’t any Boxing gloves that are particularly designed for shadow boxing. There are different ways to train your abilities in shadow Boxing without gloves, like holding small weights in your hands while you Box the air or using resistance bands.
You can also get weighted boxing gloves that are heavier than normal to help you increase your resistance. This added resistance can improve your power, speed, and durability to keep your hands up.
This could be as simple as just buying a heavier/bigger-sized glove. For example if you’re like me and often train in 14 oz gloves, then getting some 16 oz or even 18 oz gloves could change up your training quite a bit.
Bottom Line: Shadow Boxing With Or Without Gloves?
You can do Shadow Boxing with or without gloves being worn. It’s down to preference and how much variety you want to add to your training. Professional fighters will do extensive Shadow Boxing training with their bare hands to maximize speed while others add more resistance with gloves.
Most of the time, I train using Shadow Boxing to warm up the body before I wear boxing gloves for my session.
I enjoy the feeling and training I get from having light hands and working on footwork, movement, and being as fast as possible in my airstrikes. I think this gives some excellent training outside of always wearing boxing gloves such as visualization, reactions (to an imaginary opponent), and fast countering (again, to my imaginary opponent).
When it comes time to move to the pads or the heavy bag, I’ll put my hand wraps and boxing gloves on and start the heavy end of my session. This feels like good variety for me, so it probably will for you too.
So that’s it, now you should have a good idea about doing shadow boxing with gloves on or not.
There’s also plenty of debate about whether gloves should be used in UFC and other fighting promotions. Still, they generally help protect the hand and reduce significant fractures for both fighters.
The summary is that you can try both and see which you like better, but both will give you different benefits such as speed or endurance improvements. After a hard session, you could even try either as a cooldown for the body.
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Joe Bloom is the lead author and editor of MMA Hive. Joe has been a passionate mixed martial artist in training since 2019, having studied Boxing and Muay Thai at BaliMMA and Soma Fight Club, as well as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with RitualsJJ.