Shadowboxing Cardio Workout

By Nicole Radziszewski |

Knowing how to throw a punch is not only a valuable self-defense tool but also a physically and mentally challenging way to work up a sweat.

“Boxing is a full-body workout that uses balance and coordination of the left and right sides as well as the upper and lower body,” says Lisa Fougere, a self-defense instructor, kickboxing black belt, and corrective-exercise specialist in Oak Park, Ill.

Shadowboxing offers a fun way to practice without equipment or a partner. In this workout, Fougere explains how to throw a jab, cross, and lead hook, and she offers a workout that combines these key basic moves with each other — as well as with other body-weight exercises — for a simple, high-intensity drill.

Start by practicing each move individually, on both sides of your body. Reduce your speed and power to focus on correct form. “You want to emphasize control and quality movement patterns rather than flailing your arms around, so your joints stay healthy,” Fougere says.

Then practice the boxing combinations at right before performing the full circuit.

Starting Stance




back foot

Lead Hook

Shadowboxing Circuit

This circuit combines boxing basics with two common body-weight boxer-workout moves — jumping rope and pushups. Perform a total of three times, resting for 30 seconds between rounds.

  1. Pushups: 30 seconds.

This originally appeared as “Shadowboxing Basics” in the July/August 2018 print issue of Experience Life.

Repeat three times, resting for 30 seconds between rounds.

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