Shadow Boxing Vs Running – What’s The Better Way To Train And Stay In Shape

Shadow Boxing Vs Running – What’s The Better Way To Train And Stay In Shape

Mayweather Shadow Boxing

It’s fair to say that plenty of us have put a few extra pounds over the lockdown period and getting them to shift can be a bigger job than we anticipated.

Or maybe we have put on a lot of muscle and just want to get lean.

Either way boxing is a great sport for burning calories and getting in shape.

Running and Shadow Boxing are two training methods that hold distinct advantages:

  1. They Burn A Lot Of Calories
  2. We Can Do Them By Ourselves, Even At Home

For me, there is no reason to chose between them, why not incorporate both into your workout schedule to make it more fun and effective. By working out in different ways, we keep our body guessing and the more forms of exercise we participate in, the more our body will have to adapt to keep.

While running is a workout all on its own, shadow boxing is best used in a circuit or as part of a full boxing workout.

With that being said, there are different variations of each exercise that we can perform and there are also different pros and cons to each one.

Read on to discover our top tips and how to train in each exercise effectively.


Shadow Boxing Vs Running

AJ Shadow Boxing

Getting up on a cold morning, putting on the running gear and grinding out 5 – 10km can be the last thing some of us want but then again others will love it.

For those that hate it, it might be a lot easier to move around their living room shadow boxing for 30 minutes.

Then there are those who live in sunny climates year round and have no problem doing a 5 or 10km run in the morning sun.

The difference between the two is that Jogging is more Aerobic, meaning you can go for longer, fuelled by oxygen and shadow boxing is more anaerobic ie, it is more intense and burns more calories per minute.

That being said it is easier to run for 30 minutes straight while it is going to be almost impossible to shadow box for 30 minutes straight, you need to break it up into rounds.


Benefits Of Running

Khan Running

If you are involved in running, the benefits of leg conditioning and aerobic system development.

Builds The Aerobic Fitness

Jogging is great steady state cardio for building up the aerobic engine.

This is the base that can be used as the foundation for building the anaerobic conditioning needed for shadow boxing and boxing in general.


Great For The Head

Running is a great escape from the real world and allows you time to clear your head.

Running for longer periods of time will release ‘Endorphins’ in the brain which are responsible for making us feel good.


Its Progressive

The more you do it, the better you get.

Make sure to time yourself when you run and try to beat your 5km or 10km times every run and continually improve.


Hills Can Really Build The Legs

If you live in an area with hills, running up them will improve your fitness and build up the muscles in your calves and legs.


Can Enter Local Runs

Once you get into running, there should be plenty of local events to test yourself at and shoot for best ever times.

It’s also a great way to meet people.


Increase The Intensity For Extra Fat Burning

Incorporating hill runs, Sprints and HIIT training can be an excellent way to increase the intensity and burn a lot more fat.

Running is a great exercise for HIIT as you can incorporate sprints into a long distance run to make it a HIIT and burn more calories.


Encourages Healthy Living

You know you won’t be able to run after eating junk food so you eat healthily the morning of your run and after wards you don’t want all your work to go to waste so you make sure to keep your diet clean as well.


Can Use A Treadmill

If the weather is bad, you can always use a treadmill which will force you to keep a good pace with the machine and let you know how many calories you burned.


The Faster You Go The More Calories You Burn

As you get better, you should be able to run faster and burn more calories. You can even introduce sprints, hill sprints, hill runs and HIIT to get a more intense workout.


Cold And Bad Weather

Can be hard to get motivated in the bad weather or cold conditions of winter, but that shouldn’t stop you from getting out.


Hard On The Knees

Running is going to take it’s tole on the knees especially over time. Constantly pounding the pavement or treadmill is not going to be kind on your knees in the long term.


Can Be Repetitive

Best used as part of a healthy workout diet.

Running the same route 3 times a week can get boring and repetitive, so much sure to mix it up as much as you can to keep it interested.


PRO TIP: Map out your run in advance so that you know how far you are running every time, mix up your runs with a couple of short quick runs in the week and 1 long run on the weekend.



Shadow Boxing

Good Shadow Boxing

Shadow boxing is a tool that is used by professional boxers everyday and is also a great way to get fit and lose weight.

Benefits Of Shadow Boxing:

It’s More Intense Than Running

Shadow Boxing is more intense and anaerobic than running and that means that you can burn more calories, more quickly that running.


It’s Great For Self Defense

All of the great fighters place a high emphasis on shadow boxing for practicing their combinations and movement to visualizing success in the ring.

Eve if you are not a pro fighter, Shadow boxing is a great way to improve at the sport and increase your ability to defend yourself along with boosting your confidence and self esteem.


Great For Toning The Arms

Everybody wants to have lean and ‘ripped’ arms and throwing air punches is one of the best ways to reduce the amount of fat deposits in the arms and shoulders, making them more lean.


With Weights Or Without Weights

If you do 10 – 3 minute rounds of shadowing boxing as a complete workout, you can do the first 5 with weights, do build up some muscle and endurance while burning a ton of calories and you can do the last 5 rounds with just your bare hands, focussing more on speed and combinations.


As Part Of A Circuit

There is no doubt that shadow boxing is best used in conjunction with other exercises, as part of a circuit or just with Burpees, Push Ups And Sit Ups at the end of each round.



Very Repetitive On Its Own

Just shadowboxing on its own will be very repetitive, especially seeing as you need about 10 rounds to get anywhere near a decent workout.

You need to use Shadow Boxing as part of a full boxing workout.


The Case For Both

Since running builds the aerobic system and shadow boxing uses this foundation and adds to it with the anaerobic system, these are two exercises that fit hand in hand perfectly to get you good shape in general and for boxing.


My Sample Workouts With Shadow Boxing And Running


Tues & Thursday – Fast 5km Run

Saturday – Slower 10km Run

Monday – Wednesday – Friday – Shadow Boxing With Circuits


Sample Shadow Boxing Circuit Workout

Skipping 3 – 3 Minute Rounds

Shadow Boxing With Weights 3 – 2 minute Rounds

Shadow Boxing Without Weights 3 – 2 minute rounds

Alternate Pushups, Situps, Burpees at the end of each round.

5 x 3 minute rounds heavy bag

3 x 3 minute rounds burnouts on the heavybag.


Shadow Boxing Combos For Beginner


Jab – Cross

Jab – Cross – Left Hook

Jab – Right Uppercut

Jab – Right Uppercut – Left Hook

Double Jab

Jab Head – Jab Body

Jab Body – Cross Head

Jab – Left Hook

Jab – Left Hook – Cross


Get Creative with your combos and don’t forget to work on your footwork for maximum effect.



If I had to pick one for getting ready for a fight it would probably be running and if I had to pick one for losing weight, it would probably be running as well.

That being said Shadowing boxing is crucial for improving your fighting skills and it is also a huge boost to the aerobic fitness you can get from running.

In conclusion, I would use both of these exercise methods together in unison and




Aidan Lehane has been involved in the fight game for well over 10 and has trained in some of the leading boxing gyms around the world including Sinbi Muay Thai and MTK Global Marbella. He wants to offer as much advice to beginners and pros as possible.

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