The physiological and morphological benefits of shadowboxing

International Journal of Physical Education, Fitness and Sports 12:8-29 (2023)
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Abstract

Is shadowboxing an effective form of functional exercise? What physiological and morphological changes result from an exercise program based exclusively on shadowboxing for 3 weeks? To date, no empirical research has focused specifically on addressing these questions. Since mixed martial arts (MMA) is the fastest growing sport in the world, and since boxing and kickboxing fitness classes are among the most popular in gyms and fitness clubs worldwide, the lack of research on shadowboxing and martial arts-based fitness programs in the extant literature is a shortcoming that the present article aims to address. This case study involved a previously sedentary individual engaging in an exercise program based exclusively on shadowboxing for 3 weeks. Body composition and heart rate data were collected before, throughout, and upon completion of the 3-week exercise program to determine the effectiveness of shadowboxing for functional fitness purposes. An original shadowboxing program prepared by an Everlast Master Instructor and NASM Certified Personal Trainer (NASM-CPT) and Performance Enhancement Specialist (NASM-PES) was used for this 3-week period. The original shadowboxing program with goals, techniques, and combinations to work on throughout the 3-week program is included in this article. This case study demonstrates that a 3-week exercise program based exclusively on shadowboxing can increase aerobic capacity, muscle mass, bone mass, basal metabolic rate, and daily calorie intake, and decrease resting heart rate, fat mass, body fat percentage, and visceral fat rating in a previously sedentary individual. The results of this research demonstrate that shadowboxing can be a safe and effective form of exercise leading to morphological and physiological improvements including fat loss and increased aerobic capacity. The results of this research also demonstrate that the Tanita BC-1500 is a reliable tool for individuals to evaluate their own fitness progress over time.

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