Should You Shadow Box With Weights

There is often a wide debate whether or not shadow boxing with weights is beneficial. Many consider it to be not helpful to your overall boxing form. But it’s also a practice that is common within the top pro boxes community. So, is shadow boxing with weights good or not?

Shadow boxing is a way to primarily focus on your boxing form. Adding weights to shadow boxing gives more gravitational resistance to the exercise and would help tone or slightly build muscle. Shadow boxing with weights is a good way to build endurance in your upper arms and shoulders area due to the added weight.

Similar to wearing heavier boxing gloves, your arms get tired faster and easier. And when constantly training with heavier gloves, you will feel quicker and move more swiftly when moving back down to lighter weights.

Weighted shadow boxing is also beneficial to the casual boxer or for those boxing for the fitness aspect. Adding more resistance while shadow boxing will bring the full body workout to a whole new level.

Why You Should Shadow Box With Weights

So why should you start shadow boxing with weights? For starters, it brings more resistance to your shadow boxing exercise allowing your body to adapt to a tougher workout. It would also make your boxing gloves feel lighter and overtime improve your punches. Whether you are shadow boxing as a warm up or cool down adding some weights is good way to kill two birds with one stone.

The important take away from this is that shadowboxing with dumbbells will not change your punching speed and power from beginner to pro overnight. It will however, help your get closer to your max potential.

Benefits of Shadow Boxing:

  • builds endurance
  • builds strength
  • helps to focus on form
  • cardio workout

To sum it up, if you’re looking for a cardio conditioning workout, shadow boxing is a great form of that. To add another layer and make it more challenging, adding types of weight can do that. Weighted vest, dumbbells and ankle weights are good starts.

Does Shadow Boxing With Weights Increase Punching Power

Like we mentioned earlier, shadow boxing with weights will help tone muscle in your shoulders and upper arms, but that would only slightly move the needle in getting more power to your punch. Building the muscles in that area are helpful in getting a stronger punch, but understanding where punching power comes from and is generated is how you would get to the next step.

Generating a powerful punch requires the body as a whole working together. Starting at your feet and moving upwards to your punches follow through. Torque and strength from your core plays a large role in having an effective punch. There are various exercises and training methods that can help increase your punch speed. We cover some of these methods in this article about punching harder.

If you haven’t got down the technique, or don’t know where to start. This video by Olympic boxer Tony Jeffries will get you on the right path.

Tony Jeffries Youtube video teaches how to generate more power when punching.

Although training with weights would not increase punching power dramatically. You shouldn’t totally avoid this part of your training completely. There are massive benefits when shadow boxing with weights that does translate into other areas of boxing.

Does Shadow Boxing With Weights Increase Speed

Similar to weighted shadow boxing and punching power. Increase to your punch speed would slightly increase as well. When done long enough and consistently, your muscle memory and tolerance would have went up. As a result, when you are shadow boxing without any weights or lower resistance. You will feel much quicker and stronger.

In order to gain a quicker punch you would need developing proper form, training to build up core strength and hand speed drills. Reflex bags and speed bags can also help in improving coordination, speed and accuracy.

If you’re stuck on some exercises you can work on, we got you covered with this article here. Gaining punch speed is not something that can be achieved over night. It will require dedication, practice and consistency.

Types Of Weights For Shadow Boxing

When shadow boxing with weights. You do not want to over exert yourself. Having too heavy of weights can cause you to hurt your form as well as increase risk to injury. The goal is to just have a slight resistance that your body can get use to while maintaining your current form.

Small dumbbells or weighted wrist bands work best for this at about 2-3 pounds. Given the variety of punches you can perform, having anything heavier can put too much strain on your arms. Making the exercise ineffective.

Another option is using resistant bands. Wrapping resistance bands around your back and using them when shadow boxing will add tension and give more restraint when punching. It’s also a good way to perfect your form while building strength and speed.


Shadow boxing with weights can bring a lot of value to your boxing training. Strength, speed and boxing form can all be improved, but having weights when shadow boxing is only a small piece of what you need to do. Getting the basics down and going through the motions consistently will gradually build the skills needed to have a stronger and faster punch.

With that said, if you’re shadow boxing, add light weights when doing so. Divide your workout with the weights on as well as off. It will help bring your workout and boxing skill to another level.

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