November 2003
Welcome to this installment of Balazs Boxing's newsletter. In this issue, Andy & Jamie have laid down the basics on Shadow Boxing with specifics on punch combinations and the proper boxer's stance. In addition, they review using your heart rate to assist in evaluating your performance and optimal training success. Finally, Andy & Jamie delve further into last week's fitness tip on stretching and answer one reader's concerns regarding stretching and warm up.

The Balazs Team


Boxing Drill #3: The Art of Shadow Boxing
Shadow boxing allows you to become comfortable with the execution of the punches combined with the movement of the body. It gives you the opportunity to check and correct unforgiving punch executions, to feel the rhythm of one punch moving into another and improve overall boxing form.

Proper Form & Technique:

Suggested Equipment:
- Mirror
- Hand Wraps
- Gloves
- Timer

Before starting make sure you have plenty of open space for movement. As you begin a session of shadow boxing, stay in your boxing stance while moving in all four directions, maintaining a lightness and quickness on your feet. Mix up moving forward, backward and side-to-side. To warm up the upper body, throw some punches: jabs, hooks, straight rights and left and uppercuts. (See for more information on individual punches.) Practice these punches and the floor movement separately. As you become comfortable with the motion, combine the punches with the foot movement.

  • Throw your left jab as you step in with your left leg.
  • Practice slipping and moving out of the way of oncoming punches by imagining an opponent in front of you throwing jabs.
  • Practice punch combinations like: the old one-two, the left jab followed by a hard straight right. Add uppercuts and hooks.

A great method to help study your punch execution and body movement is to practice in front of a mirror. Start throwing punches slowly with the emphasis on proper execution and technique. Make corrections by breaking down the movements and practicing the parts of the punch or combination. Ensure one punch flows easily into the next. While shadow boxing, don't worry about speed or power. Save that for the heavy bag, double-end bag or speed bag.


  • Neck and shoulders relaxed.
  • Feet in the correct position, with the left foot slightly forward of the right and hip-width apart. (Southpaws (left-handed boxers) have the right foot forward)
  • Body weight equally centered through the balls of the feet, well balanced.
  • Knees slightly bent.
  • Torso held tight.
  • The front shoulder, hip and foot aligned & body angled to the target.
  • The arms held close to the sides of the body, elbows in tight to the rib cage.
  • Fingers closed in a loose fist.
  • Fists turned slightly in & held close to the chin.
Andy and Jamie's Health and Fitness Tip: Optimal Heart Rate
Depending on your age, level of conditioning, and your fitness goals, you should train in a specific heart-rate zone. Beginners should try to elevate their heart rate to 50%-60% of their maximum while intermediates and advanced should shoot for 70%-85% of their max. To estimate your maximum heart rate, simply subtract your age from 220 for men and 226 for women. For example, if you are a male age 30, your maximum heart rate would be 190. To work at 70% of your maximum heart rate, you would aim for a heart rate of approximately 133 beats per minute (0.7 x 190). You can also count beats per minute (bpm) in 10-second increments and then multiply by six.
Ask the Trainer:
"I am confused about stretching and warming-up before training? I hear conflicting information from coaches and trainers. How much should I stretch before I start working out?"

Fitness research suggests it is better to gradually warm the muscles and increase range of motion (ROM) rhythmically. Stretching is best done when the muscles are warm and pliable.

The muscle that will be doing the work should be taken through an optimal ROM, but not stretched to increase the actual length of the muscle fibers. It is important to increase blood flow to the working muscles to warm up these muscles and provide oxygen-rich blood for performance.

If activity is performed when the muscles are cold, it is the muscle attachments (ligaments and tendons) that are primarily prone to injury. The most injury prone joint areas are typically the shoulders, low back, knees and ankles.

With the colder weather coming, you may need a little more time to gradually warm-up.

 - Andy Dumas

Send your questions for Andy to

Product Recommendations:
145" Cotton Hand Wraps: PK0112
9' Leather Jump Rope: FR4477
Balazs Multi  Gloves: GB0130
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Always consult your physician before starting any physical exercise program. Balazs Inc. and Andy & Jamie Dumas assume no responsibility for the improper use of information contained within.