Shadow Boxing With Resistance Bands | Are They Useful?


If you have been looking to change up your workouts to help improve your power and speed, there are multiple strength and conditioning exercises to consider. 

Shadow boxing with resistance bands could just be the solution to help this area, as it helps to apply resistance to increase the strength in your muscles. You can also do boxing or striking specific movements which really helps create more situational combat sport movements. 

Having this strength will in turn help with your speed and power when it comes down to traditional training, sparring or competing.

For the remainder of this article, I will go over if shadow boxing with resistance bands are a good or bad thing for boxers and mixed martial artists. 

Watch or read on to find out more:

What is Shadow Boxing?

First off, for those that are unsure about what shadow boxing is.

Shadow Boxing is primarily used to help master your punching technique and combinations skill set. It is also used to use your own imagination to visualize yourself facing an opponent where you are simulating punches, head and defensive movements as if you are in an actual fight.

This is a great alternative workout method to use instead of a punching bag or doing pad work. It is especially good if you are looking to perfect your technique, lack access to equipment, train from home or work out while traveling. 

(Check out my shadow boxing training routine for more ideas here)

Types of resistance bands for shadowboxing 

There are usually three types of resistance bands boxers and mixed martial artists can use while doing resistance shadow boxing. Here are examples of all three below: 

Resistance band tubes (with handles)

Resistance band tubes (with handles)

These are great to use if you are just going to practice with straight punches e.g. 1-2s. It is important however to make sure you have handles attached so it is easier to throw punches. 

With these, you are really able to focus on speed and power drills, as the counteraction from the bands focuses you to push past the resistance. You will really feel a difference once you remove them and do normal shadow boxing. They are also great for other types of strength exercises too. 

Resistance Body Bands (without handles)

body resistance bands

These are usually worn around your thighs or ankles and tend to be used to strengthen leg muscles and Hip Flexors. This in turn helps to improve your stance, speed, balance, and quickness in the ring.

Shadow Boxing Resistance Suit

Resistance band suits are a slight mix of the two types above. They are quickly becoming one of the most popular options out there and this is because they are specifically designed for shadowboxing.

They come with a belt with four resistance bands and straps attached to your arms and legs to create resistance when you throw punches or leg kicks. Recommendation at the end of this article.

Shadowboxing with resistance bands benefits

Shadow Boxing resistance bands benefits

Now many old-school trainers, see shadowboxing with resistance bands as a bit of a gimmick. That couldn’t be farther from the truth as they do help you in many areas. Here are some of the positives to using them for your shadowboxing workouts. 

Does not rely on gravity

Unlike shadow boxing with light dumbbells or egg weights. You won’t feel the gravity pushing down on your arms and shoulders. Instead, you are using the pushing motion against the resistance of the band, which will help you train longer and focus on the punching technique more. 

Diversifies your workout

If you are bored of doing the typical Shadow boxing exercises, using resistance bands will change up the training session. You mix and match these which makes them great fun to use. For example, you can do 6 shadow boxing round workouts. 3 rounds with resistance bands and 3 without, so you can feel a big difference in your speed without them. 

Perform more reps than weights

As resistance bands are usually a lot lighter than small dumbbells or egg weights. You will be able to train a lot longer and do more reps. As much as weights can be a good thing, sometimes you will also want to condition yourself with different training tools in the same session to last longer. 

Builds up power and speed

By having the resistance there from the very beginning you will be able to really feel a difference in your speed and power. Especially once you start shadow boxing without them or other training methods e.g. on the heavy bag. The great thing about shadow boxing resistance suits is that you can wear your boxing gloves while using them. Most are attached to wrist straps and you don’t need handles to use them.  

Great for conditioning drills

Using resistance bands is fantastic for high-intensity conditioning drills. This is because you can do a higher number of reps with them as you throw multiple punches in each set. 

Useful if returning from injury

I have personally found them to be very useful after I returned from a rational cuff injury (shoulder). I was recommended by my physio to not use heavy weights but lighter resistance bands to build back up the strength in my shoulder without applying too much pressure. The resistance band suit was brilliant in building up the strength in my shoulder without too much intransigence from using weights or punching the heavy bag. 

Brilliant if traveling or home workouts

If you are someone who is working out from home this will definitely give you the opportunity to change up your shadow boxing routine. Likewise, if you are always traveling and struggle to find time for working out. Resistance bands are light and easy to pack. Plus you can pretty much shadow box anywhere from the hotel room or at the local park. 

Cons of resistance bands for shadowboxing 

SHADOW BOXING EXERCISES Fhadow Boxing Exercises For Home Or The Gym

Just like with anything there are always some negatives to using resistance bands for boxing. As much I believe there are more benefits to them, there are some negatives I have to address for you. 

  • Ruins technique, if used too often

If you use resistance bands for all your shadow boxing training too often, it will ruin your technique over time. It’s just like when using a heavy bag too often, you become lazy when you hit the bag and don’t think about defensive movements. There are always certain movements with resistance bands that can limit how you throw punches. 

  • Limited in movements

Due to the resistance of the bands themselves, it is obviously harder to do specific movements (typical punch motions). Nevertheless, it can be difficult to throw punches like uppercuts and hooks properly unless the band is in the right position which can be a pain and hinder your progress. 

  • It won’t make you a better fighter

It’s better to be clear about this. Shadowboxing with resistance bands won’t make you a better fighter. However, it will help to change up your training routine and add a strength and conditioning element to your workout. If you want to become a better fighter head to boxing or MMA gym. 

What are the best resistance bands for Shadow Boxing?

It really depends on the type of training you want to do, but I highly recommend you consider a Shadow Boxing resistance band suit if you are a boxer or train in some sort of mixed martial arts. 

The reason I rate them is because it causes resistance not only for your striking but also for your legs and footwork. Even if you are not practicing leg kicks by having resistance when moving around will give you a solid workout. 

It is also just a great way to diversify your shadow boxing routine to help you become stronger and quicker. 

If you are looking to just do strength and conditioning work with resistance bands I would recommend getting resistance tubes or body bands. (I will do another article soon on strength and conditioning with resistance bands) 


For those considering resistance bands specifically shadowboxing training, I would definitely consider BoxBandz or Innstar resistance suits. For me, they have created the best resistance bands suits for Shadow Boxing workouts.

Check out BoxBandz below in action:

If you are looking for typical resistance bands to do other workout methods. It might be worth checking out my review on Innstar who have arguably created the best fitness resistance band on the market in my opinion. 

You can read my reviews on each from the links below:

Final thoughts

Shadowboxing with resistance bands is a great alternative way to change up your workout regime. If you are wanting to add some sort of strength and conditioning while shadowboxing, this is a great method to do so. Especially if you want to increase your speed and power, you will quickly see a big difference after just a few sessions with them. 

All I would recommend is that you don’t use them all too often, as it could cause you to get lazy with your technique. 

Check out more of my boxing and fitness equipment reviews here or check out some of my top equipment articles below:

Jamie - Boxing Life

I'm a boxing analyst, amateur boxer, and blogger looking to pass on my boxing experiences and passion to anyone looking to learn or find out more about the sport of boxing. Whether that be gear reviews, fighter analysis, news, training tips, or my own personal journey, I'll be covering it on 'Boxing Life'.

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