Shadowbox for your abs

This 8-move routine trains your core and your cardiovascular system.

Take the opponent, or punching bag, out of boxing and you get shadowboxing: a low-impact, high-intensity activity that involves throwing hooks, jabs, crosses, and upper-cuts to challenge both your muscles and your cardiovascular system.

Though it looks upper-body heavy, shadowboxing requires total-body activation. “Throwing an arm in itself doesn’t produce the amount of energy you need to really punch,” explains Gina DiNapoli, instructor and creator of Jabs by Gina at PROJECT by Equinox in New York City. To shadowbox correctly, you need to pivot the back foot and twist the torso, generating power from the hips and core.

That makes the activity an efficient full-body cardio workout. From a vanity perspective, it’s also a way to sculpt obliques. “People who take my class joke that it should be called Abs by Gina,” DiNapoli says.

To really train the core, she created an eight-move workout, which she demonstrates in the slideshow below. Combining jab-focused exercises with traditional abs moves, the routine also improves cardiovascular endurance, builds lean mass, and works muscles that are often ignored.

“Instead of focusing on the quads, which almost everyone does too often, this series trains the muscles that balance them out: the inner thighs, hamstrings, and glutes,” she explains. “It also strengthens the lower back, which is necessary to properly work your core ab muscles, the rectus abdominis.”

Perform this abs and jabs routine once before a strength session for a dose of cardio and core work. For a full workout, complete 3 rounds.

Photography by Coty Tarr. Styling by Jamie Frankel. Art direction by Kathryn Marx.
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