Metabolic equivalents (METs) for various activities at different intensity levels can be found on the Compendium of Physical Activities website, but it doesn't list any for shadowboxing, noting only that boxing a punching bag is 5.5 METs. So shadowboxing should be somewhere between 1 and 5.5 METs. This website lists it as 7 METs, but it's unclear to me where that value comes from (it's not in the 2nd and 3rd sources listed at the bottom of the page, and I don't have access to the 1st).

What would be a reasonable estimate?

1 Answer 1


MET is really just another one of those super generalized recommendations that shouldn't really be used to determine what type of workout to do. It is mostly useful for scientists to use in epidemiological studies to help estimate how many calories people are burning. It originated with this study.

What would be a reasonable estimate?

It depends on what type of shadow boxing you are doing. Say you are moving quickly around a 'ring' boxing a shadow opponent, you could easily be working at a higher MET than someone just bouncing back and forth punching a bag. But if you are doing the same movements, just minus the bag, I would assume it would be virtually the same. Seeing as bowling is a 3.8, and sparring is at 7.8, I would guess somewhere from 5-8 range. That punching bags guide website estimate seems perfectly reasonable to me if they are talking about active shadowboxing.

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