Digging Deep: What drives a young boxer

Boxing is a popular combat sport, and anyone who has watched a boxing match knows how demanding this sport is of its fighters requiring them to make aggressive and quick movements to dominate. The  highlight of this sport is punching and dodging their opponents’ strikes over 1 to 12 rounds. Even though competitors in a boxing match are pitted against each other based on the same weight and strength scale, the boxers must undergo resistance and endurance training while preparing. It helps build the strength they require to succeed. Besides strength training, mental conditioning is equally important. It determines the duration a person can compete effectively before getting too exhausted to handle those movements. It also impacts how long a person will be able to last in a match. Young boxers and coaches realize the significance of strength training and mental conditioning in boxing. This is why it is natural for boxers like Herrera to place a high value on training in both modes.

Mario Herrera, also known as ‘Hemi,’ is one of many emerging boxers who have displayed great potential. A Mexican-American professional boxer, Mario focuses on maintaining strength throughout a fight. Born and raised by a single mother, Mario paved the way for his professional career in boxing by fighting numerous challenges. He acquired fame when he won the Chicago Golden Gloves in the Middle Weight Division tournament with just eight amateur fights under his belt. Ever since, he has proved that adequate strength training and mental conditioning can provide leverage to a boxer, regardless of the experience they hold.

According to Mario, strength training is not associated with lifting massive weights and becoming a bodybuilder. Strength training increases speed, allowing rapid motion and better punching power. His high school strength and conditioning coach, Fernando Perez, inspired him to take up boxing because he was aware of his work ethic and love for the sport and believed Herrera was a great fit to this sport. He was given the nickname Hemi due to the power of his punches.

A person may question how a boxing instructor can ever assist them in this endeavor. Supplementing boxing sessions with strength training does not have to result in becoming incredibly strong or requiring time away from your favorite sport. Mario stated, “Strength training can be defined as any activity involving some form of resistance, whether weights or even your body weight. It is possible to incorporate pushups, sit-ups, squats, or lifting a light-to-medium-weight dumbbell into this type of workout.”

In his teenage years, Mario Herrera bounced around from gym to gym until he discovered “187 Boxing Club,” a place where he felt at home. His strength training program focused on developing large muscle groups in his body, such as the quadriceps, glutes, abs, chest, and shoulders. Additionally, Herrera trained with traditional resistance exercises, including squats, deadlifts, lunges, and bench presses. Even though many individuals associate boxing with strong arms and shoulders, boxing is a full-body workout. As much as one’s upper body is responsible for the punching power, their legs and core strength also contribute significantly.

It is not uncommon to hear boxers proclaim their preference for old-school strength-based exercises rather than working out in the gym. Herrera performed traditional bodyweight exercises such as pushups, sit-ups, crunches, plyometric, and burpees. Strength and fitness training are not the only components of amateur boxing. In addition to its use in mixed martial arts, Muay Thai is also widely used. That is because any fighter worth their salt knows that training is intended to improve every aspect of your life to enhance your sporting performance.

In an interview, Herrera said, “Many times, the issue is not a matter of motivation. If we wish to achieve the benefits of a healthy physique and feel good about our appearance, we are willing to put in the time and effort at the gym and eat the correct foods at home. As a result, we are misled by so much confusing and contradictory information that we often fail to achieve our fitness – or boxing – goals.”

Boxers can enhance their strength and boost mental conditioning by joining a gym or training sessions. Individualized training sessions usually include mobility and strength exercises and full-body functional exercises. The life of Mario Herrera can be looked up to as an inspiration while training to motivate the mind and become a better boxer.

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