Power Boxing Workout

Marlen Esparza
Year Released: 2013

Categories: Abs/Core , Boxing/Kickboxing/Martial Arts , Lower Body Strength , Upper Body Strength

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I am an intermediate exerciser, and I enjoy both boxing and kickboxing workouts. I thought that this DVD, which features Olympic boxer Marlen Esparza as the instructor, looked interesting. Esparza explains in the Introduction (2 minutes) that she teaches the same moves in the workout that her trainer used to help her into shape for competition. She notes that the moves included are meant to show the "true beauty of boxing" and that the workout is "designed from the ground up"--i.e., it starts with core work, then moves to other areas of he body.

In addition to the Introduction, the Main Menu of the DVD lists Play All (56 minutes) - Workout Options - Marlen Esparza Biography - More from Acacia - Credits. The Workout Options is the chapter menu; I have provided details on each segment below.

BOXING 101 (4:18m)
Here Esparza is alone. She provides an overview of each punch used in the workout. These include some that are less-commonly seen in other exercise videos, such as body shot, low body shot, and overhand.

WARM-UP (10m)
Esparza is joined for the warm-up (and the remainder of the workout, with the exception of the "Shake Out") by two background exercisers, one of whom, Monica, offers modifications. For the first 4 minutes, they move through each of the punches, performing each one for 5 repetition. Esparza then brings it to the floor for 2.5 minutes of core work, including a boxer's crunch; again, she performs 5 reps of each exercise. She concludes on the floor with superman, elbow plank, and triceps push-ups. Returning to standing, Esparza finishes the warm-up with legs, including squat, boxer squat, front lunge, 45-degree lunge, and side shake out.

CORE (13m)
This segment consists of additional core work, repeating many of the moves from the warm-up, but this time for 10 reps. Esparza starts with boxer crunches, then full situps with arms in guard, and full situps with one leg bent. Next, boxer crunch with one leg bridge and roll up, holding dumbbell over head. Coming onto the stomach, Esperanza performs supermans and supermans with alternating arms/legs. She concludes this segment with plank, plank with alternating leg lift, plank with alternating arm/leg, slow alternating side-to-side plank, and tricep push-ups.

Again, Esparza repeats moves from the warm-up, this time performing 10 reps. Squats are first, including squats, boxer squats, and squats on the toes. Next comes a lunge series and boxer lunges. Esparza then begins adding punches, adding a jab-cross-overhand to the second lunge set. At the end of this segment, Esparza suddenly does some fast drills, introducing a escape move; this was very hard to follow.

Here Esparza begins by repeating the same series of punches from the warm-up, this time completing each punch for 10 repetitions. Esparza then began adding the punches together in combos. I have done A LOT of boxing/kickboxing workouts, and the typical teaching method is that a new combo of 3-4 punches is introduced and then repeated 8-12 times, or 30-60 seconds, allowing the viewer to become very familiar with the combo. Instead, Esparza VERY BRIEFLY introduces a combo of 4-6 punches, sometimes not repeating at all, sometimes repeating just ONCE. Furthermore, the combos were performed ONLY on the right lead, not the left. There was final "burn out" sequence (quick jab-cross punches performed both with and without weights) that was repeated on both sides.

BOXING (9:30m)
This final sequence was fairly similar to the second half of the Upper Body segment in that Esparza cues combos of 4-6 punches. She moves VERY QUICKLY through the combinations, introducing them only briefly before performing just ONCE each. On the left lead side, Esparza does not cue the combos AT ALL (i.e., other than to say "next combination"), which I found to be VERY disappointing. I was completely unable to follow along with this section.

This is Esparza's version of the cool-down. She is featured alone here literally shaking off the workout. It is the only segment done in voiceover; we hear her internal dialogue as she asks herself which areas of her body still seem tight, etc.

I enjoyed the toning portions of this workout, including the core work and the lower body moves. However, the heart of the routine, the boxing, was a disappointment to me. Although Esparza included some interesting punches and taught them well in isolation, she did an extremely poor job at cuing the punching combinations, at least for a video fitness audience. Experienced boxers might be able able to follow along with Esparza, but unfortunately, I was not able to do so.

Instructor Comments:
Marlen does not mirror cue, which I found a bit confusing in a boxing workout. Also, as noted above, she provides VERY minimal instruction/cuing for the boxing combinations, and I found her almost impossible to follow during those segments as a result. Otherwise, I did like her low-key style.

Beth C (aka toaster)