T Nation

Fencing


#1

Anyone know any good sport-specific excercises for fencers? I'm really getting into this fencing class, but I'd like to improve my speed, reflexes, and lunge distance. I'm planning on adding some jump-rope training, as well as more shoulder specific work (holding the foil for three or four matches in a row does a number on the shoulders). I'm also planning on starting something similar to John Berardi's Winning Formula plan, so my cardio will be going up significantly. Any recommendations?


#2

Wow, I thought I was the only one into fencing...okay, here's what I got.

A lot of grip work; forearm/wrist extensions and flexions work pretty well, but an old teacher of mine gave me a tip that fencers have supposedly been using for hundreds of years: squeeze rocks. Just grab a fist sized stone and squeeze for as long and as hard as you can. I like doing a full-intensity squeeze for 10 seconds, in 4 sets of 5 reps. My old teacher was freaky looking: his forearms were as large if not larger than his upper arms. Seriously, the guy looked like Popeye.

I did this for a while and noticed my grip strength improve greatly, and, resultantly, my swordsmanship was better. However, I should not that I did this primarily before I began deadlifting, which has improved my grip even moreso. If you deadlift frequently, this may be a pointless thing for you to do.

Additionally, you can practice with a sword that is heavier than the one you normally use.

I have also found that lunges (not walking) have helped me become much quick on my feet, insomuchas I can recover from thrusts and (obviously) lunges much greater.

Hope this helps; good luck!

p.s. Are you training foil, rapier, or epee?


#3

Amazing sport isn't it - Very explosive in nature so I use a great deal of Olympic style lifts and plyo's. With for fencers, I find dumbell or kbell movements a more effective medium (for Olifts) with eye-hand / proprioreceptive needs and using a split style. Hand speed is extremely important so certainly rope work you should be included plus others hand drills. There's quite bit more but good luck. In faith, Coach Davies


#4

Since this is an anaerobic exercise. You will need explosion and acceleration. 1 arm DB snatch will help syncronize your upper and lower body for better efficiency. Lower your weighs to maybe 75% a bit and focus on speed of the lifts.


#5

Thanks for the info, everyone!


Coach Davies - Do you think that sprint work will help with overall lunge speed?


Trev - I'm training foil at the moment, although at some later point I'd like to try epee and sabre. How long have you been fencing?


#6

Sprint work will assist but your need to focus more on acceleration, explosion and of course reaction speed. I appreciate fencing tremendously as there are many extremely unique athletic qualities to it. However, I will see if a collegue of mine whose is quite accomplished in fencing will join in and might be able to offer some assistance with technical skills. In faith, Coach Davies


#7

I don't think squeezing a rock would help wrist/forearm strength at all. I say do lever lifts with a sledgehamemr or an axe, or weaver stick & plate curls. Plate curls are by far the best wrist strengtheners.


#8

Nephorm, I've been fencing about 6 years, took lessons from when I was 14-17, and since then I haven't been in any classes since then, though I do occasionally spar with other fencing friends. I did foil at first too, then did a little epee, which was just too much fun to describe.