Training - Sport Fencing Exercise Routines

A sample exercise routine designed for sporting fencers and the common movements found within. Information on stretches and drills.

Sport or Olympic fencing can be quite a workout within itself, requiring sudden movements and repetitive motions with both the arms and legs. Many of these movements can be modified into a simple training and exercise routine that will not only help to keep you in top fencing form, but will also help to strengthen the body in the muscles and joints that are most commonly used in dueling.

To begin, you should first stretch and do a few simple exercises to loosen yourself up. Leg stretches are especially important, as the main focus of the training routine will be the legs. Dedicate 5-10 minutes to limbering up your legs, and then a few additional minutes for a few exercises to loosen up your shoulders and arms. If you wish, this can be followed by full-body exercises, such as jumping jacks, to get your whole body ready to move.

Once you're loosened up, you should assume your primary fencing stance, or your "en guarde" position. Check to see that your posture is correct, your feet are lined up in an "L" stance, and that your knees are slightly bent. You may use a weapon if you wish, though a better alternative might be a wrist weight on your weapon hand. Ankle weights can also effectively be used on both feet.

When you are ready, make two basic "advance" steps, stepping forward with the lead foot and then following with the rear. Move backward with a single "crossover retreat", swinging your lead foot behind your rear foot, and then stepping back with the rear. Move quickly into a "crossover advance", stepping first with your rear foot and then with your lead, and finish with two basic "retreat" steps, moving with your rear foot first, and then your lead.

If done correctly, you should be in the same approximate position that you started in. Check the alignment of your body to make sure that your stance and posture are correct, and then proceed to the next part of the exercise.

Repeat the same steps as before, but this time extend your arm as though you were doing a basic extension attack. Keep the arm rigid while moving through the entire range of motion, and then relax your arm. Again, this part of the exercise can be more beneficial with the addition of a wrist weight.

Continue though the same steps while working your way though each of the eight common parries. Perform each parry at the beginning of the motion, holding it until all of the steps are complete. Once you have finished each set, move to the next parry and begin again.

Upon completion of the eight parries, hold your position for a moment while you get ready for the final part of the exercise. Inhale and then exhale as you execute a full lunge. Recover from the lunge as you inhale, and immediately go into another lunge with the exhale. Complete ten lunges without stopping, or if you must stop, try to do as many in a single set as possible. For additional practice, you might have a target on a nearby wall to aim at (if practicing with a weapon) so as to work on point control as well.

This simple exercise can be repeated several times, if desired, though should you experience any pain or unusual discomfort, you should stop immediately. As with all fencing motions, there always exists the possibility of knee or ankle injury, as well as inflamed joints or tendonitis. Should extended pain or swelling occur, consult a doctor.

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