Weight Training and Successful fencers

Discussion in 'Fencing Discussion' started by D+F+P=Hadouken!, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. D+F+P=Hadouken!

    D+F+P=Hadouken! Rookie

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    Do successful fencers (World cup level, olympics, div top 8) tend to have a weight training program? What kind of muscle groups are they concentrating on? Which fencers?

    This thread is basically about weight training at the higher levels to improve fencing.
     
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  2. Fencergrl

    Fencergrl Rookie

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    Good question.
    Weight trainers are not too expensive. My physio office has several people that go out and do sport specific training for teams (including Olympic athletes and professional sports teams).

    Once my ankles are healed up, I’m planning to use them to provide me with some sport specific training for fencing.
     
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  3. Mr Epee

    Mr Epee Rookie

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    Triceps good.... biceps bad....

    Look at weight training programs for basketball ... it should get you headed in the right direction.

    I'd be working full body right now, and continue for the next two months... but then taper to maybe 4 exercises... for the rest of the season.

    I'd go with:

    Bench press
    Squat (good form / med weight)
    Lower Back Extension
    Tricep extensions

    I think early in the year it's good to have a shoulder development series, but it should be dropped after things feel they are in the right position.
     
  4. grotto

    grotto Rookie

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    I'm sure the answer is yes / no maybe... a proper training schedule including weight training is alway beneficial. the key is to remain lean and mean, weight training can cause you to lose flexibility and speed. (don't bulk up.) you want to look like bruce lee not Mr universe. Light weight high rep training has worked well for me. but it is best to consult with a good sports trainer (typically not the guy benching 600lbs) who understands the goals and needs for a competitive fencer.
     
  5. D+F+P=Hadouken!

    D+F+P=Hadouken! Rookie

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    Ok, whats the point of developing the shoulders early in the year and then dropping it? You'd lose whatever gains you made relatively fast, and by the time of nationals, it would be as if you didnt even work them.
     
  6. fluidfencer

    fluidfencer DE Bracket

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    I'm not a weight training expect by ANY stretch, but it seems like fencing and overall conditioning are most important at your stage of training. Non Panchan, when he was training part-time with our club, would jump rope and ride his bike. Running stairs would be great too. These hit the right muscles without much risk from impact or overtraining. The stairs will help provide good burst speed, and so would running sprints.

    I sometimes use swimmers as an example because my son is a pretty serious athlete. They train with weights but focus more on high repetitions to gain strength with out muscle mass. Running is part of it too. Swimmers are thin but muscular in a way that is best for swimmers. The development primarily comes from 4-5 hours a day of swimming.

    That brings the point home best... If there is a way to do it, fence as much and as hard as you can. We just expanded our club and a big part of that change is adding a bunch more open fencing time.


     
  7. Mr Epee

    Mr Epee Rookie

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    Because you can use the exercises to isolate, identify, and understand the muscles in your shoulder. This type of body knowledge/awareness is invaluable, but when you overdevelop you lose a certain amount of the sensitivity/softness that you need to fence.

    This is particularly important in epee where you need to be able to "feel" your way through various situations.
     
  8. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Casual fencers fence to stay in shape. Competitive fencers get in shape to fence. I’m always surprised that anyone still asks if they SHOULD be weight training. If you are a serious fencer, you MUST be building strength through a resistance program of one sort or another. It’s especially important in the off season (if such a thing exists anymore) and during the season with an eye towards your training cycle.

    There are many benefits to resistance training as opposed to simply fencing a lot. First, resistance training allows you to isolate problem or underdeveloped muscles much faster than the activity itself. An example would be building up weak calf muscles to allow for more explosive lunges. Resistance training increase calf strength faster than doing lots of lunges. Second, fencing is a bilaterally unsymmetrical sport. Resistance training removes some of that, which reduces the chances of injury, and assists in balance and mobility. Finally, resistance training leads to overall gains in general fitness, and specific gains in lean muscle mass and power. What’s not to like?

    The real difficulty is in deciding what sort of program to follow. There isn’t much research (that I have found) for weight programs specifically for fencers. I understand that there is a book focused on weight training for fencing, but comments I have heard hint that this might be a general weight lifting guide just re-packaged. I understand that some weight training programs were done for the men’s epee team….Paul Soter might be the one to contact about that.

    Failing specific information, I usually copy another sports program for myself and my students: I like tennis programs a lot, since tennis shares some of the qualities that fencing does: a need for balance, explosive power, and agility.

    Frankly, for most fencers, even a general resistance training program will do. Very few fencers are in anything like good physical shape, and they won’t go wrong with a program designed for their age and physical level of fitness. For anyone fencing at a very elite level (top 32 or better, World Cups, and so forth), I’d spend a few dollars to talk to a professional (which should be said: while I am a member of the US Strength and Conditioning Association, I am definitely NOT a professional).
     
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  9. Toecutter

    Toecutter Rookie

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    Fencing or any asymmetrical sport shouldn't be your only form of exercise. Unless you're doing footwork at a good pace ( at 75% of your max heartrate) for at least 30 minutes straight, you won't be getting much cardio conditioning. The asymmetrical nature of the conditioning could also lead to problems later in life.

    Personally, I think fencing practice is for developing fencing skills, not getting in shape. For conditioning, I run for at least 30 minutes on Tues, Thurs, and Sat, and swim or bike on the off days. After the cardio, I do stretches (the best time to stretch is when your muscles are warmed up) and then finish up with strength training. Some people might say they don't have time for all that, but overall, I spend about an hour a day on staying in shape. What's losing one hour for such a large gain? Do it instead of watching the latest reality-crap the TV spews out. You say you're too tired after a long day of work? If you were in better shape, you wouldn't feel tired after work.

    You don't need anything special to do the strength training. There's countless variations on the classic pushup to work different muscle groups. The same goes for abdominal exercises (crunches, leglifts, rows, etc.). For legs you can do wall-sits (lean against a wall in the sitting position and hold it for a minute or two). One important thing is to never cheat on the motion for the sake of doing more reps. For example, when you do a pushup, always go all the way down and all the way back up. Not working the full range of the muscle will lead to problems or injury.
     
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  10. chiz

    chiz Rookie

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    Weight Training?

    D+

    Make sure you talk with your school's weight training coach about your workout. No don't ask your fencing coach at first, talk to the weight coach first. I know you want to get on with it, I also think that a training enjury at this time will cost you a lot in the long run.

    Best

    Chiz
     
  11. achilleus

    achilleus Rookie

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    Allen Evans had a great post.

    I'll add a little specifics to what he mentioned. For competitive success, weight training is required.

    Being a young epee fencer, you should definitely contact Paul Soter (his contact info should be listed on the USFA website). Soren Thopmson worked with a USOC trainer who developed a comprehensive routine for him, that the trainer adapted for general use that Paul has access to.

    Basically, the routine takes about an 1 1/2 per session, twice a week.

    It includes:
    Core Training - Crunches, twists, back extensions
    explosive training - Hang Clean, Push Press, Split Jerk etc...
    Strength training - Bench Press, Rows, Squats, etc...
    Agility Training - Plyometrics, Jump Rope, Ladder Drills, etc...

    With some detail on how much you should be doing depending on what part of the season you're in.
     
  12. telkanuru

    telkanuru Podium

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    As Achilleus said, they actually had a sports scientist from the US Olympic Training Center create a training program. When Mr. Soter came by to do a camp at my club, he said he'd get us copies of said program, I'll post something when I have it.
     
  13. darius

    darius Podium

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    ...and that's a bad thing?

    Look at the previous post, with Soren Thompson's plan. Notice how it includes hypertrophy work (grow muscle mass) as well as agility and explosiveness work (coordinate that muscle mass), but nothing is specified for cardio.

    Now, check out the last page of this PDF. Look at the metabolic pathways you need to develop as a fencer. (Speaking of which, whoever posted the original link to Crossfit, you rock! This stuff is amazing!)

    Not many fencers need to sustain aerobic efforts for a long period of time. That said, it's likely that any crosstraining is probably better than no crosstraining, but I'd rather take the most efficient route. If that means lifting heavy things, so be it.

    darius
     
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  14. achilleus

    achilleus Rookie

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    That's exactly why the program is designed they way it is. The trainer developed an efficient program for sports performance that allows the user to concentrate their efforts on perfecting their sport.
     
  15. achilleus

    achilleus Rookie

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    An Important Note

    Just wanted to add that the program I mentioned above was developed specifically for Thompson, then adapted for the ME coach for general use. It should be noted that Thompson worked with a trainer on technique, and was already well acquainted with lifting weights before working out on his own.

    Different weapons perhaps require different approaches, and of course a program tailored to the individual is the best. So, if you do get a hold of the work out, approach with caution so as to avoid injury.
     
  16. Mr Epee

    Mr Epee Rookie

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    I was just writing this, but saw you already addressed it.
     
  17. Mr Epee

    Mr Epee Rookie

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    One more quick note...

    The Explosive Training and the Plyometric portion of the Agility training that Achilleus listed in that specific program are advanced techniques and should not even be attempted without at least 6 weeks of regular strength training, and hopefully professional guidence.
     
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  18. darius

    darius Podium

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    Seconded. Especially doing multi-joint exercises like the Olympic lifts, it's imperative that one learns how to do them correctly before loading up the bar. Failure to do so will result in a lack of efficiency at best, injury at worst.

    Talk to a trainer or at the very least, get in in a lot of reps under a piece of PVC until you're sure that you're doing the right thing.

    darius
     
  19. glowstix

    glowstix DE Bracket

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    a good person to ask, i'd imagine would be bruno..and you're seeing him next weekend. you know how strong and fast he is. :frightene
     
  20. Allen Evans

    Allen Evans Podium

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    Totally agree. Any sort of training for power demands a base level of fitness and a cautious approach. Plyometric training has become the magic word for training in speed and power these days, but is easily a source of serious pulls/strains/tears without guidence.
     

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