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J4G
-1st August 2011, 16:06
During the season, I fence 3 nights a week (~7-8 hours) and try to do some weights at the weekend when I am not competing for some S+C, as well as some short runs (~3-5 miles) for fitness.

I was wondering if anyone would have a better idea of a training program that would work well but incorporate more than just fencing, footwork and lessons? I was looking for other activities that could be a bit more varied. I know of some activities that help although I don't know about the details regarding distances and times:

- swimming
- sprints
- general fitness
- any specific weight workouts

The reason I ask is that I have heard that some types of training (e.g. 100m sprints; 10 mile runs) are not as effective as others (e.g. 50m sprints; 3 mile runs) and it would be better to get a better idea of how else I can train.

If anyone has any thoughts they would be greatly appreciated!

sassy fencer
-1st August 2011, 16:51
I have no idea about training programms but you might find useful what my coach suggested to me: rope skipping and also hoping up 2 flights of stairs on each leg (I live on the 4th floor):D

JamesF
-1st August 2011, 17:11
Sounds like an invitation to me :)

S&C Guy
-1st August 2011, 22:44
During the season, I fence 3 nights a week (~7-8 hours) and try to do some weights at the weekend when I am not competing for some S+C, as well as some short runs (~3-5 miles) for fitness.

I was wondering if anyone would have a better idea of a training program that would work well but incorporate more than just fencing, footwork and lessons? I was looking for other activities that could be a bit more varied. I know of some activities that help although I don't know about the details regarding distances and times:

- swimming
- sprints
- general fitness
- any specific weight workouts

The reason I ask is that I have heard that some types of training (e.g. 100m sprints; 10 mile runs) are not as effective as others (e.g. 50m sprints; 3 mile runs) and it would be better to get a better idea of how else I can train.

If anyone has any thoughts they would be greatly appreciated!

I am more than happy to give you some ideas however it would help to have more specific infomation, such as facilities available, training age, actual age, injury history etc

Also i think it would help if you read as much of this thread as you can get through (http://www.fencingforum.com/forum/showthread.php?14795-General-fitness-training) It goes on a bit and goes off on tangents occaisionally but it should give you a decent overview of the theory behind S&C for fencing.

After that come back with your info and i'll see if i can help.

Rhys

J4G
-2nd August 2011, 10:52
Hi Rhys,

Thank for getting back to me. I am at university and have plenty of facilities available (athletics track, sports halls, swimming pool, gym).

My actual age is 21, my training age is a funny one. I started fencing 6 years ago at school, once a week for three years or so. I then stopped for a year and started again when at University, where I found that I had forgotten absolutely everything or everything that I did know was wrong (even what constituted and attack) so I scrapped it all and started from fresh. At that point, I started fencing three nights a week with regular running and gym sessions on the side, having done that for 2 years I am now 91st in MF (if that helps with an ability of idea at all).

That thread does help, thank you. I'll have a proper look through when I get a few more minutes to do so.

Thank you :)

S&C Guy
-2nd August 2011, 12:59
Hi Rhys,

Thank for getting back to me. I am at university and have plenty of facilities available (athletics track, sports halls, swimming pool, gym).

My actual age is 21, my training age is a funny one. I started fencing 6 years ago at school, once a week for three years or so. I then stopped for a year and started again when at University, where I found that I had forgotten absolutely everything or everything that I did know was wrong (even what constituted and attack) so I scrapped it all and started from fresh. At that point, I started fencing three nights a week with regular running and gym sessions on the side, having done that for 2 years I am now 91st in MF (if that helps with an ability of idea at all).

That thread does help, thank you. I'll have a proper look through when I get a few more minutes to do so.

Thank you :)

No worries, also do you want overall fitness, need to lose some body fat, gain muscle or just specfically looking to improve your fencing performance?

J4G
-2nd August 2011, 14:26
I'm looking to improve performance but bulking up a bit would be nice too, I feel as though I am a bit stick like as a fencer (a twiglet!).

fencer_boy
-2nd August 2011, 14:50
very curious what you come back with Rhys, in a similar boat as J4G except not as athletic as him :P, i am a 20 year old sabreur wanting to get a bit faster foot work and a general tone up/tiny bit of a bulk up too. If you could tweak your recommendations for J4 to me i'd love you forever!

S&C Guy
-3rd August 2011, 21:53
First things first, I’d cut out the runs. You may have picked this up from previous posts I’ve made, but there is zero reason for a fencer running unless he loves to do it as a hobby. In that case go for it, but in the knowledge that it really isn’t helping your fencing and may even end up hindering it. Your already fencing a good amount in the week, and depending on the intensity of those sessions that could be all the conditioning work you need. If you need to lose some fat you can add in some short sprints (30-40m, 10-20times with walk back recovery) but again, this isn’t aiding fencing fitness it just burns some calories in an explosive way that will not wreck, so not wrecking your speed on the piste.
For your gym work I would lay out sessions like this – explosive movement, Lower body lift (2legs), Eccentric hamstring (v. important for fencers), Upper body Pull, Upper body push, Lower body Lift (1leg), Core. What exercises you include here really depend on your competency in a gym with weights.

Explosive movements – Broad jumps, box jumps, med ball throws, Olympic lifts
Low body (2legs) – Back squat, front squat, box squat, deadlift, Hip thrust
Eccentric Hamstring – Romanian Deadlifts, Nordics, Glute-Ham Raises, Single-leg Straight-leg Deadlifts
Upper push – military press, push press, split jerks , push ups, dumbbell/barbell bench, 1 arm bench
Upper pull – Pull/chin ups, bent over rows, inverted rows, 1arm rows, seated rows
Low body (1leg) – Split squats, rear foot elevated split squats, pistol squats, single-leg straight-leg deadlifts, 1 leg hip thrusts, step ups
Core – plank, side plank, pallof press, landmines, tall kneeling rotations, birddogs

From that you can design your own sessions and if you kept mixing different exercises you could go a very long time without repeating the same session! On the whole I would keep reps between 3-6 and total reps at 15-25. So you could do 5sets of 3reps (15total) or 4sets of 6reps (24total) and so on. Keeping pushing your weights up. Strength is key, it is the base upon which power and speed are created! Having said that with some later exercises you can do some sets of 6-8reps, the volume will help strength tendons & ligaments plus help put some size on you. Make sure you pick exercises and weights you are capable of doing with good form, if you’ve not heard of an exercise before, look it up on youtube. Here are some example sessions.

Session 1
1) Box jump – 3 X 3
2) Back squat – 3 X 5
3a) Romanian Deadlift – 3 X 6
3b) Split Jerk – 3 X 6
4a) Pull ups – 3 X 8
4b) Step Ups – 3 X 8
5) Plank – 3mins total, as many sets as needed

Session 2
1a) Overhead Medball toss – 3 X 5
1b) Deadlift – 3 X 3
2a) Nordics – 3 X 6
2b) 1arm DB Bench – 3 X 8
3a) RFE Split Squat – 3 X 8
3b) 1arm Row – 3 X 8
4) Birddogs – 3 X 8

These sessions are very generic, but right now that’s exactly what you need. Things don’t need to be too specialised until you reach a high level. With big compound lifts like this, done with heavy lifts, you’d be amazed of the muscle, strength, speed and endurance you can build. Plenty of mobility work in there too for good measure, ie foam rolling & stretching, which I’ve discussed elsewhere on this forum. Around this focus on your fencing training and recovery methods.

Any more questions fire them over. Also head to my website (www.rhysingram.com) or my facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Rhys-Ingram-Strength-Performance/235114766509333) for more of my info.

Stay strong, Rhys

Nick_C
-7th August 2011, 20:48
Hi Rhys

Could you qualify your idea that running is bad for your fencing?

Cyrano5
-8th August 2011, 09:33
He did not say that it was bad, just that it was not helpful..

hokers
-8th August 2011, 10:38
I don't run any more unless I have to, as I suffered badly with shin splints from fencing. Perhaps sustained impact is a factor here?

J4G
-8th August 2011, 11:51
Thanks S+C, I'll have a look and try to start implementing such a program. I am also curious about the running comment however, how could it be potentially detrimental with that amount of fencing? Could it be related to fatigue, burn out, too much cardio?

M'son
-10th August 2011, 16:35
Just wondering does anyone have a fencing fitness programme or advice for Veterans fencing? Would love to know what I should and should not be doing. Looking at Cat 2 50+ Vet. Thanks

Miniscule
-11th August 2011, 08:27
For footwork I was recommended rope skipping in a manner where (http://www.wimdu.co.uk) you jump consecutively onto each foot, while the other one is in the air (don't know if that really explains it), instead of jumping with both feet.

Do you need any strengthening of your arms, too? You didn't mention anything about that, just general bulking up.

Nick_C
-12th August 2011, 20:29
well i'm all for improving anaerobic capability. However, it strikes me as a little dubious to suggest that running or aeorbic fitness training will hamper a fencer's performance. Perhaps that's not what is being said here. I'm fairly sure there's no evidence to suggest this.

From my own experience, i have on numerous occasions beaten an opponent ranked way above me simply on fitness - running them up and down the piste a few times makes them tired, physically and mentally fatigued. This impairs their acute performance, muscles ache, ripostes are missed, they can't concentrate, they can't change their game... they get hit with the same hits over and over again... they get increasingly frustrated, try to do things faster and faster, and ultimately lose. This seems to work pretty well in those matches where you are playing someone less good than you who keeps getting annoying remise-type hits too.

Again, i'm pretty sure there's no good evidence either way, but i am interested to hear the opinions of others.

PS sorry to hijack the thread (a bit)

Cyranna's Father
-12th August 2011, 20:42
It's just a passing note but Boy does about 16 hours of mixed sport each week - mainly rugby but also judo, cross country and fencing. The cross-country helps with stamina, the rugby with bursts of energy, sudden mobility, focussed aggression and stamina again, also the judo which again helps with overall strength and crosses with body position for tackling in rugby and spacial awareness in fencing.

The footwork requirements of each get quite similar, especially the judo & fencing. Recently within his pre-season rugby he has been doing concentrated sprint training under a Margot Wells trained coach and this has actually strengthened his legs which in turn has helped with his fencing mobility and strength.

We did not think this through initially but it is odd how things just work out.

rpryer
-12th August 2011, 21:23
Nick - as I understand it, the principle is that all training should be directed at fencing-specific movements and energy systems. Running doesn't fit that need.

More improvements in endurance should come from more directed training than from running laps of the gym.

S&C Guy
-12th August 2011, 22:34
Hey guys!

Sorry to drop in the 'no running' bomb and leave you! I've been in Nottingham for the week with the BF Academy. I promise to get on here and answer your question properly, however after a week of 15hour days answering exciteable inquisitive teenagers and less exciteable and equally inquisitive fencing coaches i am exhausted (plus needing sleep before going to the rugby in cardiff tomorrow!)!! I will get on here asap though and give you a proper answer! Needless to say i have one but want to do you guys justice by devoting some time to it all. I will also make some recomendations regarding the question on Vets training! Hopefully Sunday will be the day!

In the mean time, pray for a Wales win, it will put me in a good mood!
Rhys

Hungry Hippo
-13th August 2011, 08:29
In the mean time, pray for a Wales win, it will put me in a good mood! Rhys

Shows that the religious ferver of the Valleys is still alive and strong - you'll need it to get past England, Rhys!

S&C Guy
-14th August 2011, 14:27
Shows that the religious ferver of the Valleys is still alive and strong - you'll need it to get past England, Rhys!

I'm not gonna say anything, just know i'm sitting here smiling as a read this comment! lol

S&C Guy
-14th August 2011, 14:58
OK i'm feeling vaguely human again after this week and figure i better reply to this thread before i'm faced with 140 rugby players tomorrow for preseason training and begin to feel less than human again!

I am going to try and give a general answer to this in as concise a manner as possible, however those of you who have read my previous posts will realise this may turn into a novel! Here goes (this ended up being in a slightly random order sorry!);

-First and foremost, fencers don't run! Just to hammer this one home, you don't run up and down the piste so you don't NEED to run in training. Swimmers don't run, cyclists don't run & one more time, fencers don't run. Lance Armstrongs initial marathon attempts (in his first retirement) were average, poor even when compared to his VO2 max scores! Because these were tested on a bike, not a treadmill. Aerobic pathways are very specific and when training them you must use identical movement patterns, hence the term sport specific training. Similar just doesn't get the job done.


- i am also not saying that being a good runner makes you a bad fencer, just that its not cause and effect, there are more importantr physical qualities to train. You have a finite amount of training time and energy to use per week. If you were my athlete i would rather use that time and energy on more productive methods

- if you enjoy running then go for it, it won't kill you. However fencing is very linear in nature so i would rather have cross training be a sport where you move laterally and turn as well, like squash or tennis or touch rugby etc.

- not everyone is made to run. the injury rates are reasonably high. Not serious injuries but foot, knee, low back issues are prevalent in runners for many issues i think i got into in a previous thread. (these are also common injury areas for fencers, i'd rather not keep beating them up)

In any training you must ask yourself what you aim to achieve with it, does it benefit you? With running i ask myself that and i don't see where it fits in. Fencers don't run, they need to be fast, powerful and strong with good technical mastery. Fencers have lower limb injuries, often due to impact, do i want to add to that with lots of volume (the average person takes 2,640 foot steps per mile, thats a lot of volume!). Fencing is not an aerobic sport, do i want to train fencers aerobically when they could be using that time to get fast, powerful, technically more sound, or most importantly RECOVERING!

S&C Guy
-14th August 2011, 15:31
[Thought i'd seperate these 2 comments so that its easier to read!]

Now the fact that fencing is not aerobic might surprise some but it is true. VO2 max numbers in elite fencers aren't that much higher than a normally active person. This is the same across weapons too. Its not the fact that a sabre fight lasts a minute or two and foil lasts much longer that matters its the breakdown low/med/high intensity activity and rest that matters within the fight that is key.

A foilist does not fight for 9 minutes at the same steady pace without break. Within that you have the minute between each round obviously but you also have shorter breaks between points (low intensity activity or rest) and importantantly much of the sparring time is taken up with low/med intensity activity. Watch a fencer with a scientists pair of eyes and you see vast changes in pace being the key to scoring points. Obviously there are key nuances in technique that a fencer sees but that is for fencing coaches to deal with, not me! If a fencer works at one steady speed throughout a fight they are easy to read, and probably lose the fight once its timed out (if aerobically fit enough to maintain that speed) or lose the fight when their opponent gets to 15 (if they end up too exhausted to move effectively)! If both fighters skill levels are equal it is the athlete who is able to execute this skill the fastest who wins the point. This was reinforced to me at last years academy when Ziemek Wojciechowski was doing a coaching demo with Richard Kruse and Laurence Halstead, the 4 terms he repeated over and over again were slow and patient, followed by fast and powerful.

Now here is one of the most important and misunderstood aspects of S&C, INCREASED STRENGTH ALSO LEADS TO INCREASE CONDITIONING LEVELS!! To use a car racing analogy. Having a high aerobic capacity in fencing with low strength levels is a kin to trying to win a race by having a huge petrol tank, you may be the last one left on the track going round and round but the race finished a long time before this when the other cars completed their 50 laps. What you need to do is have a tank with enough fuel to get you to the end with a much bigger engine. Strength is that engine! Increased strength enables your fast, high-intensity activity to be at a higher intensity, whilst your slow/patient, low-intensity activity uses less energy to execute. This means you don't fatigue as fast during a fight. If you get too tired during a fencing match it is probably due to one of these factors; you haven't been fencing enough and so are not used to the sport specific movements of going up and down the piste, you have not got your nutrition/hydration methods down or you are not strong enough, meaning that your high intensity activity uses up more energy than you are capable of recovering from in the periods of low intensity activity or rest you experience within that match!

I will leave that there as i have just thown a load of stuff down and realise that it may or not be in a coherent manner that anyone other than myself understands or that people might have specific questions that i can give specific answers to rather than me rambling on here with every facet of sports science i can think of!

Hope this helps, stay strong!

Rhys

hokers
-17th August 2011, 15:31
OK - have tried to find some instructional videos for these example workout sessions, hopefully this will work. I was concentrating on technique videos with a bit of instruction. Some of the instruction is much better than others, but no single source seems to have the full range of exercises.

Session 1
1) Box jump 3 X 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opuA4Ej2GDs)
2) Back squat 3 X 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdDm7MBkfLQ)
3a) Romanian Deadlift 3 X 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noA5iBH-WIw)
3b) Split Jerk 3 X 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP4EeQIdjQE)
4a) Pull ups 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhEyfbrNAlM&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL)
4b) Step Ups 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT0engiJhWE&feature=related)
5) Plank 3mins total, as many sets as needed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHpYbNP4cwg)

Session 2
1a) Overhead Medball toss 3 X 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sQjqcNljaQ)
1b) Deadlift 3 X 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1H1VG9Uh50)
2a) Nordics 3 X 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGQ7NFG0x3o)
2b) 1arm DB Bench 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCvaXUy9J0g)
3a) RFE Split Squat 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y14WzmqzAyQ)
3b) 1arm Row 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gOYkpfT9Hc)
4) Birddogs 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzS66fmX6rc)

If any of this looks wrong or a bad example, can someone please correct me? There were about 4 million medball toss variants for example.

S&C Guy
-17th August 2011, 17:13
OK - have tried to find some instructional videos for these example workout sessions, hopefully this will work. I was concentrating on technique videos with a bit of instruction. Some of the instruction is much better than others, but no single source seems to have the full range of exercises.

Session 1
1) Box jump – 3 X 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opuA4Ej2GDs)
2) Back squat – 3 X 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HdDm7MBkfLQ)
3a) Romanian Deadlift – 3 X 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=noA5iBH-WIw)
3b) Split Jerk – 3 X 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dP4EeQIdjQE)
4a) Pull ups – 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhEyfbrNAlM&feature=mfu_in_order&list=UL)
4b) Step Ups – 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IT0engiJhWE&feature=related)
5) Plank – 3mins total, as many sets as needed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHpYbNP4cwg)

Session 2
1a) Overhead Medball toss – 3 X 5 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4sQjqcNljaQ)
1b) Deadlift – 3 X 3 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U1H1VG9Uh50)
2a) Nordics – 3 X 6 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGQ7NFG0x3o)
2b) 1arm DB Bench – 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCvaXUy9J0g)
3a) RFE Split Squat – 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y14WzmqzAyQ)
3b) 1arm Row – 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1gOYkpfT9Hc)
4) Birddogs – 3 X 8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzS66fmX6rc)

If any of this looks wrong or a bad example, can someone please correct me? There were about 4 million medball toss variants for example.

OK, going through the videos one by one as a type this.
Session 1
1) Video is good.
2) Voice over says go till hamstrings are parallel, in fact it is best to go until your hip is lower than your knee (if you have adequate mobility, if not, work on that too) He also says about 3secs down and 3 up. In fact control the downward motion over a second or two and then come up as fast as you can with good form, that helps you train the right sort of muscle.
3a) Good video (if you can't go to the floor due to tight hamstrings, just work within your range, don't bend your back!)
3b) Good vid
4a) This is a vid of 'kipping pull ups' which i don't recomend. Try this one instead (http://youtu.be/J3ePobnBiOE)
4b) Try this video instead (http://youtu.be/tLd-NuWg3wA) If you don't want to use a barbell you can use dumbbells instead
5) The back position in that vid isn't great, try this one instead (http://youtu.be/pSHjTRCQxIw) (I have no idea why this guy has his top off! lol

Session 2
1a) That vids good, only thing is some gyms don't want you doing that exercise indoors, if so try slams instead (http://youtu.be/wdQt8KfPWFg)
1b) Good vid
2a) Good vid (brutal exercise)
2b) Good vid
3a)Good vid
3b) Good vid
4) Good vid

Cyranna's Father
-17th August 2011, 19:53
Birddogs 3 X 8[/URL] .

on the basis that this Colonial species is unknown in Great Britain may we have an anglicised equivilent please? do we do the "water spaniel"the "mastiff" or perhaps the well known "spotty dog" is an approximation?

:)

S&C Guy
-21st August 2011, 11:00
Just wondering does anyone have a fencing fitness programme or advice for Veterans fencing? Would love to know what I should and should not be doing. Looking at Cat 2 50+ Vet. Thanks

Just realised i never responded on here with any considerations for veteran fencers.

In principle the exercises and movements you should be doing are the same and i would change very little, however there are some important considerations to add in there for Vets!

- Personalisation of any routine is less about the age or weapon the athlete is and much more about the individual him/herself! What is their injury history? Are they posturely sound? Have they any specific mobility/strength issues? Are they strong/fast/explosive/or none of the above? This is why my program recomendations can sound generalised, without knowing the individual, or when working with groups, the program stays basic.

- Recovery rates are reduced as you get older. So voume of work done in sessions should be lower, think less work sets in each session. Possiby just hitting each movement (upper pull/upper push/single leg/eccentric ham/etc) once a week rather than in each session!

- As anyone leaves their 'peak' training years (mid 30's on) you should take into consideration the fact that you lose muscle mass, therefore some hypertrophy (bodybuilding) work can be necessary! I don't mean you have to hit every bicep exercise known to man, however after completing some strength work (ideally with your low body bilateral/unilateral lift) you should perform some work in higher rep ranges, i.e. 6-10reps. Obviously be careful with your recovery but one option is to start your session with Back Squats 3sets of 3reps for strength and follow them up with Back Squats 2sets of 8reps. Alternatively you could follow your strength sets of back squats with higher volume single leg stuff, 3sets of 10reps on Single leg squat for example!

- as you go further into the vets the above considerations become even more important. Muscle mass still drops but as you head towards 50+ you also lose strength and it is vital to maintain this. Beyond fencing if you think about your parents/grandparents when they have a fall and how that affects them. Fitness for older generations is centred around them doing stretches in chairs or light walking and its disgracefull. What they need is the strength to control themselves should they suddenly fall. Relating this to fencing, you need the strength to control a long lunge otherwise you may not be coming back out of that position. One lunge without the strength to control it could be the difference between you carrying on in Vets fencing or having to retire completely.

- The vital thing to consider with all training as you progress in your sport at the veteran level is if you don't use it, you lose it! One big injury could be your last here, so things like posture training, mobility and strength become hugely important! The academy guys roll an ankle in training, get it strapped and are back on the piste in 5mins. Vets don't have this luxury sadly. But as long as you maintain your training right through your fencing career, there's no reason why you can't carry on strength training and being healthy beyond Vets fencing! Check this out for proof; http://youtu.be/DoQk0pcyu8E

- As for conditioning, i still stand by the fencing is your best for of conditioning and my concerns about injury rates in runners being to high to risk unless you absolutely love running as a hobby. However if you want to get your heart rate going a bit you do have some options. One is to cut the rest periods down between your weight training exercises. Ideally leave the usual 3-5mins between sets of strength work but the rest of your training you can drop it to 60-90seconds or superset exercises by pairing them or putting them in trisets or giant sets (4 or more exercises together, so one set of RFE Split squats, bench, pull ups and Nordics, then set 2 of each exercise). Alternatively you can do your sessions as isted before but finish with a finisher of some sorts, bodyweight finishers are my favourite, so push ups, pull ups inverted rows, bodyweight squats etc. There's no hard and fast rules with these though, do something hard for 5-15mins and make sure it doesn't put you at risk of injury (i.e. consider posture etc) More examples of finishers can be found on my site here; http://www.rhysingram.com/chalfin.html

Thats everything i can think of off the top of my head right now however if you have any specific questions about what i've put here, shoot them my way!

Rhys

M'son
-21st August 2011, 17:02
Thanks Rhys
much appreciated. I am working with a personal trainer who I see is so on the right track. Will pass this on to him. May well PM you on the older people in care homes. This is part of my work
Thanks again

coach carson
-23rd August 2011, 21:13
I'm going to stick my neck out a bit here to get the debate going a bit further. I don't agree with the strength over stamina conversation above. I think that the absence of fencing specific actions in either running or lifting, although potentially adding something, is less than ideal. I think that it is the amount of fencing and development fencing specific actions that make the difference. For most fencers that simply means more fencing. For those lucky enough to be having lessons and a couple of hours quality bouts most days, then there are some personal specific questions to be asked about what a conditioning programme is for and perhaps even what type of fencer you are/want to be. Think about the physical difference and fencing difference between say, Tim Morehouse (plenty of conditioning videos of him on youtube) and Yakimenko (completely different physical presence and movement). I can't find any advice that suggests an adequate stamina base is not the foundation on which to build strength and speed and which is geared to strengthening weak areas, maintaining strong areas, preparing for higher fencing loading and avoiding injury. The context of fencing seem to be almost completely absent from the exercises suggested above. The following seems to me reflective of the sort of conditioning that is more fencing specific.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DmRQZDbxh4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 12:55
Hmmm, ok, gonna approach this in bits as best i can. i am however mid preseason with 140rugby boys and girls and coming off the back of the Academies 15hour work days so i am currently exhausted that could result in spelling mistakes/bad grammer/brief answers or all of the above!!! Here goes!


I'm going to stick my neck out a bit here to get the debate going a bit further. I don't agree with the strength over stamina conversation above.
Feel free to go through any of the research from the last 10yrs and you'll see that there a copious amount of peer reviewed sources backing up the Strength over stamina debate in general training. It's not something for someone to agree/disagree with, its scientific fact. The aerobic base argument was a case of misinformation, based upon old poorly designed research, it's been disproven. Anaerobic athletes will develop the Aerobic recovery requirements they need from recovering from their anearobic training, not from going and training their aerobic energy system. Put simply, one of the tests for NFL players is a 100kg bench press for repetitions. This requires the fast twitch muscle fibres to have huge levels of endurance, however they would not be trained by hitting low weight, high reps in training, you'd improve slow twitch with that, which would not improve your score on the test. They train to get strong, the record holder who hit 49reps this summer has a max bench of approx 260kg, this means that the 100kg used in testing is under 40% of his maximum effort, therefore he can repeat that effort alot. If his max bench was only 120kg, he would only be able to hit 5-6reps probably, because of the enery demands of performing each rep being at a higher percentage of his max! Fencers need to get stronger, make their fast twitch fibres more effective and therefore be able to repeat efforts longer and faster without fatiguing. Hitting aerobic training will make you able to fence slowly for a long time, i.e. a rubbish fencer.


I think that the absence of fencing specific actions in either running or lifting, although potentially adding something, is less than ideal. I think that it is the amount of fencing and development fencing specific actions that make the difference.

I don't really understand these sentences sorry, especially the "potentially adding something, is less than ideal". Also don't understand the "absence of fencing specific actions in...lifting" Lunges, split lifts, squats, plyometric progressions all closely mimic fencing actions, especially as you become more advanced, which i will go into later.


For most fencers that simply means more fencing. For those lucky enough to be having lessons and a couple of hours quality bouts most days, then there are some personal specific questions to be asked about what a conditioning programme is for and perhaps even what type of fencer you are/want to be. Think about the physical difference and fencing difference between say, Tim Morehouse (plenty of conditioning videos of him on youtube) and Yakimenko (completely different physical presence and movement). I can't find any advice that suggests an adequate stamina base is not the foundation on which to build strength and speed and which is geared to strengthening weak areas, maintaining strong areas, preparing for higher fencing loading and avoiding injury.

I've already covered the aerobic base, it's a myth. I've seen the videos of Tim Moorehouse training, and i know who his trainer is, the foundation of his program is the same as the program i've outlined above and the program we have put into place with the Academy. I haven't however seen Yakimenko videos, or been made aware of him as a fencer so cannot comment sorry. As for needing fencing time inorder to properly condition in the framework i have mentioned above, i wholeheartedly agree. Our top guys need to be fencing a lot in order to build that conditioning, to try and do it any other way is going to be slower and less productive. When you don't have this ability with lessons, you can do self directed footwork sessions or skipping as a last resort. Think about your sport, how long does each POINT last. Not each round, or each match, each point. This is the length of time you need to be conditioned for. Then you work to improve your ability to recover between points. This comes from repetiton and progression.



The context of fencing seem to be almost completely absent from the exercises suggested above.

This baffles me entirely. Fencers are human beings, like rugby players, swimmers, sprinters, footballers and so on and so forth. I have provided a program base for someone with a low to intermediate level of training history to enable them to be a better athlete, the context of fencing comes from FENCING. I do not get my rugby players to lift in boots on a rugby pitch, the gym is for getting strong and injury resistant. Sport specificity in this context has been misunderstood and misrepresented by the general media. We all need to be strong off 2 legs and off 1 leg (both sides), we all need to be able to push properly and we all need to be able to pull properly and finally we need to be able to stabilise our core in a stable and dynamic environment. That program covers all of those. The allowence i made for fencers was the inclusion of eccentric hamstring work due to the high prevelance of hamstring tears in the sport and quad dominant nature of the athletes.


The following seems to me reflective of the sort of conditioning that is more fencing specific.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DmRQZDbxh4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Initially i wanted to be hypercritical of this video, especially after watching the first 40seconds which seems to be exactly the sort of non-fencing specifc training you discussed earlier. However it gets better from there. The good points first;

- their are fencing specific movements in there that start off reasonably plyometric.
- There's some explosive upperbody work there (although its pressing, it would be better for fencers as pulling as developing these muscles increase power in the front)
-Theres some core stabilization going on with the dishes
-There's some eccentric loading of the lunge pattern on the up onto the beam, fencers get a lot of this already on their lead leg but it is good to see them doing it with both.
-and i guess there's some hand eye co-ordination stuff with the med/swiss ball passes... i guess!

Now the less than positive stuff;

- There is a lot of 'enterainment' going on here, using beams and parralel bars and swiss balls all seams like fun, however it certainly isn't effective!!! When someone comes to me for training i give them effective routines that get the job done, if they want to be entertained they can watch a film afterwards.
-Many of the plyometric exercises are actually advanced obscure progressions of what the academy are doing and what i use in my own coaching, however they are WAY too advanced for these athletes. Technique is poor and results in it being dangerous. Depth jumps for instance, seen at 1.02 are a very advanced plyo exercise. You should remain stiff on landing and explode off from that position using the elastic energy built in you muscles and tendons upon landing, not crumpling into a pile like these guys. Thats your bodies way of protecting itself and stopping from getting injured. Jumps should start low and be built slowly depending on the athletes ability. To do anything else is the earmark of a very poorly read S&C coach.
-the parallel bars, going over-under with the med-ball pass is ridiculous. Circus tricks like this don't replicate whats happening in fencing or any other sport other than gymnastics. I can't emphasis this enough, get on your feet and train there, not moving around on your hands with your feet in the air. power is produced through the ground and your arms are there to support a light sword and be dextrous and precise with the tip of the blade, train them this way.
- the core stuff being done at 2.55 is ok, but obviously not being coached, hence the execution is poor. That athletes are flopping around like seals, they should be stiff and strong through the midsection, controlling their hips and spines.
- Just after this, the medball pass to run stuff i guess is conditioning...? There's no relevance here, however it would work excellently for netballers.
-The swiss ball throws at 3.50 are absurd and achieve nothign but poor squat patterning, hyperextension of the back and neck and the athlete getting entertained for a further couple of minutes.
-After that the swiss/med ball passes, although maybe training some hand eye co-ordination as mentioned earlier, it has the athletes in a static position, training even more pushing patterns which aren't done in fencing. Might be fun though!?!?

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 12:56
All in all the video looks like a way of the kids 'having some fun' whilst on camp. Sometimes thats needed, however you have a finite amount of energy and time for training and recovery each week, i personally as a coach do not intend on recomending my athletes use up precious energy and time with this, lets be more critical of our methods and productive with our resources. Improve your athletisism and strength in the gym and then fence to get fit. If you don't have lesson time, clear your living room and hit 2-4-2 repeats over time.

I'm more than open to debate and critiscism however we also need to know what we are looking at when watching videos of training without the sufficient physiology knowledge base to understand what we are seeing. Just because it looks interesting or fun, doesn't mean it is effective and safe. If you want the S&C stuff to link with the fencing training more i highly recomend you talk to Phil Shepherd-Foster of |Elite Sabre Coaching. I've worked with him all year and he has come back to me with his own ideas and exercises that are extremely effective. Combining plyo exercises with fencing positions as well as a fencing specific conditioning protocol very similar to what i described above that the Polish team were using years ago!

As always, any questions based off what i put down here, let me know,

Rhys

coach carson
-25th August 2011, 13:29
Yup, as I say, I'm more than aware that I'm sticking my neck on the line here. I wasn't advocating stamina training over strength, I just think it unhelpful rather than understanding the fencer and where they want to get to and working to get them there. I guess I'm just confused that all the best clubs in the world, use the agility/fencing training rather than pure strength. I re-watched the video and can see relevance to fencing in all the exercises. And the Italians seem to know what they are talking about based on results. From a coaches perspective, the delivery of the hit is in the context of distance and speed of action. Speed of action is a function of explosive strength, but the real difference is usually size of the action. I think my comparison of Morehouse and Yakimenko suggests the qualitative difference between strength and control of distance and size of action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDMa6wmEkd4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Cyrano5
-25th August 2011, 14:03
Without putting words in his mouth, I think that is what Rhys is refering to on the fencing part of the training regime.. the strength side is just half of the equation. If you google / youtube the top Italian fencers (epeeists) it would appear they do plenty of strength training as Rhys discusses. However cleary CC they obviously need to do the items you discuss too. I don't think it is either or. All I can say from my own personal experience is that strength training combined with plenty of fencing has made a significant difference. Particularly on the injury prevention side.. which of course allows me to do more fencing..

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 14:25
Without putting words in his mouth, I think that is what Rhys is refering to on the fencing part of the training regime.. the strength side is just half of the equation. If you google / youtube the top Italian fencers (epeeists) it would appear they do plenty of strength training as Rhys discusses. However cleary CC they obviously need to do the items you discuss too. I don't think it is either or. All I can say from my own personal experience is that strength training combined with plenty of fencing has made a significant difference. Particularly on the injury prevention side.. which of course allows me to do more fencing..

Fresh back from running a conditioning session and feeling slightly more energised that is exactly what i'm getting at.

Have your goal and focus on it, tryring to blend goals and serve every mistress only results in failure to achieve those goals. I have seen videos of the Italian fencers doing extremely high level plyometrics that were very good. I agree with the principle of much of what is seen here, however the execution is heavily flawed and i would caution against watching this and copying what you see. It is also not a program, it is a snapshot of a session and based off of this you can only make assumptions of what the coach is like, what his goals are, what level the athletes are at, the resources available, etc etc. I have provided a PROGRAM above which can be followed and then refined as you beocme more intune with your body and requirements. Try it and come back and tell me if your speed and resilience have improved. I have no doubt what the answer will be!

Rhys

Cyrano5
-25th August 2011, 14:29
Was not suggesting trying it.. just pointing out it demonstrated that they took strength training seriously..

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 14:35
Yup, as I say, I'm more than aware that I'm sticking my neck on the line here. I wasn't advocating stamina training over strength, I just think it unhelpful rather than understanding the fencer and where they want to get to and working to get them there. I guess I'm just confused that all the best clubs in the world, use the agility/fencing training rather than pure strength. I re-watched the video and can see relevance to fencing in all the exercises. And the Italians seem to know what they are talking about based on results. From a coaches perspective, the delivery of the hit is in the context of distance and speed of action. Speed of action is a function of explosive strength, but the real difference is usually size of the action. I think my comparison of Morehouse and Yakimenko suggests the qualitative difference between strength and control of distance and size of action.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NDMa6wmEkd4&feature=youtube_gdata_player

I think what you are getting at is the idea of establishing the goals of the fencer and designing a fencing program from there. If you read the whole thread you can see that i did ask for goals and discussed some changes i would make based on if the goals are slightly different, but what i provided here was a gym based training program that a fencer can use to improve his ability to fence for the sake of the Forum and its readers. if someone wants me to write a program for them specifically with their specfic goals in mind i am willing to provide that service however it costs money. This is my job, how i earn my living and i can't afford to give more free advice to this than i am. The academy does not pay me to be there either, hence me working long hours now to make up the missed work time that week.

As Cyrano said, Strength training is part of the equation, fencing training another and rest is the final part. The sort of agility training i believe you are advocating sounds more like a fencing specific footwork session to me than an S&C session, and in the same way that i wouldn't expect a fencing coach to tell me how to run an S&C session i wouldn't want to impose my own limited knowledge onto a fencing footwork or technique session. i have observed hundreds of hours of training in the sport, had some lessons myself and spent a huge amount of time talking with coaches on here and in person, i believe this makes me more than capable of identifying the key movement principles of the sport and what physiologically needs to be trained, however it does not qualify me to tell someone to attack when i say, or how to stand on guard or what tactics to use in a match. This is especially evident when you discuss the "size of the action" rather than the "speed of action". I am completely concerned with the speed of action, fencing coaches can refine that into an effective movement. hopefully this clears it up!

Rhys

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 14:38
Was not suggesting trying it.. just pointing out it demonstrated that they took strength training seriously..

Yeh yeh, sorry, thats not directed at you, just random thoughts coming out of my head in what i'm hoping is a coherent manner. Even if they're not always in the correct order! lol

Cyrano5
-25th August 2011, 14:48
no worries, I am a believer..

coach carson
-25th August 2011, 15:02
Yup, we probably are talking about the same thing, I'm coming from the coaching end of the spectrum. I'm not a sport scientist so can't quote fact, but I can reference what works well. I want increased mobility, agility and flexibility in my fencer so that they can primarily control distance and execute both long, slow and powerful preparations, attacks and defences as well as short, small, fast well-timed actions in the context of what the opponent is trying to do. Now if I was working with a gymnast, I would approach that differently to working with a boxer. Fencers start from different places in terms of body shape, power/weight etc. and of course there are many coaching and fencing styles. So when I hear of 2-4-2 drills I think, fine, but what is that actually measuring. You can do the drill quicker by taking fewer (ie longer) steps, but if you actually did that in the 4m zone you would get clobbered! For me all training needs to be fencer specific and fencing specific.

coach carson
-25th August 2011, 15:13
[QUOTE=S&C Guy;252308]I think what you are getting at is the idea of establishing the goals of the fencer and designing a fencing program from there. If you read the whole thread you can see that i did ask for goals and discussed some changes i would make based on if the goals are slightly different, but what i provided here was a gym based training program that a fencer can use to improve his ability to fence for the sake of the Forum and its readers. if someone wants me to write a program for them specifically with their specfic goals in mind i am willing to provide that service however it costs money. This is my job, how i earn my living and i can't afford to give more free advice to this than i am. The academy does not pay me to be there either, hence me working long hours now to make up the missed work time that week.

As Cyrano said, Strength training is part of the equation, fencing training another and rest is the final part. The sort of agility training i believe you are advocating sounds more like a fencing specific footwork session to me than an S&C session, and in the same way that i wouldn't expect a fencing coach to tell me how to run an S&C session i wouldn't want to impose my own limited knowledge onto a fencing footwork or technique session. i have observed hundreds of hours of training in the sport, had some lessons myself and spent a huge amount of time talking with coaches on here and in person, i believe this makes me more than capable of identifying the key movement principles of the sport and what physiologically needs to be trained, however it does not qualify me to tell someone to attack when i say, or how to stand on guard or what tactics to use in a match. This is especially evident when you discuss the "size of the action" rather than the "speed of action". I am completely concerned with the speed of action, fencing coaches can refine that into an effective movement. hopefully this clears it up!

Rhys[/

In fencing, distance beats speed every time!

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 17:18
Yup, we probably are talking about the same thing, I'm coming from the coaching end of the spectrum. I'm not a sport scientist so can't quote fact, but I can reference what works well. I want increased mobility, agility and flexibility in my fencer so that they can primarily control distance and execute both long, slow and powerful preparations, attacks and defences as well as short, small, fast well-timed actions in the context of what the opponent is trying to do. Now if I was working with a gymnast, I would approach that differently to working with a boxer. Fencers start from different places in terms of body shape, power/weight etc. and of course there are many coaching and fencing styles. So when I hear of 2-4-2 drills I think, fine, but what is that actually measuring. You can do the drill quicker by taking fewer (ie longer) steps, but if you actually did that in the 4m zone you would get clobbered! For me all training needs to be fencer specific and fencing specific.

The things you list you are looking for as a coach from a physical stand point are all the things that weight training effects. Weightlifters regularly score just behind gymanasts in mobility testing, agility is about strength to slow movement in one direction and accelerate in another along with technique to do it efficiently (as mentioned earlier despite us training certain elements of efficiency in agility exercises such as side shuffling and jumping drills on the Academy structure, the fencing specific agility would get covered in their footwork sessions), and regarding your second comment about speed and distance, i agree, i have found this when i have fenced myself, however again, distance is a technical/tactical element in fencing. I can't effect it by teaching the fencer to Snatch a certain distance from something. All i train is the fencers ability to cover that distance should they need it, or keep the distance should they need to.

As for the idea about blasting a 2-4-2 drill with long steps i think you should come to one of test days and watch the athletes who score best on that drill. Its not the people who take long steps its those who take short steps. The same is true when sprinting. Just today i have been doing my new girls first ever speed session, dispelling the myth that to accelerate you take long steps. In reality short steps in the first 5-10m or so are best. If you step too far in a sprint your foot gets in front of your centre of gravity and it slows you down, before you are able to get it behind the COG again and start pushing yourself forward again. On the 2-4-2, long foot steps mean the same thing, with the added issue of changing direction being extremely difficult if you lose posture and spreading your feet too far apart making them inefficient at producing force and the effort required to decelerate/accelerate that much greater. People try and cheat the tests in all sorts of way however when we run them they always have a fencing coach observing (not just us S&C coaches) to ensure legal footwork is used, and when long footsteps are used the changes of direction become much much slower. Trust me if you had seen me coaching the lunge patterns at the Academy camp this year you would have heard me repeatedly stressing the importance of each athlete finding their optimal lunge distance and if they lunge too far showing how they lose posture and subsequently lose a point.

Rhys

coach carson
-25th August 2011, 18:49
I'd have to see it to understand it. Over 2m I can do 20 steps or 2 steps. I know which one is quicker. But not necessarily better.

S&C Guy
-25th August 2011, 19:24
I'd have to see it to understand it. Over 2m I can do 20 steps or 2 steps. I know which one is quicker. But not necessarily better.

Well I would suggest 20 steps is an extreme end and this whole discussion might be more productive if we compare 2 with 4 steps. Plus I would suggest it is the 4m straight where the time is made. Usain bolt for instance ran the 100m in 47steps in the world champs, 7 of those were in the first 10m, therefore for each subsequent 10m's ran he took approx 4.4 steps. From this you can see how someone takes many more steps during acceleration than during more 'top end running' (Bolt was still accelerating past 10m but the first 10 is the most important part of the race. Same with fencers doing the 2-4-2. The athlete who stays balanced, takes sensible length foot steps over the distance will achieve the fastest time. So far I have been present for approx 750 of these tests at various training camps around the country and enabling me to form a pretty reasonable opinion on this. Attempting 2 and 4m jumps for the test will not score you well, similarly taking centrepede like footsteps over the distance will also not result in a satisfactory time. I've seen fencers try every different method possible to improve their time, and eventually they end up doing it in the usual footwork patterns with sensibly short but fast footwork, exactly as they do on the piste between attacks. It's used in competition for a reason, it's fast.

LifeBeginsAt58
-26th August 2011, 01:40
An interesting thread. I liked your analysis of Hussein Bolts step v distance travelled apportionment. Got me thinking, rightly or wrongly.
For Mr B, the focus of attention is that of straight line acceleration. Certainly for the hundred metres and slightly less for the 200m.
Isaac Newton told us that acceleration=(change of velocity)/(time taken for that change) but as velocity is a vector (i.e. direction as well as speed is an issue) then change of movement at right angles to the piste needs consideration.
Long movements toward the opponent will cut down the time to hit, or not, and thus test the reaction of one's adversary but keeping them guessing and turning some of the longitudinal forces into lateral ones may be advantageous.
For that reason. I would plump for Rhys's many short but forceful steps scenario!
I expect to be corrected.

LifeBeginsAt58
-26th August 2011, 01:46
If I may be allowed to possibly clarify my thoughts. Distance and timing are frequently quoted as positive parameters in Fencing. I'd like to expand that to Distance, Timing and movement Angle/orientation as being a more complete requirement

Cyrano5
-26th August 2011, 09:32
On the distance beats strength every time subject... agreed.. however I bet the stronger more agile types are more often at the correct distance..?

coach carson
-26th August 2011, 13:04
If I may be allowed to possibly clarify my thoughts. Distance and timing are frequently quoted as positive parameters in Fencing. I'd like to expand that to Distance, Timing and movement Angle/orientation as being a more complete requirement

I think of it as distance x speed of action = timing. And yes, totally agree, that is operating in a highly agile, mobile state and in the context of what your opponent is trying to achieve. Simply put from a coaching perspective, if the timing is right, by definition the distance and speed of execution (including size of action) is right.

coach carson
-26th August 2011, 13:08
On the distance beats strength every time subject... agreed.. however I bet the stronger more agile types are more often at the correct distance..?

Distance beats speed. Strength is a factor in both.

coach carson
-26th August 2011, 13:38
The things you list you are looking for as a coach from a physical stand point are all the things that weight training effects. Weightlifters regularly score just behind gymanasts in mobility testing, agility is about strength to slow movement in one direction and accelerate in another along with technique to do it efficiently (as mentioned earlier despite us training certain elements of efficiency in agility exercises such as side shuffling and jumping drills on the Academy structure, the fencing specific agility would get covered in their footwork sessions), and regarding your second comment about speed and distance, i agree, i have found this when i have fenced myself, however again, distance is a technical/tactical element in fencing. I can't effect it by teaching the fencer to Snatch a certain distance from something. All i train is the fencers ability to cover that distance should they need it, or keep the distance should they need to.

As for the idea about blasting a 2-4-2 drill with long steps i think you should come to one of test days and watch the athletes who score best on that drill. Its not the people who take long steps its those who take short steps. The same is true when sprinting. Just today i have been doing my new girls first ever speed session, dispelling the myth that to accelerate you take long steps. In reality short steps in the first 5-10m or so are best. If you step too far in a sprint your foot gets in front of your centre of gravity and it slows you down, before you are able to get it behind the COG again and start pushing yourself forward again. On the 2-4-2, long foot steps mean the same thing, with the added issue of changing direction being extremely difficult if you lose posture and spreading your feet too far apart making them inefficient at producing force and the effort required to decelerate/accelerate that much greater. People try and cheat the tests in all sorts of way however when we run them they always have a fencing coach observing (not just us S&C coaches) to ensure legal footwork is used, and when long footsteps are used the changes of direction become much much slower. Trust me if you had seen me coaching the lunge patterns at the Academy camp this year you would have heard me repeatedly stressing the importance of each athlete finding their optimal lunge distance and if they lunge too far showing how they lose posture and subsequently lose a point.

Rhys


Other than sabre not being able to cross feet going forward, what is illegal footwork? Taking longer steps isn't cheating! When a fencer takes a step forward they can choose how far to push the front foot forward and where to put their back foot down - ie either very short back foot movement if the opponent is closing distance or right up on to the front foot if the opponent is moving out of distance. Running times are a function of stride length and strike rate and fencing steps are no different in that sense. Ussain Bolt takes an average 41 strides over 100m against the average sub 10 sec sprinter who takes 44 strides. Longer strides at the same strike rate are faster than smaller steps. Step length is so strongly related to height and therefore determines how a fencer manages the distance/speed challenges relative to what their opponent is doing. I can see real value in the 2-4-2 test in measuring the improved speed of an individual fencer and progress over time, but was simply asking about the fencing context in which the test was being carried out.

coach carson
-26th August 2011, 14:30
http://www.fencing.net/3230/weight-training-for-the-competitive-fencer/

rpryer
-26th August 2011, 15:07
Other than sabre not being able to cross feet going forward, what is illegal footwork?

In the context of a 2-4-2 test, legal footwork is conventional, good quality, footwork - rather than sacrificing technique for speed.

coach carson
-26th August 2011, 20:31
Based on "conventional" standard, the worst footwork session I ever saw was Rebecca Ward in the year she was cadet, junior and senior World Champion. An unintended consequence of convention is not allowing for innovation, game changers and outlier. Let me ask this, in a "conventional" world do your fencers move their front foot or back foot first? Do your fencers accelerate preparations or decelerate to draw the error that leads to the correct choice reaction to finish the attack. Is it long or short, fast or slow. Are they nimble or dominant in reaction time distance. And why? Are you you developing creators or destroyers? Active (threatening inside distance) or passive ((creating space for opponent error) fencers? Either way (all of the above are effective in different systems), excellence needs a little more than convention. Convention = mediocrity. Is 2-4-2 a measure of of the degree to which fencers can operate conventionally? I maintain my point that if there isn't a fencer and fencing specific reason for doing an activity, it is not adding full value.

Cyrano5
-27th August 2011, 14:24
but strength helps with so much.. so if an action improves strength then that can't be a bad thing... but then maybe that relates to your point about actions being fencer specific..

coach carson
-29th August 2011, 14:14
but strength helps with so much.. so if an action improves strength then that can't be a bad thing... but then maybe that relates to your point about actions being fencer specific..

Just remember it is about fencing being augmented by strength training and not strength training producing great fencers. There is a difference. Here is an extract from an interesting article that touches on my point.


STRENGTH TRAINING FOR SPEED DEVELOPMENT
By:
Harry Marra, Former US National Decathlon Team Coach

There is no question about it! The stronger you are the faster you will be able to run. It's as simple as that!! Does that mean that the strongest man in the world can be the fastest man in the world? Let's take a closer look at strength training for speed improvement.

Physics tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Transferring this concept to sprinting simply means that the more force we apply to the ground as we put our foot down in a running motion, the more force will be returned to us in the form of energy to propel us down the track or playing field. However, if we loose sight of the fact that we need to develop our sprint technique and overall flexibility, then the strength we gain in the weight room will be for naught. It is therefore important to include these latter aspects into your entire strength training programs. As an athlete, you are always in the weight room as a means to an end. Weight training as an athlete is NOT an end all in itself. Too often, many athletes listen to the local "Gym Rat" and get off the track on their lifting program. This usually has disastrous effects on their season and performance.

Performance enhanced strength training, especially in the off-season, is the initial basis for improved performance in the next season. By getting stronger, we are able to work longer and harder in developing our skills in practice. It can help us to create more power (speed X's time) in each of our sprint / running strokes and therefore increase our speed output. And we can actually improve our flexibility, which is so critical to mastery of technique. In addition, flexibility is an insurance package against sustaining a possible injury.

There are a variety of ways to go about getting stronger as an athlete as you set up your weight-training program. Always refer to two principles though...Specificity of Training and Overload. Both of these will have a direct bearing on your desired outcomes. It is not the purpose of this article to go into a long discourse on strength training. However, it is important to understand that you don't just lift without a plan. Below I will outline a very basic strength-training plan for speed development. It is a foundation. It can be easily modified as to age, strength levels, time available to train, etc.

The ability to recruit all of the muscles that you need to perform a skill is the foundation of what technique is all about. Hence, in sprinting, strength from the top of the head to the tips of the toes is important to develop and be able to use functionally. Therefore, a tremendous amount of work needs to be done on the upper body, the lower body and the mid torso / abs region.

S&C Guy
-29th August 2011, 16:09
Other than sabre not being able to cross feet going forward, what is illegal footwork? Taking longer steps isn't cheating! When a fencer takes a step forward they can choose how far to push the front foot forward and where to put their back foot down - ie either very short back foot movement if the opponent is closing distance or right up on to the front foot if the opponent is moving out of distance. Running times are a function of stride length and strike rate and fencing steps are no different in that sense. Ussain Bolt takes an average 41 strides over 100m against the average sub 10 sec sprinter who takes 44 strides. Longer strides at the same strike rate are faster than smaller steps. Step length is so strongly related to height and therefore determines how a fencer manages the distance/speed challenges relative to what their opponent is doing. I can see real value in the 2-4-2 test in measuring the improved speed of an individual fencer and progress over time, but was simply asking about the fencing context in which the test was being carried out.


Ok This is starting to go in circles and my time is precious so i hope we can put this to bed soon. The fact that Usain runs the 100 in 41 strides, less than others slower than him, is really here nor there when refering to the 2-4-2. The 2-4-2 is an AGILITY TEST not SPEED! This is why i discussed the difference in Bolts stride rate over the first 10m compared to the next 90m. Its what happens during acceleration that is interesting to a coach when you are concerned with agility. As i said previously, agility is about the ability of someone to decelerate and then accelerate. Deceleration if done safely and efficiently (ie not using too much energy) is done by lowering the centre of gravity and decreasing stride length. Acceleration is done best when the foot does not go in front of the centre of gravity and then puts large amount of force into the ground with horizontal vectors. The foot landing under/behind the COG means more footsteps need to be taken over the first few metres. Doing a 2-4-2 drill with long footsteps is tiring, and slow, end of story, thats just the way it is. You need to have fast feet, shorter steps (length is dependent on limb length/athletes strength/etc) and you need to be strong enough to control eccentric musclular contractions during decel. and to break inertia and get your body mass moving in the other direction.

If you still don't believe me, send your fencers to get tested using metre long lunges and we will see how they fare, they may struggle though.

Rhys

S&C Guy
-29th August 2011, 16:29
Just remember it is about fencing being augmented by strength training and not strength training producing great fencers. There is a difference. Here is an extract from an interesting article that touches on my point.


STRENGTH TRAINING FOR SPEED DEVELOPMENT
By:
Harry Marra, Former US National Decathlon Team Coach

There is no question about it! The stronger you are the faster you will be able to run. It's as simple as that!! Does that mean that the strongest man in the world can be the fastest man in the world? Let's take a closer look at strength training for speed improvement.

Physics tells us that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Transferring this concept to sprinting simply means that the more force we apply to the ground as we put our foot down in a running motion, the more force will be returned to us in the form of energy to propel us down the track or playing field. However, if we loose sight of the fact that we need to develop our sprint technique and overall flexibility, then the strength we gain in the weight room will be for naught. It is therefore important to include these latter aspects into your entire strength training programs. As an athlete, you are always in the weight room as a means to an end. Weight training as an athlete is NOT an end all in itself. Too often, many athletes listen to the local "Gym Rat" and get off the track on their lifting program. This usually has disastrous effects on their season and performance.

Performance enhanced strength training, especially in the off-season, is the initial basis for improved performance in the next season. By getting stronger, we are able to work longer and harder in developing our skills in practice. It can help us to create more power (speed X's time) in each of our sprint / running strokes and therefore increase our speed output. And we can actually improve our flexibility, which is so critical to mastery of technique. In addition, flexibility is an insurance package against sustaining a possible injury.

There are a variety of ways to go about getting stronger as an athlete as you set up your weight-training program. Always refer to two principles though...Specificity of Training and Overload. Both of these will have a direct bearing on your desired outcomes. It is not the purpose of this article to go into a long discourse on strength training. However, it is important to understand that you don't just lift without a plan. Below I will outline a very basic strength-training plan for speed development. It is a foundation. It can be easily modified as to age, strength levels, time available to train, etc.

The ability to recruit all of the muscles that you need to perform a skill is the foundation of what technique is all about. Hence, in sprinting, strength from the top of the head to the tips of the toes is important to develop and be able to use functionally. Therefore, a tremendous amount of work needs to be done on the upper body, the lower body and the mid torso / abs region.

Again i really don't know what you mean by this post, am i being referred to as "The local gym rat", because if so i suggest we agree to disagree and leave it there. This conversation has obviously been a waste of time. If that is not what you mean to do fine, but i suggest you are more careful about the articles you cite!

As for the original statement let me say this, i was asked for a gym program for a intermediate fencer to improve athletic performance, that was provided within the restrictions the original poster mentioned, along with the fact that i am not there to coach or demonstrate any of these exercises. Hence my suggestion they find someone to coach them on that, also my suggestion that the rest of their time is spent fencing so they have a technical coach with them for most of their training time. Programs performed by my athletes in my day to day job have hundreds of different facets to them, that are athlete dependent. Whats their injury history, what have they done this week, how much sleep have they got, what equipment is available, what are their test scores, and so on. I have no intention to go into each of these with someone on a forum who has come for some general advice, it would be a waste of both our time.

As for the strength versus technique training.... well obviously. I haven't recomended to any of my powerlifting/olympic lifting friends that they take up fencing, or sprinting for that matter. Again there are hundreds of different things that go into making a good fencer, strength and power are just one of those things. However as i have said here too many times, i am a strength & conditioning coach, therefore i will continue to concern myself with the strength & conditioning of my athletes, i have no intention of teaching them fencing technique at any point in the future. I appreciate the technique, and it influences my exercise selection and my understanding of what fencers need to work on, however there is a line there that i do not cross. Funnily enough, despite playing and coaching rugby to a high level for many many years, i don't spend my S&C sessions talking to them about scrummaging or passing either, they have a rugby coach for that.

Once again, as i have said so many times on various threads here on the forum. I answer questions here to give my educated and experienced opinion on S&C related topics. I strongly suggest people take the advice as i am 100% sure that it will help their performance in the sport they love, however if someone doesn't want to try anything i suggest thats fine. I'm not going to force anyone to do anything, however those that do try it, i will continue to answer questions as and when they come up. I have already been contacted by many people on here at all levels, that have followed the advice and seen tremendous improvements in their on-piste performance, and this is THE most important thing.

Rhys

coach carson
-29th August 2011, 19:18
Wow! That was a reply to Cyranno and sorry you took offence. We will have to agree to disagree, but I look forward to seeing the test more closely.

Foilling Around
-29th August 2011, 20:10
Rhys and Phil, from what I am reading you are not disagreeing with each other!

Both of you are saying that strength training is important but it must be in proportion and it must be sport specific. So why are you arguing.

During the summer Academy week I did the timings for about 110 fencers on the 2-4-2 and I can certainly say that the faster fencers (sub 7 secs for men and sub 8 secs for girls) were determined mostly by their ability to change direction and accelerate.

These are very fencing specific attributes.

There is variation allowed in how the footwork is performed and as long as it is recogniable as fencing footwork it is OK. If yo take massive galloping steps you will not be able to change direction. If you are too controlled you will not have the speed. So each fencer finds their own particular balance of the two.

The better your leg strength and control the better you can change direction by absobing your body weight and pushing off.

We did video work with all of the Academy foilists during the week and I did a little experiement whilst I was reviewing their footwork on video. I looked at their ability to change direction under pressure during the lesson and had a guess at their 2-4-2 time. I would say that I got it within half a second either way 80% of the time.

Phil, all the way through this S&C process I have asked the guys the question "And how does this help improve the fencing". So far I have always got the right answers. I have also tried to get the message to the fencers, stressing all the time that this will not make you a goot fencer. It will however allow you to use you technique and tactics better and for longer.

coach carson
-29th August 2011, 21:32
So it's not a speed test, it's an agility test. Well that makes sense so long as times are being used to measure improvement in a fencer over time and not between fencers. Yes?

allthree
-30th August 2011, 10:59
Could I ask why 2-4-2 was originally chosen, was it because of convienient lines or are there advantages over for example 7-5-7?

hokers
-30th August 2011, 12:01
So it's not a speed test, it's an agility test. Well that makes sense so long as times are being used to measure improvement in a fencer over time and not between fencers. Yes?

The race is long, but in the end it's only with yourself.

Except in fencing, when it's with the other guy as well.

coach carson
-31st August 2011, 14:05
Could I ask why 2-4-2 was originally chosen, was it because of convienient lines or are there advantages over for example 7-5-7?


I think that is the next point. Once we've established that the exercise is fencer specific, we then have to think about the fencing specific element. That would be different dependent on the weapon, the scenario being prepared for and the position on the piste. For sabre for example, the ability to control the enguarde situation, develop a fast attack, then defend and finish with a composed riposte might look like 0.5 - 7 - 4

There is no doubt in my mind though that 2-4-2 is a very useful test, I just think people should be aware of why they are doing it, what it is testing and how it should be measured. Also the need for quality surely is paramount. Feedback to me from both TASS and Academy is that there is some very bizarre technique being used where fencers are completing the test very quickly but probably unable to deliver a hit at any point of the activity.

coach carson
-31st August 2011, 14:06
The race is long, but in the end it's only with yourself.

Except in fencing, when it's with the other guy as well.


A sabreur AND a gentleman poet. How refreshing!

allthree
-31st August 2011, 15:23
I'd agree totally, as I asked why (and by who) 2-4-2 originally?

Foilling Around
-31st August 2011, 15:54
Ok, these are my personal opinions based on me asking these same questions when I first saw Catriona doing it at the TASS camps some years ago and thinking "what the hell is that for, the footwork is cr*p!"

First of all 2-4-2 is convenient as it work well both on a fencing piste and indeed between certain lines on a badminton court. Second those distances retain it as a speed/agility test. Something like 7-5-7 or even 5-7-5 would be more of an enduance test at that pace.

Secondly the fencers at the academy were aware of where they were with regard to the norm for their weapon age group and gender. They did not, as far as I know, know the scores for the other individual fencers. Progress of the individual over time was the stressed factor. In fact on the TASS camp we had 3 people recording each fencer's attempts. These were then correlated to find the kind of variation to be expected as recorder error. This will allow the S&C team to tell fencers what kind of improvement is likely to be real improvement and what might be within the bounds of measurement variation. I don't think there is any point in kidding ourselves that the fencers will compare themselves with each other anyway no matter what the adults say.

Thirdly, any exercise of this type is only going to be an approximation of the fencing actions. If we insist that they can make a stop cut to wrist at any point in this exercise then it would be impossible to administer. All I can say is that the better control they have at speed in this exercise then, in theory, they will be in control at higher cadences in an actual fight and therefore able to deliver hits at higher speeds then before. Obviously not at the same speed as the test, but at a higher speed than before.

Point: I timed a lot of the 2-4-2 in the summer and I would take issue with there being "bizarre technique". If there was, then I called halt and they started again. There was a variation in the footwork between Sabre and the other two weapons and that was noticable.

Gav
-1st September 2011, 11:17
Can someone explain what everyone is talking about when they mention 2-4-2 drill?

I've tried reading this thread and I admit I've gotten a bit lost.

ED_R
-1st September 2011, 11:32
http://www.britishfencing.com/uploads/files/national_academy_feedback_%26_key_messages,_oct_10 .pdf
Page 21 may help explain.

Gav
-1st September 2011, 11:39
Ah I see. Cheers for that.

S&C Guy
-1st September 2011, 11:41
Can someone explain what everyone is talking about when they mention 2-4-2 drill?

I've tried reading this thread and I admit I've gotten a bit lost.

The 2-4-2 is an agility drill where the fencer starts at the line in fencing stance, then travels forward 2m and back again, then forward 4m and back again and then back to the 2m line and back again. This should all be done in 'fencing footwork' (i.e. not running). At the 2 and 4m lines the front foot must touch the line, when going back to the start line both feet must go past the line. Currently the academy guys are averaging 7s for boys, 9s for girls. Obviously movement isn't textbook fencing footwork (in the same way that no test is identical to its sporting action, just a 'best representation' that is standardised across tests), however it is assessed by a fencing coach throughout with poor footwork leading to the test having to be repeated. This along with a Countermovement Jump have proven to be the most important tests for fencing performance so far.

Gav
-1st September 2011, 11:47
http://www.britishfencing.com/uploads/files/national_academy_feedback_%26_key_messages,_oct_10 .pdf
Page 21 may help explain.

I found that an interesting document to browse. I won't say read because it was really a power point presentation.

Big on bullet points - low on information. As a result I found some of the implied conclusions/stated assertions a little hard to agree with. It would be unfair to enumerate these without giving the rest of the data a proper look through. Does anyone know if there's going to be a more thorough report published?

S&C Guy
-1st September 2011, 11:55
I found that an interesting document to browse. I won't say read because it was really a power point presentation.

Big on bullet points - low on information. As a result I found some of the implied conclusions/stated assertions a little hard to agree with. It would be unfair to enumerate these without giving the rest of the data a proper look through. Does anyone know if there's going to be a more thorough report published?

I am 99% sure this is the report from last years Academy camp Gav, not the year just gone. If you wanted the data for the S&C stuff i'm sure i could get it to you (plus we have an article or two in the proccess of getting published at the moment. As for the rest of the stuff it is based off the answers given by the kids and parents on the questionaires.

Ash5
-11th November 2011, 09:32
It's interesting to read about your training programs. It makes it easier to compare it with my own and think about improvements in my training!
I agree with coach carson on the 2-4-2 test. And it's always good to know which parameter they use for the test and which way of evaluation they use.

hokers
-11th November 2011, 09:40
This along with a Countermovement Jump have proven to be the most important tests for fencing performance so far.

What's a Countermovement Jump?

rpryer
-11th November 2011, 11:44
It's a squat jump that doesn't have a pause at the bottom of the movement. This means that it uses the stretch-shortening cycle to increase the power generated.

mdnss69
-1st January 2012, 19:40
I'm surprised nobody mentioned any Olympic lifts. Power snatches and power cleans are great for explosive movement in both upper and lower body. They need to be taught correctly however

Matt Filroy
-16th July 2012, 23:54
Looks pretty solid to me. Make sure you have a good diet though...don't want all that work to go to waste.

jackabbott651
-24th September 2012, 01:58
I am Jack from UK, I like sports. And this thread gives me interest to join into the world of fencing. I wish i can be a good player someday.