1.11 What kind of cross-training will help my fencing?
The best training for fencing is fencing. Fencing development is
asymmetrical and few other sports use the same muscle groups, so
this is a difficult question whose answer depends largely on what
aspect of your training you really want to focus on.
Cardiovascular fitness and leg strength always help, so anything that
enhances these will be beneficial. Cycling, swimming, and aerobics
are good examples. Running, sprinting, soccer, basketball, and
similar sports can also be helpful, although some athletes dislike
the stresses they put on the knees. Racquet sports like tennis,
badminton, squash, racquetball, and table tennis are also excellent,
and will exercise your weapon arm in addition to your legs.
Many martial arts have physical and mental demands that are similar
to fencing, and can improve both your fitness and your intellectual
approach to the sport. Technique and tactics very rarely translate,
Weight training can help, if done properly, but the athlete must
remember that flexibility, speed, and technique are more important
than raw strength. Endurance training should have priority over
bodybuilding. Strength training can help, provided it doesn't
compromise flexibility. Most fencing weight-training programs
concentrate heavily on leg and lower-body development. Excessive
weight training of the arms and upper body can adversely affect point
control, according to some masters. According to them, weighted
wrist straps worn during regular practice are preferable.
Some fencers maintain that juggling improves reactions, hand-eye
coordination, and use of peripheral vision.
Many coaches and fencers suggest occasional fencing or workouts with
your opposite hand, both to improve skill and balance your muscular
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