Be The Best Prepared Fencer You Can Be!

 

I am Liam S. Grimley BSc. (Hons) GSR

Sport Rehabilitator and Trainer

 

I practice Sport Rehab which is essentially the use of physical medicine and exercise in injury treatment, injury prevention and performance enhancement.

 

Think of me as a training aid as well as the guy you call on when you have injury concerns. This information is intended to complement the good work of your coaches and you should feel happy to raise any questions with me or indeed your coach.

 

I have a wealth of knowledge and skills at mine and your disposal and will do everything in my power to help get the best out of you.

 

However, you are the person with the most influence when it comes to preparing yourself, both physically and mentally. You will find below a guide to some of the most important factors that you should consider in your preparation.

 

Flexibility:

 

Amongst the England and GB fencers I have met so far, the one aspect of conditioning that can be improved on the most is flexibility.

 

(Stretching after exercise is well practised amongst fencers, but cool-down stretches alone do not contribute significantly to increased flexibility).

 

You must value flexibility training as highly as any other fitness or skills training session.

Increased Flexibility will give you greater range on your lunge and increase the potency of many of your attacking moves.

I recommend that you complete at least two 15-20 minute flexibility workouts per week in order to improve your flexibility.

 

1.        Stretching for flexibility should always follow at least 5 minutes of cardiovascular warm-up to raise the body temperature and bring on a light sweat.

2.        Stretches should be taken to a tension bringing about mild discomfort of 8/10 on the analogue pain scale (see below)

3.        Stretches should be held for 30-40 seconds and repeated twice.

 

 

(Analogue pain scale)

 

 

Recovery:

 

Fact: you don’t get fit whilst in the gym, on the piste or down the track. Only when you stop training and allow the body and brain to recover do you adapt to the training load and become fitter.

 

You wouldn’t cut corners in training so don’t cut corners in your recovery!

 

The key is to get the basics right:

1)     Active recovery      2)  Nutrition       3)  Sleep

 

Active Recovery

 

Immediately after training:

 

·         Complete your usual post exercise cool down, involving light jogging, cross training or cycling for 5 minutes. This will promote the removal of waste products from your muscles.

·         Next, complete your static stretches for each of the key muscle groups you have been working. Particular attention should be paid to, quads (front thigh), hamstrings (rear thigh) calves (rear shin) both with a straight knee and also a bent knee, hip flexors (front of hip or pelvis), adductors (groin) and the glutes (buttocks).

·         Contrast hot and cold shower.

 

There is strong evidence supporting the use of hot & cold contrast showering for accelerated recovery.

 

What to do:

Immediately following your cool-down, stand under the shower to apply cold (10-16 degrees/ as cold as you can handle) for 1 minute then hot (35-37 degrees/as hot as you can handle) for 2 minutes and repeat 3-4 times always finishing with cold.

As you can imagine, the cold part of this method is not pleasant, but the benefits are well worth it:

 

1: You will ache less the next day.

2: You will recover rapidly and more thoroughly and gain increased benefit from training.

3: Increased recovery will allow you to feel fresher and train harder the following day.

 

The next step is to refuel your now hungry body:

 

There is a 45 minute window for optimal refueling.

 

Take on complex (starchy) carbs. and lean protein (fish, lean meat, soy or quorn).

 

The following is a guide for most athletes:

 

350 Calories (87.5 Cal from Protein and 262.5 Cal from Carbs.)

 

There are many performance supplements on the market that can really help, however always seek trained professional advice and consult your doctor before taking.

 

Rehydrate by drinking water, cordials and sports drinks. Avoid caffeine and alcohol following exercise. You need to replace the fluids lost during exercise and also be aware that carbohydrates and protein require plenty of additional fluids for their digestion.

 

Try weighing yourself before exercise to see how much weight you lose in fluids..!

 

You are the Élite:

 

elite or élite noun :

1. The best and most skilled members of a group, selected as the best; "an elect circle of artists"; distinguished by exceptional strength, courage, fortitude.

 

2. “There was much emphasis on the role of the elites and of the heroes within them” (Times Literary Supplement).”

 

Be The Best Prepared Fencer You Can Be!