Warmups And General Fitness

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Warmups And General Fitness

Postby DoctorAwesome » 08 Aug 2013 09:42

So, having started training very recently and also being of a very low level of physical fitness I am often finding myself feeling bruised and achey days after (very poor fitness) despite no actual contact taking place. The areas most affected seem to be thighs, calves and, for some reason, the ribs by my armpit.

Is this something I can expect to continue? are there any exercises I can do between sessions to help?

If there is any other advice the kind (and even unkind) members of this forum can offer please let it be known.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Phil C » 08 Aug 2013 11:53

Look up foam rollers and similar things you can do with lacrosse balls on Youtube for self-care between sessions.

I've found the latter very useful for sorting out the shoulder aches and imbalances that come from using a uni-lateral system of fencing.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Jonathan Waller » 08 Aug 2013 16:07

Also are you going through regime of general stretching everyday and also running through a form of the general movements of the style you practice? I would suggest doing that every day, preferably twice a day, between sessions. Along with other gentle general exercise which will start to recondition the body to movement and action and make the exertions of the training sessions less of a "shock".
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby DoctorAwesome » 08 Aug 2013 17:01

Thanks for the info.

The foam roll looks like a pretty good investment.

I live a pretty sedentary lifestyle (working behind a desk) so I don't really get a chance to exercise (although I am considering joining a gym soon for that purpose).
To add to my initial question, what would be the best equipment/ areas of body to work on?
Also, does anyone use those grip trainers and has anyone found them beneficial?

Apologies for vagueness, it has been a long day.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Dave Long » 08 Aug 2013 18:22

Have you been cooling down as well as warming up?

(Apparently cooling down is now considered old-fashioned. Perhaps it's more important to think in terms of staying warmed up than of cooling down; the experience which got me in the habit was from back in my Ultimate Frisbee days, noticing that when I stayed in motion, walking around during the halftime break, I felt noticeably better the next day than when I simply sat down until the next half)
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Jonathan Waller » 09 Aug 2013 07:08

Doing a series of movements, can be done in the morning and evening, or at lunch time, 10-15 minutes to run through a set/s do that every day you will notice a change. If you are only doing the moves in actual sessions you'll find everything slower to develop.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby The Salmon Lord » 09 Aug 2013 10:24

Very generally the two issues will be a general fitness and the specific muscles you are now using.
For fitness I suggest walking more often. I live 2 miles from work and walk most days rather than get the bus. I'm convinced it helps. It only adds 10 15 mins to the journey.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby admin » 09 Aug 2013 11:28

Aside from trying to do a bit more exercise, simply going to class will eventually make you fitter - at the very least your muscles will get used to the type of activity. Try to swing your weapon of choice around as often as possible.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby DoctorAwesome » 09 Aug 2013 12:24

admin wrote:Try to swing your weapon of choice around as often as possible.


Best advice ever!
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby The Salmon Lord » 09 Aug 2013 12:52

I tend to agree. Often the best excercise for doing sword fighting is fighting with a sword.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby admin » 09 Aug 2013 13:07

Yup.
Most people have fairly strong leg and back muscles, but quite feeble hands, forearms and deltoids. I try to swing a sword or a stick around as often as possible. For example, when I'm on the phone or watching TV.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Barca » 12 Aug 2013 03:46

Try coming up with some weapon based calisthenics that you can do every day (while using steel is obviously ideal, if it will cause issues where you live then using nylon or wood weapons is a fine compromise). Doesn’t have to be for long, 10 to 15 mins everyday is fine as long as you keep moving (even slowly) the whole time and try to avoid pausing, resting and standing around doing nothing. A routine can be as simple as going through all the guards, cuts, thrusts and combinations of your system of choice with footwork and full body commitment, right up to complex, multi-directional ‘flourishes’ that help you develop flow and chain techniques together with precision and fluidity.

You can do this at varying speeds, at a slow 'Taichi' pace which helps you work the movements deliberately and with grace and balance, and also at higher speeds to work on more explosive movement (good rule of thumb - start and end with slow work and keep any rapid movement in between while you are warmed up and well stretched). You can also vary the amount of body commitment you put into this, especially with cutting weapons (which I think work better for calisthenics), deliberately alternating exaggerated and ‘overlarge’ movements with smaller and tighter motions to vary the experience for your body.

If you are using two-handed weapons (longsword, two-hander, staff, spear etc) you should be able to exercise both sides of the body if you ensure you do everything from both sides. This can be assisted by changing the lead hand from time to time so that you don't develop specific problems from only ever having your dominant hand fore or aft. If you are using one handed weapons, it is even more useful to swap hands regularly and work the techniques from both sides. This has the advantage of helping develop the body somewhat symmetrically and also provides some useful ambidexterity should your dominant hand become injured during actual fencing.

If you have a pell and or other targets and objects you can incorporate, this is even better. Unfortunately, in my current place I have a very small backyard that isn’t big enough for sword work or the use of a pell, so it’s non-contact solo work in the street or in a local park for me. It also means, as noted above, I prefer to employ nylon or wooden simulators which are much less threatening for any casual observers rather than risk alarming my neighbours by swinging (blunt) steel in full public view.

Finally, in addition to this, getting regular exercise in other activities is a great idea as others have said. I try to walk 5km (or more) every morning before breakfast which I find is a great way to start the day (I used to run it, but my knees can’t take it anymore). Fencing specific movements shouldn’t be your only exercise. Walking, running, cycling, swimming, weights, yoga, stretching, other sports etc… doing these regularly improves your general fitness, speeds recovery and helps prevent injuries arising from over-specificity and asymmetrical development.

Then of course, there is your diet to consider as physical movement is only half the equation… ;)
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Angantyr » 12 Aug 2013 09:58

The most easy answer:
-Build your foundation first, then start to branch out.

Drink 1L of whole milk after each session. (Or chocolate milk, it is according to some top nutritionists the best recovery drink out there)
Get down in a gym and do the big four for six weeks:
squats - bench - deadlift - overhead press
and throw in some rows/pullups
After a while, do pullups while holding on to a gi-jacket or rope or other object that will make you use your grip.

And don't forget to rest.

That should by law help you out. Increase strenght, make your body more resistant and ready for more training.

Warmups and prehab are essential. Foam rolling and light stretching is the king here.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Phil C » 12 Aug 2013 10:13

The Salmon Lord wrote:I tend to agree. Often the best excercise for doing sword fighting is fighting with a sword.

Followed by playing badminton (it's even provenanced through St Didier).

It's physically corresponds directly to fencing in the same way that jockeys use ice-skating to maintain fitness when they can't ride cos the muscles used are the same.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Cutlery Penguin » 12 Aug 2013 16:40

Get some decent protein shakes. Take one after exercising. It won't help with the injuries, but it does reduce recovery time a little.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Gordon H » 12 Aug 2013 19:52

Dave Long wrote:Have you been cooling down as well as warming up?

(Apparently cooling down is now considered old-fashioned. Perhaps it's more important to think in terms of staying warmed up than of cooling down; the experience which got me in the habit was from back in my Ultimate Frisbee days, noticing that when I stayed in motion, walking around during the halftime break, I felt noticeably better the next day than when I simply sat down until the next half)



This is one of the most important things missed out of all exercises.

Cooling down is brings your breathing, body temperature and heart rate back to normal slowly. It also allows the blood to redistribute itself properly which helps remove lactic acid from you muscles which is one of the main reasons that you will feel like you ache etc...

Footballer Dennis Bergkamp used to spend up to an hour after each match cooling down during his later years and i remembering this being attributed to him being able to play at the top of the game until he retired just shy of his 37th birthday.
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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Steven H » 24 Aug 2013 17:10

Angantyr wrote:The most easy answer:
-Build your foundation first, then start to branch out.

Get down in a gym and do the big four for six weeks:
squats - bench - deadlift - overhead press
and throw in some rows/pullups
. . . Increase strength, make your body more resistant and ready for more training.

Warmups and prehab are essential. Foam rolling and light stretching is the king here.

Strength will help immensely in terms of physical conditioning for what we do. Importantly, strength training reduces the likelihood of injuries. (Also, strength training is just plain good for you - everyone should be doing it just for the general health benefits.)

Since you are just getting started I have a basic set of instructions for starting strength training on my blog.

That being said most the rest of the advice has been good as well.

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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby HPFlashman » 25 Aug 2013 10:36

In the past I have had good sessions with these programs:

http://www.hundredpushups.com/
http://www.twohundredsitups.com/
http://www.twohundredsquats.com/

Which have branched out to include these:
http://www.onefiftydips.com/
http://www.twentyfivepullups.com/

Having letting myself go over the past 4 years, I`m in a horrible physical state and understand completely where you`re at. When starting up the key to success is to go slow and relatively light but intensive and take your time building up to the level where you are comfortable with what your body will let you do.

You really dont want to get somewhat fit and then get some sort of injury, putting you off training for months. Bodyweight exercises are not prone to let you damage yourself. I dont see any stats about your age/weight and such but if overweight, weightloss should be the initial goal as there is quite a lot of function coming along with shedding pounds and if older than about 25 you will need longer time to recuperate, this can be somewhat offset by doing a "large" mixture of training.

Functional fitness are a buzzword in the training industry for the moment as it should be and its what you`re after. I`m not impressed with what I`ve seen locally.

Somewhat fragmented, from the top of my head. :wink:
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Harry

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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby Steven H » 25 Aug 2013 15:14

HPFlashman wrote:In the past I have had good sessions with these programs:

http://www.hundredpushups.com/
http://www.twohundredsitups.com/
http://www.twohundredsquats.com/

Which have branched out to include these:
http://www.onefiftydips.com/
http://www.twentyfivepullups.com/

The idea that you cannot hurt yourself with bodyweight exercises is bunk - high volumes contribute to chronic injury.

The idea that lifting weights will injure you is also incorrect. Weightlifting has one of the lowest injury rates of any sport in the world. And furthermore it reduces the likelihood of injury in other sports.

Lastly, large numbers of reps are not strength training. They will not produce either the health or injury reduction benefits of strength training.

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Re: Warmups And General Fitness

Postby HPFlashman » 25 Aug 2013 16:52

Taking it from the bottom upwards:

Off course its not, its more of a general workable fitness thing, prepping and conditioning an untrained body for more specifically training tasks.

Organised strength training in a controlled enviroment may be or may not be injury free, of this I have no idea but I will take your word for it.

I do know that happy amateur lifters do sustain injuries by either doing stuff in bad form, lifting to much to soon or going for more advanced programs than they can handle, especially in an "uncontrolled" male environments such as the barrack/garrison weight rooms or for that matter, the "Iron gyms".

And for the latest/first, I`ve only seen two sick call injuries coming from straight bodyweight exercising, two forearm facia inflammations stemming from push-ups with flat hands. Again, I accept that high volumes can lead to injuries but I cant really relate to that for the primary posters wish for higher physical functionality, we`re not discussing olympian level physical training here. :)

Training smart is whats about and of course lifting weights have its place in this, I really cant see not doing weights in a rounded training regime but taking it easy* and walking the long road towards better functioning shouldnt start (nor finish) in the weight room. I`m not mocking weights as a training tool, I hold it in quite high esteem but it shouldnt be hold forth as the only solution towards bettering functional fitness.

*easy as in accepting that it will take time getting fit and not trying to get gains by cutting corners. :)
Best regards,

Harry

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