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Fencing Fitness and Circuit Training:

Circuit training is a flexible and efficient fitness training method where a group of selected exercises are performed in a sequence so as to maximise fitness gains.


Circuit training can involve a group all doing the same exercise at the same time or more often, to optimize equipment usage, the circuit can be set up around a room with different stations. Different exercises are performed at each station and participants start at different points and progress around all the stations. This allows for a maximum number of people to be engaged in the exercise routine with a minimum of waiting time for equipment.


Circuits can be constructed around exercises to develop specific fitness qualities, such as explosive strength or anaerobic lactic fitness. They can target particular body areas, such as upper body or lower body. A fitness circuit can be for general fitness or fencing specific or even for a specific activity or movement.


Exercises may be performed in sets of a specified number of repetitions or can be time based with a maximum number of repetitions within a specified work period. Exercise repetitions and durations that equate to those that occur in fencing, for example 15-30 seconds of effort often produce good fitness transfer in to fencing activities.

Rest Recovery:

There is normally a specified rest period between series of repetitions or sets of exercises in order to optimize fitness development. By respecting good exercise physiology work to rest ratios exercise quality and thus fitness benefits are high. Depending upon the type of exercise and intensity, the rest period could short, such as 10 seconds (very fencing specific) to 2-3 minutes.


The improvement and gains from circuit training are dependent upon the intensity and total duration of exercise, sometimes referred to as volume. Over time, the greater the overall total volume the greater the fitness benefit will be.


The more often the circuits are repeated, the more quickly the body adapts to the training load. Frequent and short duration circuits assist in producing fitness gains through achieving adequate training volume, rather than through less frequent, long fitness training sessions. Short duration sessions with a high frequency can minimizes the organizational complication of long duration training sessions. An application of this principle is performing short duration circuits several times during the same day or even within the training session.


As fitness improves, the number of repetitions and intensity of exercise will need to be increased. It can be beneficial to change a little the types of exercise to provide different stimulation and interest.


A circuit training variation is to use "supersets". This is where exercises are carried out without rest periods. This is achieved by alternating exercises so different muscle groups are active, allowing a recovery rest period while a different muscle group is active. For example alternating exercises between upper body and lower body without rest periods.


In developing a circuit program make it fun and interesting for the participants. Play appropriate tempo music in the background to assist in motivating participants. The music can also act as a "timing method" for the circuit session.

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