HEMA Strong

Courage and strength make your enemies hesitate

Building The Push-Up

Who is this for?

Someone that cannot consistently do 10-12 push-ups with a good range of motion and form. If you have an injury or medical issue that would impede correct form, then this article may not apply to you.

Why Push-Ups?

The push-up is perhaps the most well-known bodyweight exercise, and that’s because it’s a great exercise to build both pressing, pushing, as well as core strength.

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Strength Standards Now Updated

The HEMA Strong Strength standards are now updated to include bodyweight standards, which are a work in progress.

HEMA Strong Strength Standards

The HEMA Strong store is now live!

Just in case you haven’t noticed or aren’t in the Facebook group yet (which you should be, it’s awesome!), the HEMA Strong Store is now live! Please let me know if there are any questions. We are looking to add more options and patches soon!


Getting Back On Track

“I’ve gotten off track. Was working out 6 days a week…here I am 4 months later and I don’t even know how to get back on track. How do I get back on track?”

I’m overwhelmed with the number of times I’ve seen that question asked. Go to any Facebook group that’s fitness oriented, and it’s a theme.

Why do people go off track, and then struggle with getting back on track with their fitness, be it nutrition, exercise, or both?
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The Myth of Cross-Training: The Art & The Science

“There is but one art of the sword…” Ms. 3227a

And just as there is one art of the sword, there is only one science of the body. That science and its underlying principles dictate how we can effectively train our bodies to excel at our art.

Why is cross-training a myth?

Cross-training’s general connotation is that training for any of the fitness domains is an “option” rather than a necessity for improvement of your martial art.

Is it a different connotation for you? No worries, then this article isn’t for you. 🙂

With that said, regardless of your reasons for being part of HEMA or any other martial art, you are learning a physical skill. And those who master their art, as well as their bodies, will have the best results, the best return on investment of their precious time.
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5 Impeccable Practice Principles

Recently I attended the Raleigh Open Longsword Tournament, hosted by Triangle Sword Guild. I had a blast. The format allowed everyone to get in many fights with a large amount of people, which I loved.

I was pretty satisfied with my performance except for one problem I repeatedly encountered:

I kept missing targets…

My thrust missed it’s mark, my cuts did not land where I intended, I failed attempts to grapple. One after another, many of my attempts fell short.

This is what happens when I miss a thrust. Photo Credit to Veronique McMillan

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Competition Mindset


I’m in a room with a couple dozen fighters and staff. On the other side of the double doors are more than 100 people eager to watch the finals of Longpoint 2017. Someone calls my name and I stage just on the other side of those doors, moments away from all those eyes.

What if I don’t do well?

My heart rate jumps up in anticipation of the fight. I look out, I step out, I look down.

Do I even deserve to be here?

I stand across the mat from my opponent. They announce us, but I barely hear it. I can’t make eye contact.

He trained more than me.

Negative thoughts race through my head, anxiety that I can’t uphold the standard of someone who has gotten this far, that everyone knows I shouldn’t even be on the mat, that if I don’t get these two points all the ones before are meaningless. I worry so much about doing well that when the fight starts I forget to DO.

I promptly get thrown. Continue reading

Hey, if your Vom Tag is drifting, you should probably be lifting.

Go the distance!

So in the end, all the strength and explosiveness does us no good if we can’t stay in the game long enough to put use to it. The exact type of conditioning you need to achieve this, depends on what it is you are competing in, or what your daily life demands.

Football / Hockey / Rugby, are examples of high explosive force, low duration endurance sports. Short plays, lots of action.

Baseball / Soccer are examples of long duration sports, that require spurts of explosive force.

MMA, and other combat sports are a unique mixture of these effects. Your striking power, power to win a fight comes from explosive force development, however you need great stamina it stay in a fight long enough to win it.

So lets talk about how we condition. We need to understand energy systems first.

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Biomechanics of lifting. Also known as why is this so hard?

First thing we need to consider in biomechanics is our own ratios of limb to torso length. This breaks down into a few basic categories:

  • Long Femur/Short Back/Long Arms
  • Long Femur/Short Back/Short Arms
  • Short Femur/Short Back/Long Arms
  • Short Femur/Long Back/Short Arms
  • Short Femur/Long Back/Long Arms

These will effect how we lift. Longer femur lifters will always struggle with things like squats, and conventional deadlifts. Regardless of their actual height. Shorter femur lifters will find these positions easy to be in. Taking a wider stance normally compensates for this.. Just as a long arm lifter will take a wider grip in the bench press. The idea is always to get the bar as close to your body as possible. Reduce total range of motion.
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