We should not train like powerlifters! There I said it. Bring on the hate. Power lifting is an amazing sport, full of amazing lifters. However, it is not a type of training that is for everyone. For athletes, moms just wanting to move better, dads wanting to stay healthy, power lifting and its style of training is not the best option. On that note, neither is bodybuilding, or long distance running, or yoga, or anything. The truth is it is somewhere in the middle of all that.
In theory, the majority of clients come to us because they feel something needs to change in their life. Weight loss, quality of life, confidence, being healthier, all are things commonly said. Through experience, however, most trainers have learned it goes a lot deeper than that. Humans by nature all want to look better, both in clothes and out. They want to move better, with less pain, and perform better in their sports, or simply daily life. The strength-training model can help with all of these.
As soon as HEMA Strong started publishing blog posts, comments started rolling in asking for a guide on how to “make my butt look good in my fencing pants/puffy pants”.
I initially thought “uh, well, I don’t know, that wasn’t what I had in mind”. But then I saw that “HEMA Butts” was a thing: https://hemabutts.tumblr.com/ and remembered that confidence is a part of performance psychology. So if your butt looking great in your fencing pants, puffy or not, makes you confident, then it can indirectly impact your performance when fighting.
Here we are then, a HEMA Strong guide on making your butt look good in your puffy pants.
A home workout to build basic strength and conditioning for HEMA
Who is this for?
This basic workout framework is for someone who hasn’t ever set foot in a gym and/or hasn’t exercised in awhile, toward the goal of building up some basic strength and conditioning for HEMA.
One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen people make is to try to do too much at once, and either end up injured, burned out, or so sore that it impacts their ability to do their best for their HEMA practice and/or daily life.
It’s like a regular Pavel Moc sword, but smaller!
Hey there, it’s time for my first gear review! My first feder was one that’s not very common and not something that I’d seen reviewed before. Since my go-to place for gear reviews is Measure and Weigh. I’ll be borrowing their review format, with one exception: I like the idea of having both an initial impression *AND* a review after a few months.
I, the tiger, am so swift to run and to wheel
That even the bolt from the sky cannot overtake me.
~Fiore de’i Liberi~
Whether you’re darting out and in for a quick nachreisen, defending against an attack, or following on with one of your own, the ability to quickly adjust your body position and facing is critical. After a successful attack, you must be able to withdraw successfully. A proper parry deserves a prompt riposte. Everyone understands and recognizes that being faster is an advantage, but how do you achieve it? It’s a little more complex than “just get out of the way.” To accelerate your progress you have to understand what actually makes someone good at “getting out of the way.”
Change of Direction
Change of direction, as defined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) comprises “The skills and abilities needed to explosively change movement direction, velocities, or mode.” For us, it’s the ability to advance, withdraw, rotate into cuts or defenses, and generally be faster on our feet.
You’ve heard it. You’ve probably heard it a dozen times or more. The scoffs and side-eyed gazes that come when someone only goes down halfway are common in a gym. You HAVE to squat to parallel EVERY TIME.
That’s not true, especially for most weapons-based HEMA. Let me explain.
When developing your training plan, one of the keys is specificity. That’s how close the exercise you’re doing is to the activity you’re training for. The closer or more specific your exercise is, the more likely it will actually help your combat performance.
So how low do you get when you’re fighting? Most fighters I’ve seen rarely even get as low as a half-squat, for these people a full squat isn’t specific to their style. Pay attention to how you fight, it tells you how to train.
I know. I can see you fuming through the screen.
Of course I’m not suggesting you never squat to parallel. Definitely do it, and often. Full depth squats are un-paralleled (pun intended) when it comes to giving you the strength foundation you need to fight well. They’ll help you reach your training and health goals faster than almost any other exercise. Plus they make your butt look good in fencing pants.
Those things are not what you’re training for in the weeks before a big competition though. In those 2-4 weeks you should be training to be as good at fencing as you can be. Keep your workouts highly intense, highly specific, and low volume during this pre-competition time frame. This is where half-squats shine.
BE WARNED! You’ll undoubtedly get some odd looks if you’re training at your local gym. That’s because those poor, ignorant souls are so confused why you’re doing the ONE THING everyone knows not to do. Personally, I think curling in the squat rack is a larger sin. If they end up bothering you at all, just go up and tell them that your combat performance coach told you to.
The HEMAists Guide to Supplements, Pills, Powders, Protein, and Potables
Don’t Be A Powdermancer
When I first got into fitness in 2008, it was through a community of gamers/geeks/nerds that also enjoyed working out. I was surprised to “discover” the existence of what the community called “Powdermancers.” Powdermancers are those that spend lots of money on pills, powders, protein and weird liquids in order to be healthier/fitter/stronger. They are like the alchemists of old mixing their potions and remedies, and unfortunately, in many cases, they are doing this before they have the basics of solid nutrition, and exercise habits taken care of. You may see me refer to this as “majoring in the minors.”
Want to get better at your martial art? The fastest way to do so is to simply practice it more often. But you already knew that. The second fastest way is to get stronger in addition to practicing more often. In a fight between two equally skilled opponents, the stronger one likely wins.
“How can I lose weight without changing my diet or exercise?” – Anonymous
Ha, I love this question. Someone asked this after a Saturday longsword class as I ate my peanut butter and jelly sandwich while drinking a Guinness. I jokingly answered this by saying that you could start to see which organs you don’t really need (like your appendix, one of your kidneys, etc) and sell them on the black market. This would be a win-win since you could use the money to buy more swords/gear/travel to more events. Disclaimer: Don’t do this.