Some of my friends are into history reenactment and historical fencing. Doing this is quite demanding in terms of fitness, so I wanted to help them develop a training plan to follow.
What would be the goals of such a training plan?
It has to strengthen stabilizing muscles of all the important joints. People doing this are fighting having really heavy armour. The helm itself can weigh up to 2kg, the mail can weigh up to 12kg. Add the gambeson and plates and you end up with around 20-30kg. To avoid injuries, strengthening the stabilizing muscles is a must. Some swordsmen say that a big focus should be put on scapla and lumbar stability.
Anaerobic capacity. Some fights can last longer, especially 5v5 or 21v21, but typical tournament 1v1 fights have rounds lasting 1 minute of really intensive activity. A single handed sword might weigh around 1,2kg, two handed ones even more. The swordsmen must have superb control over their blades at all times - this is also a matter of safety. No not-intended thrusts!
Strength. The outcome of a fight is often decided by a knock out. Even tho the swords are blunt and the fighters wear a lot of padding and armour, strong blows make people fall to the ground. Even if the fight wont be won by knockout, strong blows are like to break the parry or wear down the enemy.
Time. A training plan must incorporate time for working on technique, without ruining the resting periods. That would probably mean that the technical training should happen on training days. Technical training often includes fencing drills (not necessairly in full armour) and sparrings, both can be quite demanding in their own right.
Preferably, minimal use of fitness gear/equipment. Since the technical training should happen on the same days as the fitness one, it would be preferable that the strength training etc could do without a fully equipped gym. Its not crucial, as every swordsman could do the training alone, and group trainings would only cover the technical part.
I was wondering if a typical StartingStrength/5x5 training or similar, followed by HIIT sessions with a sword and a tire hung on a tree (resembling boxingbag workouts) would be the way to go. If that were the case, should the technical training take place before or after the fitness one? Are there any training plans that would better fufill the goals i mentioned earlier? Are there any bodyweight training programs that would do as good, but without the need of a gym/barbells?
Since every swordsman fights both in "bohurts" (many vs many) and 1v1 tournaments, a training plan accounting for both would be welcome. I know that you cant eat a cookie and have a cookie, so if Id have to point out the more important thing, it would be 1v1
here are a few videos to give you an idea of what they are doing:
the last one is a Polish documentary about the Grunwald reenactment held each year in Poland. Ive set the timer to some fighting scenes that ended with a knockout - for those who have shown interest in the comments.
UPDATE Ive been talking with some friends and researching materials provided by the ARMA organisation. It may be very helpful in developing a training plan, and Im discovering new concepts. Cant jump to conclusions, but im starting to think that Starting Strength and similar programs may not be the best way to go...
Anyhow, one of the swordsmen pointed out that speed can be a crucial factor and definitely should be considered. he pointed out that most probably the program should be similar in some ways to existing conditioning programs designed for martial arts, only accomodating for the usage of heavy armour and weapons.