Health and Conditioning for Fencing

Hugo Castello’s Fencing Warm-Ups

Hugo Castello's Fencing warm up exercises

Warm-ups and conditioning are components to becoming a powerful fencer. They help tone, strengthen, and attune one’s body to one’s will.  In his book Fencing, Hugo Castello outlined a series of exercises and warm ups for fencers. Hugo Castello succeeded his father, Julio Castello, as the coach of New York University’s fencing program in 1947. These five warm up exercises are excellent for beginners to quickly increase their flexibility and endurance to get the most out of their fencing classes.

Castello, Hugo & Castello, James. Fencing. The Ronald Press Company. New York. 1962. Pages 83-89. View on WorldCat

Warm-Up Exercises for Fencing. The following exercises (as illustrated) are of special importance to the fencer, and should form part of the regular warm-up period:

  1. From attention, bend and touch the floor in front of the toes (keep the knees straight). Recover and reach overhead and back, flexing the back as far as possible. Repeat.

    Back streches for fencing

  2. From stride position, with arms extended at the sides at shoulder height, turn the trunk from the hips as far to the right as possible; repeat to the left.

    Flexibility streches for fencing

  3. From stride position, with arms extended at the sides at shoulder height, reach and touch the right toe with the left hand, recover, repeat to the left.

    Core and flexibility training for fencing

  4. From the On Guard position, lunge on the right leg. Without recovering to the On Guard, shift the position of the feet 90 degrees and lunge on the left leg. Repeat.

    Lunge warm ups for fencing

  5. From the lunge position, turn on the heels and sink into a deep knee bend position on the lead leg. Recover to the lunge position. Reverse the lunge and repeat on the other side.

    Knee streches for fencing

The regular fencing footwork-on guard, advance, retreat, lunge, advance and lunge, fleche, and combinations of these actions-should also form part of the preliminary warm-up.