For an on looking spectator fencing does not look like a sport which requires a lot of flexibility. Except maybe for a deep lunge. However it's been shown that flexible fencers are a lot more comfortable and mobile their positions.
Flexibility training benefits fencers in two ways.
1. Injury prevention.
Tightness expecially in the hip area forces the fencer to compensate. The most common compensation takes place at the knee. In majority of cases the knee buckles in. Over time this leads to injury. The next compensation takes place at the back. When the legs can't move properly there is an over-reach. After a while it takes a tall on the muscles, disks and other structures of the back. Finally and related to the knee compensation is the ankle. Rolled ankles often take place at the rear leg.
2. Strength at center range.
Muscles are strongest in their center range. When a muscle is shortened or lengthened, it's strength is diminished. When fencing, many of the leg muscles, especially the muscles of the hips operate out of the normal range. Stretching allows that operating range to become normal. In return, the body can function at it's optimal.
Fencers often use basic stretches taken from yoga. Most of those are relaxed stretches, which slow down and relax the body. Not favorable characteristics when going into a match. Kinesiological stretching techniques don't have that effect. They develop flexibility much faster, without slowing the muscles down. At the same time kinesiological stretching techniques avoid the pain of the stretch reflex.
This program also include strength exercises to help retain the flexibility and use it correctly in a match. Fencers using this program reported ease of movement and faster recovery after matches.
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