Competition Intensity and Fatigue in Elite Fencing
Turner, AN, Kilduff, LP, Marshall, GJG, Phillips, J, Noto, A, Buttigieg, C, Gondek, M, Hills, FA, and Dimitriou, L. Competition intensity and fatigue in elite fencing. J Strength Cond Res 31(11): 3128–3136, 2017—As yet, no studies have characterized fencing competitions. Therefore, in elite male foilists and across 2 competitions, we investigated their countermovement jump height, testosterone (T), cortisol (C), alpha-amylase (AA), immunoglobulin A (IgA), heart rate (HR), blood lactate (BL), and rating of perceived exertion (RPE). Average (±SD) scores for RPE, BL, and HR (average, max, and percentage of time ≥80% HRmax) were highest in the knockout bouts compared with poules (8.5 ± 1.3 vs. 5.7 ± 1.3, 3.6 ± 1.0 vs. 3.1 ± 1.4 mmol·L, 171 ± 5 vs. 168 ± 8 b·min−1, 195 ± 7 vs. 192 ± 7 b·min−1, 74 vs. 68%); however, only significant (p ≤ 0.05) for RPE. Countermovement jump height, albeit nonsignificantly (p > 0.05), increased throughout competition and dropped thereafter. Although responses of C, AA, and IgA showed a tendency to increase during competition and drop thereafter (T and T:C doing the opposite), no significant differences were noted for any analyte. Results suggest that fencing is a high-intensity anaerobic sport, relying on alactic energy sources. However, some bouts evoke BL values of ≥4 mmol·L and thus derive energy from anaerobic glycolysis. High HRs appear possible on account of ample within- and between-bout rest. The small competition load associated with fencing competitions may explain the nonsignificant findings noticed.