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Title: Physical preparation for fencing : tailoring exercise prescription and training load to the physiological and biomechanical demands of competition
Author: Turner, Anthony N.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5914 9766
Awarding Body: Middlesex University
Current Institution: Middlesex University
Date of Award: 2016
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Sport science based research regarding fencing competition demands and athlete physical characteristics (PC) is sparse; as a consequence, training programme design cannot be optimised. The aim of this PhD thesis therefore, is to describe the PC that best relate to (1) lunge velocity (LV), (2) change of direction speed (CODS) and (3) repetitive lunging ability (RLA). It also sought to analyse (4) the physiological intensity and associated fatigue of competition and (5) the efficacy of the subsequently delivered periodised training programme. Fencers from the Great Britain Fencing squad were investigated. Results revealed that LV and CODS were best predicted by the standing broad jump (SBJ) (r = 0.51 and -0.65 respectively). Through linear regression analysis, CODS and SBJ provided a twopredictor model accounting for 61% of the common variance associated with RLA. Competition intensity and fatigue was measured across two competitions, including subsequent recovery days, where countermovement jump (CMJ) scores and saliva samples (measuring testosterone, cortisol, alpha-amylase and salivary IgA) were taken. On the day of competition, all fencers had their heart rate (HR) recorded and had blood lactate (BL) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) measured after each bout. Average (± SD) scores for RPE, BL and HR (average, max and percentage of time ≥ 80% HRmax) were highest in the knockout bouts compared to the pools (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 bpm, 195 ± 7 vs. 192 ± 7 bpm, 74 vs. 68% respectively), but only significantly (p < 0.05) so in RPE. CMJ scores measuring jump height, peak power (PP) and peak rate of force development, increased throughout the competition and dropped thereafter. For jump height and PP, the post-knockout score was significantly higher than precompetition scores, and all scores taken at competition were significantly higher than post competition scores. No significant differences were noted across time-points for any of the measured salivary analytes. Finally, the efficacy of the training programme, designed following the findings of the preceding studies, was analysed. RPE, HR and BL scores from competition bouts were compared to that recorded in training sessions aimed at developing the fencer’s sport-specific fitness. Alongside this, CMJ height, reactive strength index and questionnaires regarding “readiness to train” were completed daily and compared to the prescribed training load (TL) as calculated using session RPE. Only “off-feet” non-sport specific conditioning drills were found to provide an appropriate stimulus (with respect to HR, RPE and BL) for competition based fitness. Using multilevel modelling, no relationships between TL, jump scores and questionnaires were noted.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available