This article is from the Fencing FAQ, by Morgan Burke with numerous contributions by others.
The best training for fencing is fencing. Fencing development is
asymmetrical and few other sports use the same muscle groups, so
this is a difficult question whose answer depends largely on what
aspect of your training you really want to focus on.
Cardiovascular fitness and leg strength always help, so anything that
enhances these will be beneficial. Cycling, swimming, aerobics, and
skating are good examples. Running, sprinting, soccer, basketball,
and similar sports can also be helpful, although some athletes dislike
the stresses they put on the knees. Racquet sports like tennis,
badminton, squash, racquetball, and table tennis are also excellent,
and will exercise your upper body in addition to your legs.
Circuit or period training (short bursts of high-heart-rate
exercise followed by brief recovery periods) has been put forward
as particularly relevant to the demands of fencing.
Proper weight training can be of great benefit, if it emphasizes
power development in the legs and lower body, core trunk strength
for stability, speed, and flexibility. Improper weight training
can potentially be detrimental, if it develops strength but not
power, or sacrifices flexibility for muscle development.
Some fencers maintain that juggling improves reactions, hand-eye
coordination, and use of peripheral vision.
Some coaches and fencers suggest occasional fencing or workouts with
your opposite hand, both to improve skill and balance your muscular