As yet, no studies have characterised fencing competitions. Therefore in elite male foilists and across two competitions, we investigated their countermovement jump (CMJ) 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 to 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 bpm, 195 +/- 7 vs. 192 +/- 7 bpm, 74 vs. 68%) however, only significant (p < .05) for RPE. CMJ height, albeit non-significantly (p > .05), increased throughout competition and dropped thereafter. While 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 HR's appear possible on account of ample within and between-bout rest. The small competition load associated with fencing competitions may explain the non-significant findings found.
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