General Strength and Conditioning

The single most important factor in learning any new physical skill is general strength, or the ability to press and pull with different parts of your body in all directions.

By conditioning, we generally mean the endurance to perform work over an extended period of time.

Both general strength and conditioning are essential elements to combat. Striking with hands and feet, grappling, and using a stick in both hands requires general strength, and the fight won’t be over in one movement, you’ll have to use combinations of moves, and perhaps even take a hit or two and still keep fighting to save yourself.

Home Workout

A workout that you can do with minimal equipment means you don’t have to get to the gym to do your workout. There are many videos on YouTube, but I like this channel called Fortress, especially if you want to improve pullups:

Home Full Body Follow Along Workout | Wireless Headphones Review

Doing as many reps as possible in a certain amount of time (e.g. 30 seconds) is a great way to develop endurance. You’ll also see your improvement over time, because with training you’ll be able to do more.

Calisthenics Progression

If you want to keep adding difficulty to your bodyweight workout, and therefore build more strength while adding skill and balance, I’ve found the following chart very helpful.


Build a routine by doing one exercise from each column. When you can do reps easily, select the next exercise down the column for more challenge.

If you’d like to download a PDF, the original poster is here:


Remember our SwordFit program isn’t just conditioning with swords. For a more Bartitsu-like workout, find out from the Front Desk at Academie Duello which classes Jimmy is teaching, since he incorporates more punches, kicks, sticks and wrestling movements compared to other instructors who emphasize the sword. It’s a great workout.

Plus, we’ve just launched morning bootcamps. Space fills up fast, so inquire at the Front Desk about times that are still available to get your workout in before starting your day.

David McCormick Head of Stage Combat at Academie Duello and certified Instructor with Fight Directors Canada. Head of Bartitsu at Academie Duello, the longest continuously running Bartitsu program in the world.
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