Fitness Equipment for Historical Fencers (HEMA) for Home Workouts in 2021

man and woman working out

The quarantine and shelter in place orders have made it challenging for people to work out. A lot of people in the modern world have become dependent on memberships to gyms, and may not have a lot of equipment at home.

As a result a lot of people are seeking to buy their own equipment they can use at home but it can be difficult to choose. There are many low quality fitness products available out on Amazon and other retailers.

We’ve decided to put together this list to help point people in the right direction on what equipment they can buy that is going to be affordable and of good quality. This isn’t stuff that is only useful while your gym is closed, but actually is useful to have for supplementary workouts you can do throughout the day (depending on your time availability of course).

Resistance Bands

These are some of the most affordable weight lifting equipment you can own but the trick is finding bands of sufficient resistance strength. Light bands won’t do a lot for you, especially if you already have a lot of strength from traditional weight lifting.

There is a lot of junk resistance band products out there which have bands that just don’t offer enough resistance for any serious workout. However we found and purchased this system that allows multiple bands to be attached to a handle increasing the resistance to a suitable level.

These bands are designed to be used on the legs for adding resistance to various side steps and leg raises. Very effective.

The Gorilla Bow is a portable home gym that can be used in your house or on the go – office, hotel room, park, almost anywhere. We will note that the default resistance band set that comes with it is relatively light, and you’ll need to order the heavier bands directly from their website if you already have traditional weight lifting experience. However it’s worth purchasing because this is one of the few devices that allow you to use resistance bands to do squats.


Kettleballs allow for a range of movement that can be more difficult to do with traditional free weights. Whereas Resistance bands are useful at muscle isolation training, a kettleball excels at complex movements incorporating multiple muscle groups. A good fitness routine should incorporate resistance for both movements.

Indian Clubs

These wooden clubs were once a staple part of gymnasium fitness equipment in the 19th century and they provide resistance in movement to develop strength and mobility when swung around. They are becoming very popular among HEMA fencers these days as they help strengthen movements used in sword fighting.


Grippers are traditionally created just for hand workouts.

This gripper is unique in that it is designed to workout your biceps and chests. We particularly like it because it works out brachialis muscle that sits underneath the bicep, which can be difficult to isolate with curls done using free weights.

These twist bars are also useful for building up muscles in your forearms, important for fencing of course.

Weighted vest

The basic concept behind a weighted vest is to add more resistance to your body when doing other kinds of exercises, which will force your muscles to use more oxygen, thereby burning more calories. The load force on your body will also improve bone density.

We like to use these to add resistance our jogs but it is a versatile training tool that can be worn underneath while doing solo drills, or even partner drills, to add resistance to your legs and lower back which are key areas for fencing.

They can also add additional weight to your pushups and squats, as well as other plyometric exercises. Weighted vests are terrific at supercharging any activity and used by other athletes, including boxers.

If you’d like to read some additional fitness related articles about HEMA, check out these articles.


We hope this information helps you get gear to stay in shape!

If you’d like to learn more information about historical fencing practices please check out our Learn HEMA page for a guide to learning about the historical weapon that interests you. You can also find more guides we’ve written about other topics at our Helpful Guides page. You can also join the conversation at our forums or our Facebook Group community.

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