Steel & Sorcery

Blending HEMA + Bodybuilding in a normal working week

This post puts the steel into the name "Steel & Sorcery". Balancing hard HEMA training and gym is tough. Currently, I am doing this split and can recommend something similar for anyone with the same goals. Recovery is good provided you eat and hydrate well.

The gym training is mostly upper body focused. It follows this program by Natural Hypertrophy. While I can only make the gym 3x per week, we can still use a program with a higher per week schedule. If we keep limited to making a holistic program fit within 3 days you begin to cut a lot of corners and make things much more minimalist than would be optimal in my opinion. At this point I have built a decent base of strength, with a deadlift PR of 255kg, a 75kg OHP, 180kg squat and a measly 115kg bench. While those numbers are obviously peaks, I think it has helped a ton to be able to do this more volume focused approach. I think for novice lifters the goal should be to get a foundation first - but in good news, most novice programs are 3x week and will fit into a HEMA training schedule well too.

Day 1: Chest, Back, Shoulders & Triceps

Day 2: Legs & Arms

Strong legs allow for deep lunges.

Day 3: Chest, Back, Shoulders & Triceps

Day 4: Legs & Arms

Deadlifts are fantastic for building strength that is really functional when grappling. Minor modifications have been done. Neck exercises are done in off-time, and calf work has been removed.

Putting it all together


HEMA Longsword + sparring at the end


Gym. Probably the hardest session, coming off of a two day prior exercise.


Rapier. Lesson only, no sparring. Being a technical-only day there is not really any strain beyond being tired after the lesson. This acts as a nice mid-week bit of downtime on the previous and following day, before training increases in intensity on the weekend.


Off day. Relax.




Off day. Open to 100% leisure time.