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Components of Fitness

Health Fitness
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Tancred (1995)
believes that: "One of the misconceptions in the sports
world is that a sports person gets in shape by just playing or taking part in
his/her chosen sport. If a stationary level of performance, consistent ability in
executing a few limited skills is your goal, then engaging only in your sport
will keep you there. However, if you want the utmost efficiency, consistent
improvement, and balanced abilities sportsmen and women must participate
in year round conditioning programs. The bottom line in sports conditioning
and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress.
Sportsmen and women must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress
(overload) to increase physical capabilities."

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The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its constitution of

1948 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not
merely the absence of disease or infirmity".


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Fitness is the ability to meet the demands of a physical task.

Basic fitness can be classified in four main components: strength, speed,
stamina and flexibility. However, exercise scientists have identified nine
components that comprise the definition of fitness (Tancred 1995) :
Strength - the extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting
against resistance (e.g. holding or restraining an object or person)
Power - the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in
an explosive burst of movements. The two components of power are
strength and speed. (e.g. jumping or a sprint start)
Agility - the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements
in rapid succession in opposing directions (e.g. ZigZag running or
cutting movements)
Balance - the ability to control the body's position, either stationary
(e.g. a handstand) or while moving (e.g. a gymnastics stunt)
Flexibility - the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without
being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (e.g. executing a leg
Local Muscle Endurance - a single muscle's ability to perform
sustained work (e.g. rowing or cycling)
Cardiovascular Endurance - the heart's ability to deliver blood to
working muscles and their ability to use it (e.g. running long distances)
Strength Endurance - a muscle's ability to perform a maximum
contraction time after time (e.g. continuous explosive rebounding
through an entire basketball game)
Co-ordination- the ability to integrate the above listed components so
that effective movements are achieved.

Of all the nine elements of fitness cardiac respiratory qualities are the most
important to develop as they enhance all the other components of the
conditioning equation.

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Physical fitness refers to the capacity of an athlete to meet the varied physical
demands of their sport without reducing the athlete to a fatigued state. The
components of physical fitness are (Davis 2000) :

Body Composition

Motor Fitness refers to the ability of an athlete to perform successfully at their
sport. The components of motor fitness are (Davis 2000) :

Power (speed & strength)
Reaction Time

Identify the most important fitness components for success in your sport or
event and then design sport/event specific conditioning and training programs
that will enhance these fitness components and energy systems.

The following are examples of general conditioning exercises:

General core stability exercises

General all round body conditioning exercises using dumbbells
General conditioning exercises for the upper body
General and specific leg conditioning exercises
Specific exercises to develop lower leg strength and foot speed

Not convinced on the benefits of a regular training regime then have a read of
the the benefits of exercising page.

Visit the general fitness training program page to get an insight into a simple
weekly training program that will help develop your general level of fitness.

Fitness Component

Recognised Test


Illinois Agility Test


Standing Stork Test

Body Composition

Skinfold measures

Cardiovascular Endurance Multistage Fitness Test


Sit & Reach test

Muscular Endurance

NCF Abdominal Conditioning Test


Standing Long Jump or Vertical Jump


30 metre Sprint


Handgrip Dynamometer

In their research Suni et al. (1996) found that the following tests appeared
to provide acceptable reliability as methods for field assessment of health
related fitness for adults:

Standing on one leg with eyes open for balance

Side-bending of the trunk for spinal flexibility
Modified push-ups for upper body muscular function
Jump and reach and one leg squat for leg muscular function

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1. TANCRED, B. (1995) Key Methods of Sports Conditioning. Athletics
Coach, 29 (2), p. 19
2. DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Training for physical fitness. In: DAVIS, B. et al.
Physical Education and the study of sport. Spain: Harcourt Publishers,
3. SUNI, J. H. et al. (1996) Health-related fitness test battery for adults:
aspects of reliability. Archives of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 77
(4), p. 399-405

The following references provide additional information on this topic:
conditioning. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 1 (1), p. 50-56
STRATTON, J. et al. (1991) Effects of physical conditioning on fibrinolytic
variables and fibrinogen in young and old healthy adults. Circulation, 83
(5), p. 1692-1697
BARRY, A. et al. (1966) The effects of physical conditioning on older
individuals. I. Work capacity, circulatory-respiratory function, and work
electrocardiogram. Journal of gerontology, 21 (2), p. 182-191

If you quote information from this page in your work then the reference for
this page is:
MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Conditioning [WWW] Available from:
https://www.brianmac.co.uk/conditon.htm [Accessed 24/10/2016]

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic:
Articles on Conditioning
Books on Fitness

Benefits of Exercising
Conditioning - Literature Reviews
Core Stability

For further information on this topic see the following:
BEASHEL, P. and TAYLOR, J. (1996) Advanced Studies in Physical
Education and Sport. UK: Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.
BEASHEL, P. and TAYLOR, J. (1997) The World of Sport Examined. UK:
Thomas Nelson and Sons Ltd.
BIZLEY, K. (1994) Examining Physical Education. Oxford; Heinemann
Educational Publishers
DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Physical Education and the Study of Sport. UK:
Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
GALLIGAN, F. et al. (2000) Advanced PE for Edexcel. Oxford;
Heinemann Educational Publishers
McARDLE, W. et al. (2000) Essentials of Exercise Physiology. 2nd ed.
Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins
BREWER, C (2005) Strength and Conditioning for games players. UK;
Coachwise Business Solution.
CHU, D. (1996) Explosive Power and Strength. USA; Human Kinetics
Publishers, Inc.
BOMPA, T. and CORNACCHIA, L. (1998) Serious Strength Training. USA;
Human Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
DELAVIER, F. (2001) Strength Training Anatomy. USA; Human Kinetics
Publishers, Inc.
PAULETTO, B. (1991) Strength Training for Coaches. USA; Human
Kinetics Publishers, Inc.
WINCH, M. (2004) Strength Training for Athletes. UK; Stanley L. Hunt
TENKE, Z. and HIGGINS, A. (1999) Medicine Ball Training. Canada;
Sport Book Publishers
SCHOLICH, M. (1999) Circuit Training for all Sports. Canada; Sport
Book Publishers

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