The ability to carry out daily tasks (work and play) with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample reserve energy, to enjoy leisure time pursuits and to meet unforseen emergencies. (Williams, P (et al), page 76, 1999)
Health refers to the absence of disease or illness whereas physical fitness is an individual matter related to the specific needs of each individual and the requirements of their sport.
Energy Anaerobic Aerobic ATP-PC System Lactic Acid System Oxygen System Anaerobic power and speed Local muscular endurance cardio- Muscular strength respiratory Muscular power endurance Agility Balance Reaction time
This is the ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels (circulatory and respiratory systems) to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues of the body and to remove waste products such as carbon dioxide. It is also known as aerobic endurance, cardiovascular fitness or aerobic capacity.
Allows an individual to perform tasks involving the whole body for extended periods of time at a sub maximal intensity
Fitness Test – 20-metre shuttle-run
This is the ability of your muscles to exert a force in a single maximal contraction. It is important in sports where a position needs to be acquired and maintained against an opponent or where an object has to be forcefully moved.
This is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain an activity for a period of time at less than maximal effort. Local fatigue (rather than general exhaustion) is the limiting factor. It includes activities such as push-ups, sit-ups and chin-ups. A major limiting factor of local muscular endurance is an athlete’s ability to tolerate lactic acid.
Fitness test: Sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups.
This is the ability to produce energy quickly (without using oxygen). The efficiency of ATP-PC and lactic acid energy systems plays an important role within this fitness component. Covers two types of effort:
This refers to the range of possible movement about a joint or sequence of joints. Muscles, tendons, ligaments and joint structure affect it. It is important for injury prevention. Flexibility can be either static or dynamic. Dynamic or active flexibility is concerned with how easily a limb can be moved through its range of motions when executing a skill such as the arm action in backstroke. Static flexibility is concerned with determining the ability to move a joint to its maximum range of motions such as doing the splits.
The structure of a joint affects flexibility. The more stable a joint, the greater the strength but the less flexibility it allows. For example, the ball and socket joint of the hip is more stable than the shoulder joint, but allows less movement.
Fitness tests: sit and reach test
The relative percentage of muscle, fat, bone and other tissue of which a body is composed
Speed is the ability to move the whole body or a body part from one point to another in the shortest possible time such as sprinting, speed skating and the run up in long jump. Can be present as whole body speed or body part speed. Speed relates to other fitness components for example speed is dependant upon strength and muscular power is dependent upon strength and speed. During speed events however, an athlete has the ability to reach maximum energy capacity.
Fitness test – Running 40 metre sprints
This is the ability to use strength rapidly to produce an explosive maximal effort. It is dependent upon the interaction of strength and speed. Relies on anaerobic energy production and white twitch muscle fibres. Examples include shot put, discus, hammer throw and jumping events as well as the rebound in basketball.
Fitness test: standing long jump and vertical jump
The ability to rapidly and accurately change the direction of the body in space. It is related to power, speed, flexibility, balance and coordination. Activities that exemplify agility include dodging; weaving and turning that are commonly seen in football, netball, tennis, squash and basketball.
Fitness test: Illinois agility test
This can be described as the smooth and accurate flow of movement in the execution of a physical task. It involves the nervous system and the musculoskeletal system working together. Examples include hand-eye and foot-eye coordination in activities such as the lay up in basketball, the spike in volleyball, the racquet swing in tennis and ball control in soccer.
This is the ability to maintain the equilibrium of the body. For example static balance involves maintaining the equilibrium in one fixed position such as a gymnast holding on the parallel bars. Dynamic balance involves maintaining the equilibrium while moving including a gymnast swinging on the parallel bars.
Fitness test: Standing static balance
This refers to the athlete’s ability to process information via the nervous system and react. Time elapsed between stimulus and initiation of a response to the stimulus (It involves the time it takes for the brain to receive information from the senses, process the information, formulate a response and transmit this response to nerves and finally for the muscles to contract). Examples include the delay between the starter’s gun and the athlete blasting out of the blocks.
This training principle also allows the athlete to choose the most suitable training methods for improving performance.
Example – an endurance athlete would include a large amount of continuous running into their training program to develop aerobic capacity and increase cardiorespiratory efficiency. On the other hand, a weightlifter would incorporate a significant amount of weights into their training program to develop muscular strength.
Training should be specific to the physiological adaptations required at the time.
Improvements in performance occur as a result of adaptation to stress. An increase in the training workload will bring about physiological changes that make the body more capable of coping with stresses that may be placed upon it. To gain maximum benefits from training, workloads must be gradually adjusted upwards as adaptation to stress occurs which is also known as progressive overload.
Increases in workload can lead to possible excessive stress, injury or illness. ‘No pain, no gain’ is a popular misconception. There is no need for pain during physiological adaptations to training. Pain is an indicator that something is wrong and that training should be modified.
One way of monitoring the application of the specific overload principle is the inclusion of the FITT principles into a training program.
Frequency : refers to how often you train, specifically how many days per week. Individuals seeking to improve their aerobic fitness must train at least 3-4 times per week.
Intensity : refers to how hard you train. To apply the overload principle in terms of intensity, the heart rate must be increased to a target heart rate. Heart rate should remain within the target zone for at least 20 minutes fitness is to improve. It is vital that a critical threshold exists and that unless that point is reached and maintained, then improvements cannot be made. Exercise levels that allow the heart rate to remain within the target zone will result in the training effect and the body will make the appropriate adaptations.
Critical Threshold (CT) = Resting HR (RHR) + 60% of Working HR (WHR)
Time : refers to how long the training session will last. To be effective, training sessions must last longer than 20 minutes and the heart rate must stay in the target zone for that period of time. The best results occur when training lasts from between 30-60 minutes.
Type : Activities need to be specific for the type of improvement desired. To improve cardio-respiratory endurance, activities should be aerobic, being continuous and sustained throughout the exercise. This is so the oxygen system is the predominant system for energy requirements. Such activities include jogging, cycling and swimming.
Provided that the major principle of specificity is not ignored, variety in training activities can be beneficial. It can assist in maintaining interest and motivation although it doesn’t specifically aid performance.
The effects of training programs are reversible. In the same way that the body responds to training by improving the level of fitness, lack of training causes the opposite to occur. The reversibility process applies equally to aerobic, anaerobic and strength training programs.
Duration of training has an effect on reversibility. A fast build up will cause a rapid loss if training ceases, whereas a slow build up will result in a slow loss.
These are the different types of training undertaken to achieve the desired improvements in fitness.
This type of training involves performing an activity for an extended period of time, (usually longer than 20 minutes) at a required intensity, without a rest period. It is sub maximal and requires an intensity of 65 – 85% of HR max. This is called the Target Training Zone . Continuous training works the aerobic energy system and examples include swimming, jogging, rowing, cross-country skiing and cycling.
Overloading continuous Training:
To incur physiological adaptations progressive overload is necessary and can be implemented by manipulating the following variables:
Increase the duration of work (length)
Increase the intensity of work by:
Increasing the distance
Decreasing the time taken to complete the same distance.
This is a type of training in which periods of work are alternated with periods of rest or recovery. Each energy system can be developed, depending on the length of the work and rest periods. The design of this training allows for periods of activity where the energy fuels ATP and PC are depleted. By following the work period with a rest period there is time for the replenishment of these fuels. This provides the athlete with enough energy to perform at a high intensity during the work period and recover during the rest period. The length and time of the work interval determines which energy system and fitness components are predominately trained.
Interval training produces very specific training effects including efficiency in the desired energy system. The depletion-replenishment pattern allows the capacity of the ATP-PC and lactic acid system to be increased. When developing interval training, the following factors can be altered to meet the specific needs of each sport:
Planning Interval training 3 Number of training sessions per week Frequency 3 Number of repetition sequences Sets 8 Number of work periods in a sequence Repetitions 95% How hard work is to be done (% of HR) Work intensity Walk The nature of rest between work intervals Rest interval type 40 secs Time between work intervals Rest interval time 8 seconds Time in which work must be completed Work interval time 60 metres The distance of the work Work interval distance Example Description Variable
Examples of Interval training for running 1500m 10 km Team Sports 4 - 5 1:1 180 sec 2 3 75 - 85% HR max 180 secs 1000m Aerobic 400m Team Sports 3 1:2 150 sec 2 4 85% HR max 75 secs 400m Lactic Acid 100m Team Sports 3 1:5 40 sec 3 8 95% HR max 8 secs 60m ATP-PC Suitable sports Training frequency Work to rest ratio Rest interval Sets Reps Work intensity Interval time Interval distance Energy system
Fartlek training is a variation of continuous training. It involves continuous activity with short bursts of intense work at regular stages throughout the activity (changes in the intensity or adjustments to the training environment). Fartlek is a Swedish term meaning ‘speed play’. The changes in intensity use all three energy systems, which can resemble specific activities and simulates the nature of team sports. An example is an athlete, while running, performs 5-10 seconds of intense work every 3-4 minutes.
Circuit training involves working at a number of activity stations in a sequence. There are generally 5 – 15 stations that focus on specific components of fitness. Circuits are able to develop a number of fitness components, including aerobic power, strength, power, local muscular endurance and agility.
There are three types of circuit:
Fixed load – each station has a set number of reps to be completed
Fixed time – completion of as many reps as possible in the allotted time.
Individual load – individually designed where the person performs the maximum reps at each station for one minute. These are then halved and the person completes the circuit 3 times to determine an initial time. Target time is then set at two thirds of the initial time.
Circuit Training 14 min Target time 21 min Initial time 5 10 Shuttle run 3 6 Ladder climb 10 20 Medicine ball throw 25 50 Step-ups 10 20 Basketball throw 3 6 Agility run 25 50 Push-ups 30 60 Sit-ups 25 50 Skipping Date Date Half score 1 min score Stations
Builds strength, power, or local muscular endurance by exercising muscle groups against a resistance. It is important to identify the muscle groups involved and the actions performed that reflect the needs of your sport. Strength training needs to be performed a minimum of 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes for a minimum of 6 weeks, for adaptation to occur. Generally it is high weights and low reps for strength and low weights – high reps for endurance.
There are 3 types of resistance training:
ISOTONIC (free weights)
Dynamic and involves lifting a set weight through the range of motion of a joint.
There are two distinct phases, the concentric phase (where the muscle contracts against the force of gravity) and the eccentric phase (where the muscle lengthens under tension with the force of gravity)
The muscle is not being trained maximally at the strongest point of contraction.
ISOMETRIC (fixed resistance)
Holding a muscle in one position while it contracts against a resistance.
Tension in the muscle increases but the muscle stays the same length
Effective in improving strength but only in the static position
Examples include pushing against a stationary resistance (handstand, crucifix on the roman rings, martial arts and wrestling).
ISOKINETIC (resistance by machines)
Undertaken on Nautiliaus, Cybex, Biodex, or Hydrogym equipment.
Machines create resistance so that the muacles are worked maximally through the full range not just the weakest points.
Machines control momentum, velocity and direction of movement so complete specificity is not possible.
Aims to increase muscular power by firstly stretching a muscle, then contracting it in the shortest possible time. It is known as a stretch reflex or stretch shortening cycle. Plyometrics trains this reflex to make it faster and more forceful.
There is a general concern about the safety and appropriateness of plyometrics. The following table outlines the different stress levels and recovery time:
Depth jumps 3 days 5 Very high stress Hops, bounds, long jumps 2 days 4 High stress Stair jumps, short jumps 1 – 2 days 3 Moderate stress Tuck jumps 1 day 2 Low stress Jump rope, ankle bounces Very rapid 1 Very low stress Example Recovery time Rating
Flexibility training improves the range of motion (ROM) at desired joints. It is important for maximum performance. The requirements of flexibility vary for each sport. In some sports, large range of joint motion is required in order to perform certain skills. For improvements to occur training frequency needs to be 3 – 4 times per week for a minimum of 4 weeks.
There are 4 types of stretching techniques, which can be used:
Static/ Passive stretching – taking the joint to its full range of motion and holding it for 20-30 seconds. This is the safest method and is most effective in warm-down after exercise.
Active stretching – stretching as far as possible ten slowly contracting the agonist while relaxing the antagonist.
Proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) – involves fully lengthening the muscle. A partner moves your muscle through the full ROM until the first hint of discomfort, then provides resistance as your muscle is contracted isometrically this is held for 6 seconds.
Ballistic stretching – involves moving through ROM using the momentum created rather than muscle contractions (rhythmically bouncing to gradually increase the range of motion). This is potentially dangerous and only specifically conditioned athletes such as dancers and gymnasts should use this type of stretching.
Training programs are designed to improve the physiological capacity of an athlete that results in a personal best performance. Undertaking an activity analysis identifies the demands of the sport, and training must be designed to develop physiological capacity to meet these demands.
When designing a training program for an athlete or team, it is vital to identify the following:
Predominant energy systems
Major muscle groups
Required fitness components
Once these factors have been identified, appropriate training methods can be decided. Individual training sessions and the entire training year must be also developed and are detailed in the following sections.
Each training session should include a warm up which includes flexibility exercises, followed by conditioning which includes skill development and tactics and finally a cool down to enable recovery.
Warm Up and Stretching
A warm up stimulates the central nervous system and prepares the body physiologically and psychologically including activating the required energy systems, major joints and muscles. The athlete should experience increased blood flow, raised muscle temperature and sweating in response to a warm up.
Stretching is necessary so that the range of motion around a joint can be increased. It also reduces the risk of injury and is more beneficial after a warm up when the body is warm.
This period incorporates most of the training session. It includes skill development, game tactics, demonstrations, technique analysis and discussion. It is designed on the specific requirements of the sport being played.
This period follows conditioning and is the reverse of the warm up. This is achieved through gradually reducing the intensity of the activity and incorporating flexibility work. Cool down assists in recovery by dissipating lactic acid reducing muscle soreness and stiff joints.
Framework for developing an aerobic floor class. 5 – 10 minutes 2 tracks Recovery exercises to assist in cardiovascular adjustments; includes stretching to prevent muscle soreness and maintain flexibility
10 minutes 3 tracks Using gravity, weights, sandbags or partners for resistance: exercises designed to improve strength/tone of muscles
Strength / tone
15 – 20 minutes 6 tracks Exercise routines, jogging, running, dance exercises using large muscle groups: non stop exercise
5 minutes 2 tracks Slow, controlled stretching of body parts to be used: may use PNF or static stretches
5 minutes 2 tracks Light aerobic activity using those parts of the body required in later vigorous movements ie legs, trunk, shoulders, arms
Time (minutes) No. of music tracks Components Activity
The training year can be divided into three main periods including pre-season, competition and post season.
Pre-season (the Preparatory phase)
This period aims at providing a solid fitness foundation for the competition phase.
Subphase 1 generally lasts 4 – 10 weeks and places emphasis on the aerobic energy system. The volume of training is high, but the intensity begins low and increases very slowly. Specialised programs to remedy any specific weaknesses should be continued in this phase.
Subphase 2 lasts from 2 – 6 weeks and is a more specific preparatory phase. There is a shift towards more specific game related fitness and skill work. There is an increase in intensity with a slow decrease in volume.
Fitness testing is also carried out during this phase so that weaknesses can be amended.
This stage generally lasts 4 – 6 months with an emphasis on skill and strategy, whilst maintaining pre-season fitness. Because of the demands of competition, not every session should be long and intense. Sessions later in the week should be lighter and less intense so that players are not still recovering from fatigue on competition day. Intensity of activity and drills performed should be aimed to have the same intensity as the competition.
Post Season (the transition or off-season phase)
The off-season phase generally lasts 6 – 12 weeks and should be both a psychological and physical break from your sport.
Athletes need to gradually reduce the level of activity but also avoid detraining. Maintenance of a suitable level of fitness and ‘playing weight’ is required.
The off-season period should also include specialised weight training and skill development to remedy any diagnosed weaknesses. This may include low intensity weight training and running twice a week, supplemented by active recreational games for enjoyment.
The training year Pre-season: Develop energy systems Practice individual skills Develop team play patterns (3 months) In-season: Practice individual skills and team play Maintain energy systems (5 months) Off-season: Remain physically active Remedy diagnosed weaknesses in physical profile (4 months)
Physiological Responses and Adaptations to Exercise
Maintained elasticity of artery walls.
Diminished fatty deposits.
Low risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Capillary supply to heart and skeletal muscles increases.
Blood volume increases.
Hemoglobin count increases.
Oxygen-carrying capacity of blood increases.
Systolic blood pressure increases.
Speed of blood flow increases.
Body temperature increases.
Arterio-venous O 2 diff increases.
Redistribution of blood flow.
Resting HR decreases.
SV increases during rest & work.
Blood supply to heart muscle increases during rest & work.
Volume of left ventricle increases after aerobic training.
Hypertrophy of the left ventricle after anaerobic training.
To evaluate a training program efficiently, it is critical that accurate and valid pre-tests and post-tests fitness are conducted. Results of before the training program and after completing the training program should give a good guide as to whether or not the program is successful.
Key factors in evaluating a training program include:
Has there been improvement in:
Did I achieve my training program goals?
Have any factors enhanced participation in the training program?
Was the training schedule adhered to?
How can the training program be improved?
Choose a different or more suitable method of training or modify the current method?
Apply the principles of training (specificity, overload, frequency etc) more effectively? How?