Physical Fitness can be defined as:“the ability to carry out daily tasks (work and play) with vigour andalertness, without undue fatigue and with ample reserve energy toenjoy leisure time pursuits and to meet unforeseen emergencies.”
Physical fitness is an individual matter related to thespecific needs of each individual, theirstrengths, weaknesses and interests and therequirements of their chosen sport. Since all of thesefactors can change, fitness should not be seen as astatic thing.
The following are additional components that aremotor-skill related:•speed•muscular power•agility•coordination•balance•reaction time
Rarely in sport are fitness components utilised in isolation.It is the interaction of a number of components thatproduces the performance•muscular power, for instance, depends upon muscularstrength and speed•agility could be said to be a combination ofpower, speed, flexibility, balance, coordination andreaction time•local muscular endurance depends on strength
Cardio-respiratory endurance is also commonly called•circulo-respiratory endurance•aerobic endurance•aerobic capacity•aerobic power.This is the ability of the heart, lungs and blood vessels to deliver oxygen andnutrients to the tissues of the body and to remove waste products such ascarbon dioxide. In this way energy is made available to the working muscles.Cardio-respiratory endurance is most evident•at rest;•during sustained activity involving the whole body, such asrunning, swimming and cycling long distances; and during recovery.•It is the most essential physical fitness component, evident in everydayactivities and in most team sports. Most of the benefits attributable toimproved physical fitness are in fact due to increased cardio-respiratoryendurance.
•Muscular strength is the ability of a muscle to generate a force against aresistance•It is often misunderstood or confused with other components such asanaerobic power, muscular power and local muscular endurance.•Muscular strength is an integral part of all of these components and israrely used in isolation.•It is important in many sports, for example those in which we try to gain ormaintain position against an opponent, or in which we aim to move anobject, our body or some body part, forcefully
AgeMaximal strength for both males and females is attained at around 25to 30 years of age.SexThere is no discernible difference between the sexes in performanceon fitness tests, including strength tests until puberty. Females tend tofinish their development earlier that males.After puberty an untrained female has approximately two-thirds ofthe strength of an untrained male.. This is due to the fact that maleshave a greater muscle mass and therefore a greater cross-sectionalarea than females.Cross-sectional area (size)The greater the cross-sectional area of a muscle, the greater thestrength (this applies to both sexes).
Muscle shape and locationThe multipennate arrangement of muscle fibres (for example in thequadriceps) is shorter and stronger but slower than the fusiformarrangement (for example in the hamstrings), which is longer andweaker, but faster.Strength is specific to a muscle or group of muscles. You can have strongquadriceps but weak hamstrings (a common factor in torn hamstrings).Muscle fibre typeAthletes have two types of muscle fibre. •White, fast-twitch (FT) fibres produce more force than red, slow-twitch (ST) fibres, but fatigue more rapidly. •Red, slow-twitch fibres are therefore recruited for low-intensity (submaximal), prolonged aerobic work such as endurance activities.As the intensity of the activity increases, more FT fibres are activated.
Speed of contractionA muscle can generate greatest force when no movement at alloccurs, for example during an isometric contraction. As speed ofmovement increases, force decreases.Type of muscular contractionThere are three types of contractions (or muscular actions) that the athleteuses when applying strength: •static or isometric contractions •isotonic contractions, which may be either concentric or eccentric; •isokinetic contractions.
The ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain an activity for a shorttime in the face of considerable local fatigue is known as local muscularendurance.Local muscular endurance tasks such as push-ups, sit-ups and chin-upsrequire additional anaerobic energy to that supplied aerobically. •This is because the pressure of the contracting muscles causes almost complete occlusion (blocking) of the blood vessels that supply the muscle tissue. •Since oxygen cannot be provided to the working muscles (even at submaximal levels) the muscles are dependent upon the sources of energy immediately available within the muscle itself, ATP and creatine phosphate (phosphocreatine), and subsequently, the breakdown of glycogen anaerobically.The exact factors limiting the duration of local muscular endurance are notfully understood, but recent research suggests that the accumulation offatigue causing lactic acid is the most likely cause (rather than thedepletion of anaerobic energy stores, the phosphagens ATP and PC).
AgeOlder men and women fatigue more rapidly than their youngercounterparts, although the loss of endurance is less than might beexpected.SexThere is no significant difference in muscular endurance due to sex, if thestrength factor is ruled out (or equal).CirculationImproved peripheral circulation due to increased quantities of bloodvessels in active muscle tissue as a result of training is one of the mostimportant factors in the development of muscular endurance.Tolerance of lactic acidThe degree to which an athlete can tolerate high levels of lactic acid inher muscles appears to be the most significant factor in limitingperformance in local muscular endurance activities.
Anaerobic power refers to the ability to produce energy without usingoxygen.The efficiency of the ATP-PC and Lactic Acid systems is therefore a centralfactor in anaerobic power.The greater the efficiency of these anaerobic pathways, the greater theathletes anaerobic power.
Speed refers to the ability to move the whole body or a body part from onepoint to another in the shortest possible time. •This typically occurs when the athlete is participating in an activity of short duration and high intensity, which therefore utilises the anaerobic pathways. •It is characterised by activities such as sprinting; the run-up in long jump, triple jump and javelin in athletics; speed skating and the run-up to vault in gymnastics. An exchange of volleys in tennis and a slips catch from a fast bowler in cricket could also be regarded as speed activities. •It will ultimately be limited by the capacity of her anaerobic energy systems (anaerobic power)Speed and genetics :•the size of bones•angle of joints;•the position of attachments of ligaments and tendons•the proportion of white, fast-twitch fibres •the more white, fast- twitch muscle fibres, the greater the potential for speed
Flexibility refers to the range of possible movement about a joint orsequence of joints.•It is the ability to move your joints, to bend, stretch and twist body partsreadily.•Flexibility has important implications for injury prevention, freedom ofmovement and aesthetic appearance.•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, for example, the arm action in backstroke, or the follow-through when kicking a ball. •Static flexibility is concerned with determining ones ability to move a joint to its maximum range of motions, for example, when doing the splits. The position, once attained, is held static.•A certain degree of flexibility is desirable, but the degree is dependentupon the type of activity undertaken. Swimmers, for example, require a levelof flexibility in the wrist and ankle joints that could prove undesirable for afootballer, who requires these joints to be quite stable.•Flexibility, along with body composition and strength, is one of the mostreadily modified components of fitness.
Joint structureThe more stable the joint, the greater the strength but the less movement or flexibility itallows. The ball and socket joint of the hip, for example, is more stable than the shoulder joint but allows less movement.Length of muscles at rest Muscles tend to shorten, with a corresponding loss of flexibility about the associatedjoints, if they are at rest (not exercised) for extended periods of time, for example due toa sedentary lifestyle.AgeAlmost from birth, and progressively as we age, we lose flexibilitySexFemales tend to be more flexible than males due to hormonal differences resultingin, for example, less muscle bulk.Body buildExcessive adipose (fat) tissue or muscle bulk may limit an individuals flexibility.Disease Diseases such as arthritis (causing prolonged inactivity or malformed bones and joints)result in reduced flexibility.
Muscular power is the ability to exert a “maximal" contraction in oneexplosive act.•It is dependent upon the interaction of two other components offitness, strength and speed.•A muscle that contracts very quickly has insufficient time to developmaximum force, whereas a very forceful contraction takes time, resulting inslow movement.•Muscular power is exemplified by explosive activities such as the shotput, discus, hammer-throw and jumping events in athletics; the rebound inbasketball; the leap of a dancer.•The energy for muscular power is provided anaerobically via the ATP-PCsystem.
Agility is the ability to change direction accurately and quickly while movingrapidly•It is a composite of a number of components includingpower, speed, flexibility, balance and coordination.•Is characterised by activities such as dodging, baulking, weaving andrecovery in team games like basketball and football and the ability to changedirection quickly in games like squash and tennis.Coordination is the smooth flow of movement in the execution of a physicaltask.•It is often considered to be the common denominator of all the skill-relatedcomponents of fitness.•It involves the nervous system and the skeletal-muscular system workingharmoniously in hand-eye and foot-eye coordination activities such as thetiming of the ball-toss and racquet-swing in tennis; the lay-up in basketball; thespike in volleyball and ball control with the foot in soccer.•It is also exemplified by the integration of the arm and leg action inbreaststroke.
Balance can be defined as the ability to maintain the equilibrium of thebody.•Static balance involves maintaining the equilibrium in one fixedposition, for example, a held position on the balance beam or parallelbars in gymnastics.•Dynamic balance involves maintaining the equilibrium while moving, forexample walking, rolling or leaping on the balance beam or swinging onthe parallel bars; water-skiing; horse riding; skateboarding or in-lineskating.•Balance is an essential element of most sports, but physical fitness gainscan be achieved without appreciable improvements in balance beyondthe normal range.
Reaction time refers to the athletes ability to process information viathe nervous system and react.•It involves the time it takes for the brain to •receive information from the senses (particularly the eyes and ears), •process the information, •formulate a response •and transmit this response to the motor units (nerves and connected muscle fibres) and for the muscles to contract (the reaction).•An example would be the time delay between the starters gun goingoff in a sprint race and the athlete actually blasting out of the blocks.
Body composition:This is a measure of how much of your body is made up of musclecompared with how much is made up of fat. It is important to have agood balance of the two but sports players usually have a greaterproportion of muscle.Some sports performers, such as rowers, require a large muscle mass togive them lots of power and strength, but others, such as marathonrunners, require a lower muscle mass so that they don’t have to carry‘extra’ body mass as they are running. Some sports performers, such assumo wrestlers, even require quite a large mass of body fat to besuccessful.Everyone is born with a predisposition to a particular bodycomposition, although small changes can be made by varying your dietand the amount/type of exercise that you take part in. The importantthing is to have the correct body composition for your sport
•Beep Test•VO2 Max test (Maximum oxygenuptake )•Yo-Yo endurance tests(intermittent)
Most people take part in weight training in order to increasetheir strength. Other reasons include improving muscle tone or musclesize.Most forms of weight training are:IsotonicOrIsometric
Isotonic trainingIsotonic training means the muscles contract and shorten to producemovement. Examples include a push-up or squatAdvantages -•Strengthens the muscle throughout the range of motion•Can be adapted easily to suit different sportsDisadvantages -•Muscle soreness after exercise because of the high stress levels•Muscles gain the most strength when theyre at their weakest point ofaction
Isometric trainingIsometric training means muscles contract but there is no movement atthe muscle or joint. For example the wall sit exercise (stand with your backto a wall and bend the knees into a squat position and hold).Advantages -• Develops static strength•Inexpensive and easy to perform nearly anywhere as little equipment isrequiredDisadvantages -•Muscles gain most strength at the angle used in exercise•Avoid if you have heart problems as they cause a rise in blood pressuredue to a drop in blood flow to the muscle during this contraction.
The following types of exercise are good for improving your cardiovascularendurance:•Continuous training•Interval Training•Fartlek training•Circuit training
Continuous trainingThis type of exercise is, as the name suggests, continuous! Rests are notallowed. To achieve this you must exercise at a constant rate which iswithin your aerobic training zone (60-80% max heart rate). Continuoustraining should last for bouts of at least 20 minutes (when starting) up to2 hours or more! (think of a marathon!)Advantages -•Needs only a small amount of easy to use, accessible equipment, ifany•Good for aerobic fitness•Good for losing weightDisadvantages -•can be boring•Doesnt improve anaerobic fitness so isnt as good for team games likefootball or hockey which involve short bursts of speed
Interval trainingIntervals are periods of exercising hard, with rest or low intensity periodsinbetween. For example you may run 100 meters at 85% and then 200 at50% to recover. This is one rep. You may perform this 5-10 times, whichwould complete the set.Advantages -•Can mix aerobic and anaerobic exercise which replicates team games•It makes it easier for a coach to see when the athlete isnt tryingDisadvantages -•It can be hard to keep going when you start to fatigue•Can become boring
Fartlek trainingFartlek involves training at a continuous exercise, but varying the intensityand type of exercise. For example, a running session could includesprinting for 10 seconds, fast walking for 20 seconds, jogging for 1 minuteand repeating this. You can also add in things like running uphill or onsand.Advantages -• Good for sports which require changes in pace•Easily adapted to suit the individuals level of fitness and sportDisadvantages -•Too easy to skip the hard bits•Can be difficult to see how hard someone is trying!
Circuit trainingCircuits can be used to increase either strength, aerobic fitness or both!There are usually between 8 and 15 stations and at each one you do adifferent exercise for 1 minute. At the end you then move on to the nextstation. Rest can be incorporated depending on the level of theparticipants.Advantages -•Less boring because it changes all the time•Can be easily adapted for strength or endurance or different sports etcDisadvantages -•Takes a while to set up•Takes a lot of equipment
•Plyometric training can be used to develop fast twitch muscle fibres(WHITE) so that you can get power particularly in the legs.• It’s based on the idea that a shortening muscular contraction is muchstronger if it immediately follows a lengthening contraction of the samemuscle.•Muscle fibres transfer energy more quickly and powerfully when theymove in this way. It’s like stretching fully a coiled spring and then lettingit go; energy is released rapidly as the spring recoils.•Individuals can use activities such as hopping, depth jumping andbounding.•Pylometric training should be implemented under supervision, since thetechnique and strength necessary to do the activities is broken byperiods of rest to minimize injury.