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The Components Of Fitness – Part 1

Avatar for Hadyn Luke Hadyn Luke posted this on Friday 27th of November 2020 Hadyn Luke 27/11/2020


The Components Of Fitness – Part 1

In an earlier blog we looked at The difference between health and fitness and mentioned eight components of fitness that personal trainers and fitness instructors incorporate into training programmes.

Here’s a more in-depth look at four of these eight components of fitness, how to test for them and exercises that will help to develop them.

1. Cardiovascular endurance

What is it? The performance of your heart and lungs and the amount of oxygen reaching them during high intensity exercise.

Why is it important? It indicates overall physical health and fitness, as well as how well your heart and respiratory system are working. The better your cardiovascular endurance, the more oxygen will reach your heart and lungs, allowing you to carry out physical activity for longer. It can also help with sleep and weight loss, regulate blood sugar levels, strengthen your immune system and reduce the risk of conditions such as Type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

How can a personal trainer test and train for it?

Testing: Using tools like The Bruce Protocol (treadmill test), step test (stepping on to a bench) or shuttle run (running back and forth between two points) the trainer can take their client to fatigue and calculate their VO2 max (maximum oxygen intake) by measuring their heart rate at the start and end.

Training: Cardio exercises such as running, skipping, cycling, rowing, stair climber, or High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) combining different exercises in a programme of circuit training.

2. Muscular strength and endurance

What is it? Muscular strength is measured by the amount of weight you can pull, push or lift, while muscular endurance is how long your muscles can work effectively before you reach fatigue.

Why is it important? Muscular strength and endurance will help you to perform functional movements in everyday life and make it less likely that you will injure yourself, as well as improving your energy levels, sleep and bone density. Muscular endurance will also improve your balance.

How can a personal trainer test and train for it?

Testing: Exercises such as plank hold, static squat and push ups will allow a personal trainer to measure the strength and endurance of different muscles.

Training: Lifting weights, plyometrics, kettlebell workouts, plank, push ups, chest press, shoulder press, bicep curls, triceps dips.

3. Agility and flexibility

What is it? Agility and flexibility relate to the body’s ability to move and flex in different directions with speed, ease and control.

Why is it important? Aids performance and reduces the likelihood of injury when playing sport, improves your natural reflexes and makes it easier to carry out everyday movements.

Testing: Tests for agility usually involve running or jumping with forward, backward and lateral movements, e.g. the T test, the Quadrant test, the Reactive Shuttle. For flexibility, tests include the sit and reach, toe touch or side bend.

Training: For agility: circuit training, lateral plyometric jumps, speed ladder drills, shuttle runs; for flexibility: static or dynamic stretches, yoga poses, side bends, trunk rotation, lunge with spinal twist, knee drops.

4. Balance and co-ordination

What is it? Balance is the ability to control the position of your body, whether it is still or moving (static or dynamic); co-ordination is the ability to move smoothly and efficiently. They are also related to proprioception, our awareness of how the body orients itself.

Why is it important? Improves joint stability and reaction time, reduces the risk of injury and falls, helps with functional movements such as walking up and down stairs.

Testing: For balance: one-leg stands e.g. stork stand, beam walk, wobble board, Y-Balance test; for co-ordination, tests with a ball (throwing, catching, hitting), Stick Flip test.

Training: Tai chi, skipping, juggling, one-leg stands, single-leg deadlift, lateral lunges, plank and other core stability training, exercises using a stability ball or wobble board, neuromotor exercises.

In a future blog we will look at four more components of fitness: Body Composition, Power, Speed and Reaction Time. For optimum all-round health and fitness, it’s best to carry out a range of exercises, rather than focus only on one kind of movement.

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