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Fitness Program Components

What Constitutes Fitness?
        Fitness can be discussed in terms of health or performance.
Health Related Performance Related 
  • Body Composition
  • Cardiovascular Endurance
  • Muscular Strength
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Power
  • Speed & Quickness
  • Agility/Coordination
  • Balance
  • Motor Skill

      Fitness may be described as a set of attributes that an individual has acquired which increases their ability to perform physical activities. The diagram below (Fig 1) outlines the general components which make up and are required for physical fitness in sport. Mental fitness and diet could also be included, however, the diagram only refers to the main components of fitness which require physical activity and which bring about physiological changes in the body.

Source -
Intro of Fitness

Source -

Report on Physical Activity and Health
        The 1996 U.S. Surgeon General's "Report on Physical Activity and Health" is a landmark document that emphasizes the important link between physical fitness and American health. In a 2011 research report, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports sought to broaden the definition of physical fitness laid down in the Surgeon General's report, subcategorizing skill-related fitness as "those compon- ents of physical fitness that have a relationship with enhanced performance in sports and motor skills."

        The components of a skill-related fitness program includes agility, balance, coordination, power, speed and reaction time.

General Physical Skills
       There are ten recognized general physical skills. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, speed, balance, and accuracy. You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills.

       Different components of fitness will recieve more or less emphasis in a training program depending on the specific needs of each sport.

  • Cardiovascular/Respiratory Endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
  • Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
  • Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
  • Flexibility - The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
  • Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
  • Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
  • Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
  • Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
  • Balance - The ability to control the placement of the body's center of gravity in relation to its support base.
  • Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
Source -  CrossFitLakeTahoe

Explanations of Common Terminology

Frequency - Refers to the quantity of training sessions during a defined period of time, often a week. For example, an elite athletes may train twice a day, 5 times a week.

Intensity - Is defined by how hard a player trains. The training instensity must be balanced by the fact that too much exercise can lead to injury and fatigue and lower levels will not produce the dedsired results. Elite players can train longer and harder than players at a lower level. Intensity is linked to the principle of progressive overload - the number of repetitions and how many exercises/sets done.

Progressive overload & duration - Training programs should consider the physiological mechanisms of each athlete with the goal of  causing an improvement in the targeted area. The simple repetition of  the same fitness exercises for for extended periods of time will not guarentee improvement. Training status will bnefit by gradually increasing the load that the body is working against. Incorrect overload may bring injury and demotivation due to over-zealous targets. The duration is the time spent in a training session and is dependent upon the sport and individual.

Type of exercise & Specificity - All training sessions and types of exercises must be designed to achieve specific requirements of each individual sport and the needs of the athlete.

Reversibility - "Use it or lose it !" What is gained through training will eventually be reduced or lost if exercise is stopped or reduced. A sufficient level of general activity should be planned during periods of inactivity between competitive seasons.

Recovery - Each athlete must  be carefully monitored. The recovery period must be adjusted or the benefits can be lost due too short a recovery time can lead to over training again resulting in injury. Too long a recovery period will result in a serious loss of previous gains. This may cause the athlete to start their new training season at too high a burst of enthusiasm which also can result in injuries related to over training.

      Improvements in performance depend upon the training methods used. Frequency, intensity, progressive overload, type of exercise, & specificity and recovery all play a part in determining performance.

       Fitness components are general qualities that everyone should participate in to extend their quality of live as they age. Fitness is a critical component of a healthy and active retirement. These components are the foundation of exercise/training programs.

       Administrators recognize that the key to a complete individual is achieved through physical activities that can be satisfied through recreational/sporting activities that hopefully will continue after graduation. As a result, physical fitness is stressed in US colleges and universities.

      Many schools have established Recreational Departments that work in conjunction with Health Services to promote a variety of recreational activities and sport leagues to provide opportunities for part and full-time students to participate in competitive events while attending college. Students who participate have available a sports medicine program to treat and rehabilitate any injuries that may occur while training and competing.

       These recreational student athletes can range in their level of their training intensity and their desire to win. Mostly these individuals benefit from the camaraderie of participation without the "Win at any cost" that is so prevalent in NCAA levels of sports activities.


The ability to sustain submaximal activity for extended periods of time. It involves muscular endurance (the ability of a muscle to contract repeatedly) and cardio fitness (the ability of the heart, lungs, and hormonal systems to deliver oxygen and fuel to the muscles). 

Muscular Strength
The ability to move a maximum weight. It can also be described as the maximum amount of force that a muscle can generate in a single effort. The need is to make significant strength gains, muscles fibers (cells) gain size.
The ability to perform body movements to different tempos or rhythms.
The time elapsed from the start of the movement to end of the movement and movement.
The skater's coverage over the ice. Also involves an acceleration of force.
Agility Fitness
The ability to move quickly and change directions under control to execute sport skills. It is a composite of many fitness components - speed, power, strength, balance, flexibility, reaction time, and coordination.
The ability achieve a wide range of joint motion allowing optimal flexibility and performance.

The ability to maintain a static or dynamic position. Static balance is when the skater is not moving. Dynamic balance is when the skater maintains equilibrium while moving.
The ability to move smoothly and efficiently that is specific to each figure skating discipline.

Joint Stability
Injuries inherent in the sport can be minimized or prevented with joint strengthening. Athletic trainers need to perform tests to determine weaknesses or threats to joint integrity. It may be advisable incorporate additional single joint exercises, such as hamstring curls, leg extensions for quadriceps, and ankle strengthening activities.

Trunk Strength and Stability
Extensions and bending are examples of movements that require adequate trunk strength and stability, particularly when changing directions rapidly.  It is essential to incorporate a variety of core strengthening exercises in a skater's training plan.
Monitoring progress to determine an athlete's best competitive weight for greatest agility fitness.

Recommended Reading:

Body Composition - Understanding Body Compositiob Oct. 27, 2008 ... Body composition refers to the amount of relative fat to muscle you have in your body. What you need to know about body composition.

Understanding Body Composition Efforts to achieve thinness are often based on popular misconceptions about body weight and body composition. Being thin does not necessarily reduce one's health risk. In fact, obsession with becoming thin often leads to serious eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Thinness simply refers to weighing less than the recommended values in age-height-weight tables. Leanness, on the other hand, refers to the muscle, bone, and fat composition of your body weight. Although some lean individuals may actually weigh more than their "tabled" ideal body weight, low body fat lessens the risk of health problems.

Body Composition is an online body composition website where you can enter your measurements and the online program will calculate your percent body fat.

Body Composition Tests  The tests described below provide a way of measuring current levels of body composition components and for determining changes over time.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

Fitness Training Plans
Fitness Exercises
Fitness Components For All Ages
Exercising Programs
Firehouse Fitness
Benefits of General Physical Preparedness
Fitness for Sports & Life Activities
Fitness Program Components
PDF  Sports Medicine Links

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