In this Blog series special we examine the 7 components of fitness and how they affect our body’s performance. Some of the components sit on a spectrum with absolute strength being at one end and long distance endurance being at the other. Other components describe how our body moves.
The 7 components of fitness describe 7 functional capabilities of the body. They are:
- Muscular Endurance
- Cardiovascular Endurance
Strength can be described as the maximum amount of force applied during a particular motion. This movement at this strength will be depleted after one of two repetitions because the fuel required for this movement will be depleted. Resistance training is usually employed to train this component and specifically, high weights and low repetitions will be used.
Muscular Endurance can be described as your muscles ability to exert continuous contractions for an extended period of time. Because the moves aren’t at maximum force and fuel can continuously be supplied they will be for tens of minutes or hours, such as a triathlon or marathon. Endurance training is made up of moderate to low weights and high repetitions are used to train muscles for this component.
Cardiovascular Endurance is the capacity of the heart lung system. It is the ability to deliver high volumes of highly oxygenated blood to muscles to fuel work for extended perions of time. A good CV system is required for any exercise greater than 10-20 seconds in duration to remove waste and replenish energy supplies.
Flexibility is the ability to safely stretch muscle, ie splits, back arching etc. Flexibility is an attribute needed for sports people to avoid injury through unintended overstretching. Also flexibility is a highly regarded attribute for gymnasts to assist with intriguing artistic bodily displays.
Power can thought of and is often call muscular endurance. Its the repeated rate of work a muscle can perform over a period of time. Power training is used to enhance muscular endurance, so the body is fit enough to deliver high rates of work over time. Low to moderate weights with high repetitions are used to train this component.
This component is self evident and is considered a high burst lasting less than 20 seconds. Speed training is trains the (various components of the body’s) ability to deliver energy continuously. At this rate the body can’t keep up with the removal of lactic acid and this will eventually inhibit muscular contraction. Typically sprints training is the best form of training for speed. The various componenes in volve getting the heart rate up quickly enough to deliver energy and remove lactid acid, the ability of the lungs to get oxygen in to the system, the neuromuscular ability of muscles to fire at maximum rate in sequence, the storage of adequate amounts in the muscle for use. (ther conversion from glucose to ATP is too slow).
This is the ability for muscles to fire and antagonistic (opposite) muscles to fire to slow movement and change direction quickly. Training in starting and stopping and changing direction is best to develop this component in muscles.