COMPONENTS OF FITNESS.


0.- INTRODUCTION.
1.- STRENGTH.
2.- FLEXIBILITY.
3.- ENDURANCE.
4.- SPEED.
5.- COORDINATION.
6.- BALANCE.
7.- AGILITY.
8.- POWER.




0.- INTRODUCTION


One of the misconceptions in the sports world is that a sports person gets in shape by just playing or taking part in his/her chosen sport. If a stationary level of performance, consistent ability in executing a few limited skills is your goal, then engaging only in your sport will keep you there. However, if you want the utmost efficiency, consistent improvement, and balanced abilities sportsmen and women must participate in year round conditioning programs. The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress. Sportsmen and women must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress overload to increase physical capabilities.


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When planning a well-rounded exercise program, it is important to understand the five components of physical fitness and how your training affects them. The components include: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. In general, achieving an adequate level of fitness in all five categories is essential to good health.





1.- STRENGTH.




DEFINITION: The amount of force a muscle can exert against a resistance. Also defined as The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

EXAMPLE: Pushing with all one’s force in a rugby scrum against the resistance of the opposition pack.



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TYPES OF STRENGTH: The classifications of strength are:

  • Maximum strength - the greatest force that is possible in a single maximum contraction.
  • Elastic strength - the ability to overcome a resistance with a fast contraction.
  • Strength endurance - the ability to express force many times over.


ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE STRENGTH:

  • Absolute strength - The maximum force an athlete can exert with his or her whole body, or part of the body, irrespective of body size or muscle size
  • Relative strength - The maximum force exerted in relation to body weight or muscle size.

HOW TO TEST STRENGTH: Overhead med (medicine) ball throw in test:
  • The subject stands at a line with the feet side by side and slightly apart
  • Stand facing the direction to which the ball is to be thrown.
  • The ball is held with the hands on the side and slightly behind the center. The throwing action is similar to that used for a soccer/football sideline throw-in.
  • The ball is brought back behind the head, then thrown vigorously forward as far as possible.
  • The subject is permitted to step forward over the line after the ball is released, and is in fact encouraged to do so in maximizing the distance of the throw.
  • Three attempts are allowed.

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2.- FLEXIBILITY.

  • Maximum strength - the greatest force that is possible in a single maximum contraction.
  • Elastic strength - the ability to overcome a resistance with a fast contraction.
  • Strength endurance - the ability to express force many times over.


DEFINITION: Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of your joints or the ability of your joints to move freely. It also refers to the mobility of your muscles, which allows for more movement around the joints. Range of motion is the distance and direction your joints can move, while mobility is the ability to move without restriction.

STRETCHING TIPS:
Flexibility is often overlooked in conditioning programs, but it is just as important to fitness as aerobics or strength training. One way to improve flexibility is to incorporate stretching into your fitness routine. Stretching during and after you workout, can help ward off stiffness and keep you limber.
Here are a few things to remember when stretching:
  • Always warm up before stretching. Stretching when your muscles are cold could lead to injuries.
  • Stretch your entire body.
  • Hold your stretch for at least 15 to 30 seconds, but do not bounce.
  • Stretch to the point where you feel some mild tension. If you feel any pain, stop and pull back until you feel no pain.
  • Breathe normally when stretching; never hold your breath.


EXAMPLE: For example, you might be very flexible in
hamstrings, allowing you to bend over and touch your toes.


TYPES OF FLEXIBILITY: There are different types of stretching to improve flexibility.

  • Static stretching - You move into a position that lengthens a target muscle and hold the position for 15-60 seconds. It's best to remember to breathe as you hold each stretch.
  • Dynamic stretching - You move in an out of a position that lengthens a target muscle. Dynamic stretches often involve a gentle bouncing movement and are sometimes called ballistic stretches.
  • Active isolated stretching (AIS) - You move your joint through a complete range of motion, holding the end point only briefly, then return to the starting point and repeat. Many athletes and active exercisers use active isolated stretching to prevent injuries or muscle imbalance.



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HOW TO TEST FLEXIBILITY: Sit and reach flexibility test. The sit and reach test is a common measure of flexibility, and specifically measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstring muscles.

  • This test involves sitting on the floor with legs stretched out straight ahead. Shoes should be removed.
  • The soles of the feet are placed flat against the box.
  • Both knees should be locked and pressed flat to the floor - mates may assist by holding them down.
  • With the palms facing downwards, and the hands on top of the bench side by side.
  • The subject reaches forward along the measuring line as far as possible.
  • Ensure that the hands remain at the same level, not one reaching further forward than the other.
  • After some practice reaches, the subject reaches out and holds that position for at one-two seconds while the distance is recorded.
  • Make sure there are no jerky movements.



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3.- ENDURANCE.



DEFINITION:The ability to use voluntary muscles repeatedly without tiring.


EXAMPLE: A rower repeatedly pulling their oar against the water to propel the boat towards the line.

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TYPES OF ENDURANCE:
  • Specific endurance: is the ability to stand against fatigue in sport specific conditions. The better your sport specific endurance, the better you perform at this specific sport. It can be characterised as a combination of various types of endurance you need to maximize your ability to succeed in your discipline. Basically this is what everybody does for their own sports – for example, if you’re a 1500m runner, you use a combination of endurance training methods to perform better at your specific distance.


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  • General endurance: It charactarizes the ability of your whole body to tolerate endurance exercises and diminish fatigue. The better your general endurance the better you can stand longer efforts at various sports disciplines. For example, if you as a 1500m runner have high level general endurance, you can perform at a relativley high level also at 10K, but you can’t compete 10K runners who have been developing their distance specific endurance.



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HOW TO TEST ENDURANCE: Multi-stage fitness test (MSFT) or Beep test. How to conduct the test:
  • This test requires the athlete to run 20m in time with a beep from a CD recording. The athlete must place one foot on or beyond the 20m marker at the end of each shuttle.
  • The athlete warm up for 10 minutes.
  • The assistant measure out a 20 metre section and marks each end with marker cones
  • The assistant starts the CD and the athlete commences the test
  • If the athlete arrives at the end of a shuttle before the beep, the athlete must wait for the beep and then resume running
  • If the athlete fails to reach the end of the shuttle before the beep they should be allowed 2 or 3 further shuttles to attempt to regain the required pace before being withdrawn
  • The assistant records the level and number of shuttles completed at that level by the athlete when they are withdrawn.





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4.- SPEED.


DEFINITION: The ability to put body parts into motion quickly. Speed is the ability to move quickly across the ground or move limbs rapidly to grab or throw.

EXAMPLE:
  • Speed in American football allows players to cover ground quicker.
  • Speed in basketball allows quicker fast breaks. It allows players to get a better chance at game-winning shots as the quicker you run, the farther down the court you will have traveled in a short amount of time.
  • For baseball, it allows batters to round bases quicker and get to bases quicker. Instead of only getting to second base, they could get to third or perhaps score.



TYPES OF SPEED:

  • Reaction time is the time it takes you to respond to a stimulus (such as a goalie responding to a shot in football or the starters gun).




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  • Movement time is the time it takes to perform a movement (such as sprinting to catch an opponent or the arm speed in a golf swing).
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HOW TO TEST SPEED: Sprint or Speed Tests. The purpose of these tests are to determine acceleration, maximum running speed and speed endurance, depending on the distance run.PROCEDURE: The test involves running a single maximum sprint over a set distance, with time recorded. After a standardized warm up, the test is conducted over a certain distance, such as 30 or 50 meters. The starting position should be standardized, starting from a stationary position with a foot behind the starting line, with no rocking movements. It is usual to give the athletes an adequate warm-up and practice first, and some encouragement to continue running hard past the finish line.


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5.- COORDINATION.




DEFINITION: The ability to use two or more body parts together. It is also described as The ability to use the senses and body parts to perform tasks smoothly, efficiently, and accurately. If you are coordinated, you can make your muscles work together at just the right time to produce the exact amount of force you need to accomplish a skill smoothly.

EXAMPLE: Specific to the movement patterns of motor skills, such as platform dive or a gymnastics routine. Jumping the rope or racquet sports are also good examples of coordination involved in physical activities.


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TYPES OF COORDINATION:
  • Segmentary coordination: it refers to movements that are carried out by one single limb (arm or leg) when handling a n object such as a ball, racquet, etc. This type of coordination is Split up into another two ones:
  1. 1. Eye – foot coordination: movements are being organized by our feet and eyes, like in football.
  2. 2. Eye - hand coordination: When eyes, along with arms and hands, are being involved, as in basketball.



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  • Overall dynamic coordination: when movements are being synchronized and affect the whole body, from eyes to feet and involving trunk and limbs. A good example of this could be diving, as all parts of the swimmer/athlete must take part in the whole movement to achieve a good result when entering the water.
  • Space coordination: athlete’s movements must be adequate to meet sport’s developement, with objects and more athletes performing at the same time.



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HOW TO TEST COORDINATION: There are plenty of tests to measure this quality, depending on the type of coordination involved. A very easy example of testing the coordination could be the Plate tapping test.
The Plate Tapping Test (Reaction Tap Test) is a reaction test using an alternating wall tapping action which measures upper body reaction time, hand-eye quickness and coordination. purpose: to assess the speed and the coordination of limb movement.
Equipment required: table (adjustable height), yellow discs (20cm diameter), rectangle (30 x 20 cm), stopwatch.
Procedure: If possible, the table height should be adjusted so that the subject is standing comfortably in front of the discs. The two yellow discs are placed with their centers 60 cm apart on the table. The rectangle is placed equidistant between both discs. The non-preferred hand is placed on the rectangle. The subject moves the preferred hand back and forth between the discs over the hand in the middle as quickly as possible. This action is repeated for 25 full cycles (50 taps).
Results: The time taken to complete 25 cycles is recorded. Performed the test twice and the best result is recorded.


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6.- BALANCE.


DEFINITION: Balance is the ability to stay upright or stay in control of body movement. Also, Balance is the ability to neutralize forces that would disturb equilibrium.

EXAMPLE: Simply watching a young toddler take those first steps is evidence of this. Further evidence of balance can be seen in a variety of movements: from someone simply standing on one leg, to an intricate, dynamic movement during execution of a specific sports skill. The topic of balance gets even more interesting when one throws moving, living, breathing obstacles in an athlete’s path. For instance, the football running back must demonstrate great balance as he ricochets off defensive linemen. Or notice the balance of the basketball point guard as she weaves around players on her way to the basket.


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TYPES OF BALANCE: There are two types of balance: static and Dynamic.
  • Static balance is maintaining equilibrium when stationary, while
  • Dynamic balance is maintaining equilibrium when moving. We use our eyes, ears and 'body sense' to help retain our balance.


Coordination is a complex skill that requires not only good balance, but good levels of other fitness components such strength and agility. Balance and coordination can be improved through practice and training within specific sports.


HOW TO TEST BALANCE: A very usual test for balance is Flamingo Balance Test. This single leg balance test assesses the strength of the leg, pelvic, and trunk muscle as well as dynamic balance. Procedure: Stand on the beam with shoes removed. Keep balance by holding the instructor's hand. While balancing on the preferred leg, the free leg is flexed at the knee and the foot of this leg held close to the buttocks. Start the watch as the instructor lets go. Stop the stopwatch each time the person loses balance (either by falling off the beam or letting go of the foot being held). Start over, again timing until they lose balance. Count the number of falls in 60 seconds of balancing. If there are more than 15 falls in the first 30 seconds, the test is terminated and a score of zero is given.


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7.- AGILITY.


DEFINITION: Agility is he ability to change body position or direction of the body quickly and control the movement.
Agility is also influenced by body balance, coordination, the position of the center of gravity, as well as running speed and skill. Agility can be improved with agility training drills but also by improving the specific individual fitness elements of speed, balance, power and co-ordination.




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EXAMPLE: Agility is one of the main fitness components, important for success in many sports, such as in the team sports of football and hockey, and in individual sports of tennis and squash.

TOP 10 AGILITY SPORTS:



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HOW TO TEST AGILITY: Agility is an important component of many team sports, though it is not always tested, and is often difficult to interpret results. The Illinois Agility Test (Getchell, 1979) is a commonly used test of agility in sports, and as such there are many norms available. Procedure: The length of the course is 10 meters and the width (distance between the start and finish points) is 5 meters. Four cones are used to mark the start, finish and the two turning points. Another four cones are placed down the center an equal distance apart. Each cone in the center is spaced 3.3 meters apart.
The athlete lies face down on the floor at the “Start” cone (head to the start line) and hands by their shoulders.
On the 'Go' command the stopwatch is started, and the athlete gets up as quickly as possible and runs around the course in the direction indicated, without knocking the cones over, to the finish line, at which the timing is stopped.

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8.- POWER.


DEFINTION: The ability to exert a maximal force in as short a time as possible, as in accelerating, jumping and throwing implements.

Power = speed x strength

While strength is the maximal force you can apply against a load, power is proportional to the speed at which you can apply this maximal force. Training to improve power can include lifting weights, throwing implements such as medicine balls, running against a resistance, and plyometrics (depth jumping and bounding).

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EXAMPLE: Muscle Power is one of the main fitness components, important for success in many sports. Certain sports, such as weightlifting, boxing and weight throwing, it is one of the most important physical attributes. In many other sports, including football, good power is also very important as part of the overall fitness profile. A vote of the top sports requiring power has the obvious sport of Olympic weight lifting on top.


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TOP 13 POWER SPORTS:
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HOW TO TEST POWER: Burpee Test.
The aim of the burpee test is to assess the development of an athlete's overall power. This is a popular fitness test that is used by many coaches and sports teams.
Power in sports is essential for any sport where an athlete has to change direction at speed, such as tennis or football.

How Do You Do The Test? First, allow the athlete to practice the technique, as follows:
  • Stand erect, arms by the side (this is referred to as the starting position).
  • Bend the knees to drop into a squat, and place the hands on the floor in front of the feet.
  • Thrust the legs back to assume a push up position, with the body forming a straight line from the shoulders to the heels.
  • Return to the squat position.
  • Return to the starting position and jump as high as posible, as you lift your arms straight above your head.
  • Then, bend your knees to drop into squat and perform the whole cycle as many times as you can.
  • This should be done as fast as possible, in one flowing motion.




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