One of the misconceptions in the sports world is that a sportsperson 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 to increase physical capabilities.
Definition of Fitness
Exercise scientists have identified nine elements that comprise the definition of fitness. The following lists each of the nine elements and an example of how they are used:-
- Strength - the extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance (holding or restraining an object or person)
- Power - the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements (Jumping or sprint starting)
- Agility - the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions (ZigZag running or cutting movements)
- Balance - the ability to control the body's position, either stationary (e.g. a handstand) or while moving (e.g. a gymnastics stunt)
- Flexibility - the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (Executing a leg split)
- Local Muscle Endurance - a single muscle's ability to perform sustained work (Rowing or cycling)
- Cardiovascular Endurance - the heart's ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it (Running long distances)
- Strength Endurance - a muscle's ability to perform a maximum contracture time after time (Continuous explosive rebounding through an entire basketball game)
- Co-ordination - the ability to integrate the above listed components so that effective movements are achieved.
Of all the nine elements of fitness cardiac respiratory qualities are the most important to develop as they enhance all the other components of the conditioning equation.
Physical fitness refers to the capacity of an athlete to meet the varied physical demands of their sport without reducing the athlete to a fatigued state. The components of physical fitness are: Strength, Endurance, Speed, Flexibility and Body Composition.
Motor Fitness refers to the ability of an athlete to perform successfully at their sport. The components of motor fitness are: Agility, Balance, Co-ordination, Power and Reaction Time.
Identify the most important component for success in your sport or event. Design specialised conditioning and training programs that enhance particular performance skills.
- General all round body conditioning exercises using dumbbells
- General conditioning exercises for the upper body
- General and specific leg conditioning exercises
- Specific exercises to develop lower leg strength and foot speed