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Conditioning

Tancred (1995)[1] believes that: "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."

Health & Fitness

The World Health Organization (WHO) defined health in its constitution of 1948 as "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity".

Fitness is the ability to meet the demands of a physical task.

The Components of Fitness

Basic fitness can be classified in four main components: strength, speed, stamina and flexibility. However, exercise scientists have identified nine components that comprise the definition of fitness (Tancred 1995)[1]:

  • Strength - the extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance (e.g. holding or restraining an object or person)
  • Power - the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements. The two components of power are strength and speed. (e.g. jumping or a sprint start)
  • Agility - the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions (e.g. 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 (e.g. executing a leg split)
  • Local Muscle Endurance - a single muscle's ability to perform sustained work (e.g. rowing or cycling)
  • Cardiovascular Endurance - the heart's ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it (e.g. running long distances)
  • Strength Endurance - a muscle's ability to perform a maximum contraction time after time (e.g. 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

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 (Davis 2000)[2]:

Motor Fitness

Motor Fitness refers to the ability of an athlete to perform successfully at their sport. The components of motor fitness are (Davis 2000)[2]:

Improving your condition

Identify the most important fitness components for success in your sport or event and then design sport/event specific conditioning and training programs that will enhance these fitness components and energy systems.

Conditioning Exercises

The following are examples of general conditioning exercises:

Why should I exercise on a regular basis?

Not convinced on the benefits of a regular training regime then have a read of the the benefits of exercising page.

I am new to training so what should I do?

Visit the general fitness training program page to get an insight into a simple weekly training program that will help develop your general level of fitness.

Tests for fitness components

Fitness Component Recognised Test
Agility Illinois Agility Test
Balance Standing Stork Test
Body Composition Skinfold measures
Cardiovascular Endurance Multistage Fitness Test
Flexibility Sit & Reach test
Muscular Endurance NCF Abdominal Conditioning Test
Power Standing Long Jump or Vertical Jump
Speed 30 metre Sprint
Strength Handgrip Dynamometer

Referenced Material

  1. TANCRED, B. (1995) Key Methods of Sports Conditioning. Athletics Coach, 29 (2), p. 19
  2. DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Training for physical fitness. In: DAVIS, B. et al. Physical Education and the study of sport. Spain: Harcourt Publishers, p.121-122

Associated References

  • SALTIN, B. (1969) Physiological effects of physical conditioning. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 1 (1), p. 50-56
  • STRATTON, J. et al. (1991) Effects of physical conditioning on fibrinolytic variables and fibrinogen in young and old healthy adults. Circulation, 83 (5), p. 1692-1697
  • BARRY, A. et al. (1966) The effects of physical conditioning on older individuals. I. Work capacity, circulatory-respiratory function, and work electrocardiogram. Journal of gerontology, 21 (2), p. 182-191

Page Reference

The reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1997) Conditioning [WWW] Available from: http://www.brianmac.co.uk/conditon.htm [Accessed

Associated Pages

The following Sports Coach pages should be read in conjunction with this page: