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THE COMPONENTS OF FITNESS – PART 2

Hadyn Luke posted this on Monday 14th of December 2020 Hadyn Luke 14/12/2020

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THE COMPONENTS OF FITNESS – PART 2

In our first blog on The components of fitness, we looked at the following: cardiovascular endurance; muscular strength and endurance; agility and flexibility; and balance and co-ordination.

In this week’s blog, we are investigating four further components of fitness that personal trainers and fitness professionals use when training clients, as outlined in our blog on The difference between health and fitness

1. Body Composition

What is it? This relates to the shape and size of a person’s body, as well as its make-up, for example the balance of muscle and fat, and the percentages of bone and water. See our blog: Somatotypes: What are they?, which explains the difference between ectomorphs, mesomorphs and endomorphs.

Why is it important? People with different body compositions – both from their somatotype and their lifestyle – will need to train in different ways, both for safety and to get the best results.

Certain sports suit specific body compositions, for example basketball players are naturally tall and lean, jockeys are short and slender, shot putters are large and powerful.

How can a personal trainer test and train for it?

Testing: A personal trainer should be able to see a client’s somatotype from looking at them. Ectomorphs have low body fat and lean muscles; mesomorphs have a larger frame and find it easier to build muscle; while endomorphs have a large bone structure and are predisposed to store fat.

Training: Personal trainers should create fitness programmes to suit each individual client’s body composition and training goals. They should also manage expectations, as an ectomorph will find they have to work hard to increase muscle mass and an endomorph may struggle to lose body fat.

2. Power

What is it? Power is a combination of strength and speed. It’s in evidence when an athlete has trained for speed and has developed fast-twitch muscles to generate explosive movement.

Why is it important? Certain sports require power more than others, for example sprinting, rugby, boxing and throwing the javelin. It’s also useful in certain weight training exercises, such as the snatch.

How can a personal trainer test and train for it?

Testing: A personal trainer can test for different elements of power, for example lower body power can be tested with a leg press or by comparing a client’s standing reach with their jumping reach, while upper body power can be tested by a bench press or number of press ups carried out in a minute.

Training: Power can be built up over time with plyometric or jump training. Weighted sprints and jumps are another good way to train for power, as is using heavy weights with multiple sets but low reps.

3. Speed

What is it? Speed is simply how quickly you can move. In sport this tends to have particular focus on the limbs. Speed can be improved by technique and agility as well as strength.

Why is it important? Speed improves your body’s ability to supply oxygen to your muscles and is useful for timed sports such as sprinting, as well as sports that mix speed and agility such as football.

Testing: Timed shuttle run between two points, counting the number of times a client can jump over a line and back in a minute; for upper body speed, use the plate tapping test.

Training: Interval runs, high knees, running against an elastic tie rope, running down a slope (overspeed training), sled pushes.

4. Reaction time

What is it? Reaction time is how quickly you respond to a specific stimulus, such as a change in direction when playing team sports. It goes hand in hand with agility and speed.

Why is it important? Reaction time is important in sports such as boxing to land a blow or avoid a punch, in sprinting to get off the starting block and in racket sports such as tennis to reach the ball and return the shot. Reaction time is also important in general life, as it can prevent a fall or an injury.  

Testing: A common test is the stick drop; there are also online tests where you are required to click or tap in response to a particular signal and your response speed is measured.

Training: Repetition of any movement usually improves reaction time both by increasing motor agility and training the brain. The speed you respond to the stimulus can be affected by your ability to concentrate and your perception – how quickly you see, hear or feel the stimulus. Training can include movement that involves changing direction in response to a sound, throwing and catching a ball, ladder and other drills.

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