11 Components of Physical Fitness

One Leg Deadlift to improve balance and strength

 

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Our Personal Fitness Trainers incorporate all 11 components of physical fitness into our clients’ exercise programs in order to have a well-rounded work-out.

Physical fitness is defined as being in a general state of health and well-being or specifically the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Being at a high level of physical fitness can be achieved through a combination of daily physical activity, exercise, and a healthy diet.

The 11 components of physical fitness play an important role in one’s daily activities. Improving upon all areas of physical fitness will help you to improve daily activities and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

It is important to know that all components of physical fitness can be improved no matter what stage of life. Children, teens, adults, and the elderly will see improvements in all aspects of physical fitness if the proper exercises and training techniques are implemented into daily exercise routines. Once proper training techniques are established, then exercise consistency, mental focus, and discipline will be most important for improving individuals’ overall physical fitness levels.

Be sure to read our latest fitness blog: “Exercise Slump: Everybody Does It”. This blog is important for those of you trying to get back into a daily physical fitness routine. Click here to read it!

The 11 components of physical fitness are comprised of 5 components that are considered the “most important” for being healthy and physically fit and 6 components that are more skill-related.

The 5 components of physical fitness that are most important, directly related to one’s health, and can be directly measured are: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. These 5 components of fitness are typically taught and measured in elementary, secondary/middle, and high school physical education classes all around the world. Fitness centers, gyms, and health clubs use these health-related components of physical fitness to measure clients fitness levels in order to prescribe the appropriate exercise program for each individual.

Then there are 6 components of physical fitness that are more skill-related and/or sports-related. These include: agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time, and speed. These skill-related components of physical fitness are directly related to sports and daily activities. These components can be measured and improved using very specific training techniques.

Please click here for YouTube videos to view a demonstration of all components of physical fitness in action.

Incorporating all components of physical fitness into your exercise program is a great way to improve your physical fitness level. However, exercise alone is not enough to be healthy. Nutrition plays a very important role in staying healthy and performing at a high level of fitness. Be sure to include a daily healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. These healthy food choices will help you fuel your body for daily activities and exercise.

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11 Components of Physical Fitness Definitions and Examples:

  1. AgilityThe ability to stop, start, and change directions quickly. Agility is a skill-related component of physical fitness. One’s agility can be increased by doing specific footwork drills on an agility ladder, staggered tire formation, or any other type of obstacle course that requires the individual to adjust body position, speed, and direction quickly. Agility can be tested by timing individuals running through a series of staggered cones or obstacles for a predetermined distance. Examples of agility: A football player cutting across the field, a gymnast doing a floor routine, or a soccer player dribbling the ball around defenders. View the video at bottom of page to see examples of agility in action.                
    The Illinois Agility Sprint Test is a great way to measure and improve one's agility and speed.

    The Illinois Agility Sprint Test is a great way to measure and improve one’s agility and speed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

  2. Balance – Controlling body positions while standing still or moving. Balance is a skill-related component of physical fitness. Balance can be tested by standing on one leg with eyes closed for 30 seconds on each leg or by performing the Y-Balance Test. Balance can be improved by increasing one’s overall core strength. Specific training techniques using exercise equipment such as balance discs, Fit-Balls, BOSU, or standing on one leg while performing an exercise can help to improve one’s balance. Examples of balance: A gymnast jumping and landing on a balance beam, a surfer on a surfboard riding a wave, a one leg deadlift pictured above, or simply jumping around on one foot.      
    The Y-Balance Test is a common test for balance.

    The Y-Balance Test is a common test for balance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

  3. Body Composition The ratio of muscle to fat in the body. Having a high percentage of body fat compared to lean muscle has shown to increase risk of heart disease, certain cancers, strokes, and diabetes. Doing daily cardiovascular exercise and strength training, along with a healthy diet, will help to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Body Composition can be measured by skinfold calipers, waist-to-hip ratios, circumference measurements, bioelectric impedence, and hydrostatic weighing. Body composition is a health-related component of physical fitness. In addition to body composition, individuals should know their body mass index (BMI) as well. Click here for further information about body mass index and to determine your  BMI.

    Using a skinfold caliper is a good, inexensive, and fairly accurate way to measure one's body fat.

    Using a skinfold caliper is a good, inexpensive, and fairly accurate way to measure one’s body composition.

  4. Cardiovascular Endurance Engaging in physical activity for long periods of time. Cardiovascular endurance can be measured indoors by performing a 3 minute step test or by stress tests on a treadmill or stationary bike. Cardiovascular endurance can also be measured by field tests such as Cooper’s 12-minute Run, the 1.5 Mile Run, the 600 Yard Walk/Run, or a Shuttle Run. However, some disadvantages to outdoor field tests include wind, humidity, and temperature. Cardiovascular endurance is a health-related component of physical fitness. Please click here for health benefits of cardiovascular endurance training. In order to improve cardiovascular endurance, one must be consistent with daily aerobic exercise while reaching appropriate target heart rate zones. Please click here for more information regarding cardiovascular endurance and examples of cardiovascular/aerobic exercises. Examples of cardiovascular endurance: A cross-country running race, running a marathon, jumping rope, high-intensity circuit training, or manipulating your way through an obstacle course.      
    Running a marathon is a great example of cardiovascular endurance.

    Running a marathon is a great example of cardiovascular endurance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

  5. Coordination – Making movements work together smoothly. This usually consists of upper and lower body movements being performed at the same time. Coordination is a skill-related component of physical fitness. Coordination can be improved by performing exercises that require the individual to use upper body muscle groups and lower body muscle groups at the same time. Coordination can be tested with a variety of manual dexterity tests and hand/eye coordination tests. One example of such test is balancing on one leg and throwing a tennis ball against a wall and catching the returning ball in the opposite hand. Please view our gallery to see examples of exercises you can do to improve your coordination. Examples of coordination: Performing a squat on a BOSU while doing a shoulder press, a baseball pitcher throwing a pitch, a pole vaulter or a high hurdler in track and field, or jumping rope. View the video at bottom of this page to see examples of coordination in action.       
    A baseball pitcher throwing a pitch is a great example of coordination and power.

    A baseball pitcher throwing a pitch is a great example of coordination, power, balance, and speed.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

  6. Flexibility – Moving specific joints or a group of joints through a wide range of motion (ROM). Flexibility is a health-related component of physical fitness that plays a very important role in the functioning of all individuals especially athletes. Examples of flexibility include: a gymnast doing a leg split, someone doing yoga, or bending over to touch your toes. The most common tests for flexibility include the Sit-and-Reach Test and the Shoulder Joint Reach Flexibility Test. There are three techniques that can be used to increase one’s flexibility: ballistic stretching, static stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation.                                                                                                                                                                                  Ballistic stretching is a short-duration, high-force stretch that uses bouncing movements to stretch muscles. Ballistic stretching is a high-risk injury type of stretching and is not recommended to the general public. Bring It Home Personal Training does not teach this stretching technique.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Static stretching is the most common type of stretching that uses slow and steady movements that takes a muscle to a point of slight tension and then force is slowly applied to produce a greater stretch.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Propricoceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) stretching is more advanced and requires force applied against the stretching muscle while incorporating an isometric contraction on either the muscle being stretched or its opposite. This advanced type of stretching should be done with a professional fitness trainer or physical therapist.

    The most common test for flexibility is the Sit and Reach Test

    The most common test for flexibility is the Sit and Reach Test

  7. Muscular Endurance – Using muscles repetitively without fatiguing for an extended period of time. Muscular Endurance can be measured by a 60 second push-up test or 60 second half sit-up or crunch test. Muscular endurance is a health-related component of physical fitness. Please click here for more information about muscular endurance. Examples of muscular endurance: Long-distance cycling, using a rowing machine or crewing, or doing push-ups until fatigue has been reached.         
    A long-distance cycling race is a good example of muscular endurance.

    A long-distance cycling race is a good example of muscular endurance.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

  8. Muscular Strength – Producing force using muscles. Muscular strength has also been defined as the maximum pull or push that can be exerted one time by a muscle group. Muscular Strength is a health-related component of physical fitness. Muscular Strength can be measured by performing a 1 repetition maximum (RM) test or a 10 RM test on a chest press in order to test upper body strength. Other ways of testing strength can be done by using a dynamometer, cable ensiometer, load cells or strain gauges, or various strength exercises, such as how many pull-ups, push-ups, or biceps curls an individual can do. Examples of muscular strength: Performing a bench press, pull-ups, biceps curls or lunge pictured below. Please see our gallery for more images of how to increase muscular strength.

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    Walking Lunge to improve strength and coordination

  9. Power – The ability to use muscle strength quickly. Power is a skill-related component of physical fitness. How can power be improved or increased? Power can be increased by three general ways: increase the force-producing capabilities of muscles; decrease the time it takes to move across a distance due to faster speed; and increase the distance a force acts on one’s body. Total body strength training, increased flexibility through stretching, sport specific training and improved technique, sharp mental focus, and increased reaction time are many ways to improve overall power. Power can be tested by performing a vertical jump test or standing long jump. Examples of power: Plyometric training (such as jump squats or box jumps), jumping exercises, or in track and field-the running long jump or high jump. View the video at the bottom of this page to see examples of power in action.                       
    vertical jump test

    This Vertical Jump Test is a good way to test one’s power.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

  10. Reaction Time – How quickly an individual responds to a stimulus. Reaction time is a skill-related component of physical fitness. Reaction time can be tested in a variety of ways. A simple test is a Reaction Time Tester found at TopEndSports.com. Click here to take the test. Examples of reaction time: playing tennis or table tennis, a baseball player swinging at a pitch, or a soccer goalie saving a ball kicked at the goal. View the video at the bottom of this page to see examples of reaction time in action.          
    A soccer goalie saving a goal is an excellent example of reaction time.

    A soccer goalie saving a goal is an excellent example of reaction time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

  11. Speed – Performing a movement or covering a distance in a short period of time. Speed is a skill-related component of physical fitness. Speed can be measured by timing a 40-yard dash, 30 meter sprint, or the Illinois Agility Test. Individuals can increase speed by sprinting down hill or wearing a small parachute or weighted vest on your back while sprinting.  Examples of speed: the Summer Olympics 100 meter sprint, swimming 50 meters as fast as possible, or speed skating. View the video at the bottom of this page to see examples of speed in action.

    Sprinting with a small parachute on is a great way to increase one's speed.

    Sprinting with a small parachute on is a great way to increase one’s speed.

The 5 components of physical fitness that are directly health-related and the 6 components of physical fitness that are skill-related (or sports-related) should be incorporated into your daily exercise routines. Combining all 11 components of fitness into your exercise program will certainly make you stronger, faster, improve your balance and flexibilty, and you will be able to perform daily routine tasks without fatique and exhaustion.

Images and Video of Exercises that Improve the 11 Components of Physical Fitness

Please visit our new and improved Gallery for more exercises that demonstrate the components of physical fitness in action. Be sure to click on images for name of exercise and components of physical fitness being improved.

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Push-ups increase upper body strengh and endurance

Close Up Bicep

Biceps curls increase muscular strength and endurance

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This basic plank strengthens the overall core muscles

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Squat on BOSU with medicine ball improves balance and coordination while increasing lower body strength and core strength

Jeff Angel

Straight arm plank improves balance and increases upper body and core strength and endurance

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Bridge and leg raise improves core, glutes, and hamstring strength

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Biceps curls balancing on one leg on BOSU improves balance, coordination, muscular strength and endurance