In this post we’re going to dive a little deeper into what we believe to be the 10 components of fitness, and why they’re important to include in your training programme: endurance; stamina; strength; flexibility; power; speed; coordination; agility; balance & accuracy.
Below is a brief description of each component:
1. Endurance: The ability of the body systems to gather, process and deliver oxygen.
2. Stamina: The ability of the body systems to process, deliver, store and utilise energy.
3. Strength: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
4. Flexibility: The ability to maximise the range of motion at a given joint.
5. Power: The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
6. Speed: The ability to minimise the time cycle of a repeated movement
7. Coordination: The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
8. Agility: The ability to minimise transition time from one movement pattern to another.
9. Balance: The ability to control the placement of the body’s centre of gravity in relation to its support base.
10. Accuracy: The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
We associate the last 4 components (coordination, agility, balance, accuracy) most with practice. “Practice is done with low heart rates, it’s done with low loads, under 60%, with the goal of improving your movements.” (Bergeron, 2017, 00:02:18) If we want to get better at a particular movement that requires coordination, agility, balance and/or accuracy, we’re not going to get better at it by training it as much as we would by practicing it. “They’re neurological adaptations, meaning they get better from the synapses from your brain on down.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:07:29)
We associate the first 6 components (endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed) most with training. “That [has got to do with] your engine and your muscles.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:07:46) “Training is done with heavy weights, high heart rates … and your goal is to improve your engine, or your strength.” (Bergeron, 2017, 00:02:28)
Some exercises could be a combination of both practice and training. For example, running would mostly be associated with training; it’s an engine issue; it’s about how much lung capacity do you have? But it could be a matter of skill too. “If you go running and you heel strike, and you’re broken at the hips, and your arms are swinging out side-to-side … you going out to do 800 [metre] repeats [are] not going to make you that much faster. You basically have an imaginary ceiling that you’re trying to move, which you’re not going to be able to do through training as well as you could if you took another approach … [such as] enhancing your efficiency at running through skill practice.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:08:48)
Olympic weightlifting is one of, if not the purest blends of exercises that requires both practice and training. “[Olympic weightlifting] takes [an] incredible amount of strength and flexibility, as well as coordination, balance and accuracy. It needs both ends of the spectrum. That’s why it’s so important, for Olympic lifts, that you don’t just always lift 90% and above. You have to work on the movement patterns and drill in the bar path and the skills and positions … that only comes through practicing with light loads.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:09:42)
The beauty about the 10 components of fitness is that there’s always at least one component that every single person could improve. No-one is ever a 10 across the board.
Let’s use a golfer as an example. Golf is a great sport to improve our fitness, but it’s important to do other exercises to ensure that we’re ticking all 10 boxes. When we assess the fitness of a golfer based on the 10 components, they only tick 6 of the boxes: endurance, stamina, strength, power, coordination & accuracy. That leaves a lot of room for improvement.
Sport-specific training is a popular term at the moment. Let’s continue using a golfer as an example. If we were training them in the gym, we wouldn’t get them to do wall balls, why? Because they’re already good at coordination and accuracy! The room for improvement would be negligible, and that would not be the best use of their time.
We would focus on the other 4 components that they’re lacking in instead. By developing these aspects of their fitness, we would help to decrease their risk of injury, improve their performance, and ultimately improve their fitness. “Expose your weaknesses, identify them, root the cause. Is it an organic issue? Is it a neurological issue? If it’s an organic issue, train it. Work really hard, sweat, lift heavy weights. If it’s a neurological issue … practice it. Low intensity. Make friends with your weaknesses, and then beat them to death.” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:22:19)
The majority of us train, why? It feels good. We get the endorphin rush. We feel the ‘pump’ or we feel sore. There’s a reward at the end of it. Practice on the other hand is boring & monotonous. It’s not fun, we’re not going to do it with our friends so it takes a lot of discipline, and there’s no reward or hormonal response for our efforts. Practice is incredibly frustrating because we may be putting in the work and not getting any better, which may make us want to give up and go back to the fun things we’re good at, i.e. training.“[Practice is like] growing a bamboo forest … You plant the seeds and you diligently tend to the soil and water it consistently for 5 years without any growth. Nothing comes through the ground. But if you continually do it … you just have trust in the process that I’m doing the right thing … in 5 years that bamboo forest grows 60 feet (18 metres) in 5 – 10 days!” (Bergeron, 2019, 00:24:17)
We strongly encourage people to assess their fitness based on the 10 components of fitness. When we design personalised exercise programs for our clients, they are designed with the 10 components of fitness in mind. This ensures that we are actually helping our clients get fitter. We hope you found this information valuable. If you’re looking for a professional health and fitness coach to help you on your health & fitness journey, please do contact us.
1) My Weaknesses Before CrossFit (2019) YouTube Video, added by Ben Bergeron [Online]. Available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLWSBU3-avc [Accessed: 20 January 2020].