7 Key Components of Fitness - FLEXIBILITY

Component of fitness 6 _ Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion.

It may seem obvious, but flexibility varies between individuals and changes during development as a result of exercise or lack of it.

Flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise, with a common exercise component to maintain or improve flexibility.

A lack of flexibility in the upper body can affect a participant’s ability to perform aspects of good swimming technique. Similarly, a lack of flexibility in the lower body can have a negative effect on good running form and posture.

Flexibility will tend to deteriorate with age, or lack of use of certain muscles groups or types of action. It would definitely be worth your while to consider either of the various activities available including stretching (e.g. Yoga), cross range of sports, and good posture in daily life.

Example

Here is a great example of 8 key stretches to improve your flexibility:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ksc8N_k-FA

The next and final component of fitness is: BODY COMPOSITION

Component of fitness 6 _ Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion.

It may seem obvious, but flexibility varies between individuals and changes during development as a result of exercise or lack of it.

Flexibility in some joints can be increased to a certain degree by exercise, with a common exercise component to maintain or improve flexibility.

A lack of flexibility in the upper body can affect a participant’s ability to perform aspects of good swimming technique. Similarly, a lack of flexibility in the lower body can have a negative effect on good running form and posture.

Flexibility will tend to deteriorate with age, or lack of use of certain muscles groups or types of action. It would definitely be worth your while to consider either of the various activities available including stretching (e.g. Yoga), cross range of sports, and good posture in daily life.

Example

Here is a great example of 8 key stretches to improve your flexibility:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Ksc8N_k-FA

The next and final component of fitness is: BODY COMPOSITION


7 Key Components of Fitness - MUSCULAR (strength) ENDURANCE

Component of fitness 5_ Muscular (strength) endurance

Simply, muscular endurance lies between endurance and strength on a spectrum. It is the ability to apply a force (overcome resistance) for a long period of time. The force that can be overcome will reduce the longer the athlete has to maintain the effort. Once an athlete has sufficient endurance to complete a race, this is the next component that will determine how fast they can complete the given event.

Example:

For an age group athlete who has only been competing for a short amount of time the following example shows how these three components of fitness are related. The athlete may be able to cycle at a relatively easy pace, for example 20km per hour for four hours. At the end of this session this athlete would be fatigued. If we were to reduce the time they cycled for the athlete would be able to go faster, applying more force, but for a shorter period of time, for example 24 km per hour for 2 hours. We can continue reducing the time they have to train for and as a result they can apply more force. At a point this may be considered Muscular (Strength) Endurance. As the time is reduced the athlete can apply yet more force.

It should therefore be clear that muscular endurance is limited by the maximum strength an athlete has, and also by their overall endurance at the other end of the spectrum. – source: British Triathlon.

A Muscular endurance workout would take form of long intervals with short recoveries or steady efforts. The
intensity would be at your lactate/ anaerobic/ functional threshold or slightly
below.

The next
Component of fitness: FLEXIBILITY

Component of fitness 5_ Muscular (strength) endurance

Simply, muscular endurance lies between endurance and strength on a spectrum. It is the ability to apply a force (overcome resistance) for a long period of time. The force that can be overcome will reduce the longer the athlete has to maintain the effort. Once an athlete has sufficient endurance to complete a race, this is the next component that will determine how fast they can complete the given event.

Example:

For an age group athlete who has only been competing for a short amount of time the following example shows how these three components of fitness are related. The athlete may be able to cycle at a relatively easy pace, for example 20km per hour for four hours. At the end of this session this athlete would be fatigued. If we were to reduce the time they cycled for the athlete would be able to go faster, applying more force, but for a shorter period of time, for example 24 km per hour for 2 hours. We can continue reducing the time they have to train for and as a result they can apply more force. At a point this may be considered Muscular (Strength) Endurance. As the time is reduced the athlete can apply yet more force.

It should therefore be clear that muscular endurance is limited by the maximum strength an athlete has, and also by their overall endurance at the other end of the spectrum. – source: British Triathlon.

A Muscular endurance workout would take form of long intervals with short recoveries or steady efforts. The
intensity would be at your lactate/ anaerobic/ functional threshold or slightly
below.

The next
Component of fitness: FLEXIBILITY


7 Key Components of Fitness - STRENGTH

Component of fitness 4 _ Strength

Strength is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to exert a maximum force in order to overcome a resistance.

An example is the ability to turn the pedals when climbing a steep hill. Strength in this instance is not concerned with how quickly the pedals turn, just that they are able to turn for a short period of time.

A good analogy is of a competitor in a strongest man competition where a competitor may have to move a very heavy item a short distance, they may do this quite slowly, but are exerting a lot of force. In short: if you lift weights, your muscles will get stronger!

The next Component of fitness: Muscular (strength) endurance

Component of fitness 4 _ Strength

Strength is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to exert a maximum force in order to overcome a resistance.

An example is the ability to turn the pedals when climbing a steep hill. Strength in this instance is not concerned with how quickly the pedals turn, just that they are able to turn for a short period of time.

A good analogy is of a competitor in a strongest man competition where a competitor may have to move a very heavy item a short distance, they may do this quite slowly, but are exerting a lot of force. In short: if you lift weights, your muscles will get stronger!

The next Component of fitness: Muscular (strength) endurance


7 Key Components of Fitness - ENDURANCE

Component of fitness 3 _ Endurance

Simply: Endurance is the ability to endure….

For triathletes this translates as the ability of the body to continue over a prolonged period of time predominantly utilizing the aerobic energy system.

In the book: The triathletes training bible, the author Joe Friel, suggests that the level of exertion for endurance training can reach anywhere between Heart Rate Zones 1 ‐ 4, and further explains that this type of training develops slow switch muscle fibres and improves your ability to conserve carb based fuels glycogen and glucose and teaches the muscles to preferentially use fat for energy…. There is a catch though and that is:

you should plan on taking months and even years, rather than days or weeks to fully develop endurance…

Furthermore, It is important that endurance training should be specific for the event (i.e. a sprint training plan probably wouldn’t work for an iron distance, and iron distance training for a sprint is total overkill !!).

Like most elements of fitness there is a spectrum of activities that would fall under endurance training. In its simplest form endurance training with Triathlon may consist of a long steady paced continuous training sessions, such as a 2‐3 hour‐long bike ride, a one hour run or perhaps a half hour swim, at a pace where the participants could hold a conversation with a training partner.

The next Component of fitness: STRENGTH

Component of fitness 3 _ Endurance

Simply: Endurance is the ability to endure….

For triathletes this translates as the ability of the body to continue over a prolonged period of time predominantly utilizing the aerobic energy system.

In the book: The triathletes training bible, the author Joe Friel, suggests that the level of exertion for endurance training can reach anywhere between Heart Rate Zones 1 ‐ 4, and further explains that this type of training develops slow switch muscle fibres and improves your ability to conserve carb based fuels glycogen and glucose and teaches the muscles to preferentially use fat for energy…. There is a catch though and that is:

you should plan on taking months and even years, rather than days or weeks to fully develop endurance…

Furthermore, It is important that endurance training should be specific for the event (i.e. a sprint training plan probably wouldn’t work for an iron distance, and iron distance training for a sprint is total overkill !!).

Like most elements of fitness there is a spectrum of activities that would fall under endurance training. In its simplest form endurance training with Triathlon may consist of a long steady paced continuous training sessions, such as a 2‐3 hour‐long bike ride, a one hour run or perhaps a half hour swim, at a pace where the participants could hold a conversation with a training partner.

The next Component of fitness: STRENGTH


7 Key Components of Fitness - POWER

Component of fitness 2 _ Power

Power is the combination of strength (force) and speed, this is the ability to produce high force output over short periods of time or distance.

Power is of use in a race where short explosive burst are needed, for example on a swim: a deep water start when a swimmer wants to get ahead of the rest of the field or group. On the bike: a short sharp (10sec) burst out the saddle hill climb to get away from the group or catch others ahead. Or similarly on the run if you need a short burst or sprint finish up a hill etc… a few examples of power sessions:

Swim:

After at least a good 10 min warm include these into your main set: For a 25m Pool: (10 to 20) x 25m as: 12.5m sprint + 12.5m easy with 10sec recoveries. Why not try some of these as a deepwater start smile

Bike:

Power burst: After a good warm up, begin each power burst by spinning at a very low cadence and speed, then shift to your big gear and while seated, pedal as hard as you can until you reach 80 rpm. This should take about 15 seconds. Shift to a small gear and spin easy for three minutes at 90 rpm. Repeat 10 times and build up to 15 power bursts per session.

Run:

After a good warm up, Sprint 8 to 10 x 100m uphill with a slow run down as recovery. Exaggerate arm swing, lean into the hill and focus on pushing off with the balls of your feet.

The next Component of fitness: ENDURANCE

Component of fitness 2 _ Power

Power is the combination of strength (force) and speed, this is the ability to produce high force output over short periods of time or distance.

Power is of use in a race where short explosive burst are needed, for example on a swim: a deep water start when a swimmer wants to get ahead of the rest of the field or group. On the bike: a short sharp (10sec) burst out the saddle hill climb to get away from the group or catch others ahead. Or similarly on the run if you need a short burst or sprint finish up a hill etc… a few examples of power sessions:

Swim:

After at least a good 10 min warm include these into your main set: For a 25m Pool: (10 to 20) x 25m as: 12.5m sprint + 12.5m easy with 10sec recoveries. Why not try some of these as a deepwater start smile

Bike:

Power burst: After a good warm up, begin each power burst by spinning at a very low cadence and speed, then shift to your big gear and while seated, pedal as hard as you can until you reach 80 rpm. This should take about 15 seconds. Shift to a small gear and spin easy for three minutes at 90 rpm. Repeat 10 times and build up to 15 power bursts per session.

Run:

After a good warm up, Sprint 8 to 10 x 100m uphill with a slow run down as recovery. Exaggerate arm swing, lean into the hill and focus on pushing off with the balls of your feet.

The next Component of fitness: ENDURANCE


7 Key Components of Fitness - SPEED (SKILLS)

In this blog we will (in between other bits n bobs) be very briefly introducing the 7 Key COMPONENTS OF FITNESS relative to triathlon and are the underlying principles used to guide the sessions in the ATP (Annual Training Plan) These include: Speed (skills), Power, Endurance, Strength, Muscular endurance, Flexibility and Body composition.

Component of fitness 1 _ SPEED (SKILLS)

In this context, speed is not the speed (velocity) of a person getting from one point to another, but how fast we move the limbs of the body!

In training, a typical speed session might cover: cadence in running/ cycling or stroke rate in swimming. Practicing at higher than usual cadence can also teach the muscles to work more efficiently. Try these:

Swim:

Thanks to the wonderful world of the web and swim smooth, see this article discussing stroke rate: Swimming stroke rate

Bike:

Spin-up drill.

When safe, during a ride, ideally on a flat terrain: shift to a low gear
and gradually increase cadence over a minute up you can’t maintain it (i.e. up
to the point before you start bouncing) then return to a normal cadence, leave
say 5minutes between each and repeat 5 to 10 times. This should not be a max
effort drill.

Run

Fast feet:

a drill that improves your
running cadence by teaching your leg muscles (mostly hamstrings) to fire faster
to turnover quicker and can be seen here: Fast feet

Watch this space for the
next Component of fitness: POWER

In this blog we will (in between other bits n bobs) be very briefly introducing the 7 Key COMPONENTS OF FITNESS relative to triathlon and are the underlying principles used to guide the sessions in the ATP (Annual Training Plan) These include: Speed (skills), Power, Endurance, Strength, Muscular endurance, Flexibility and Body composition.

Component of fitness 1 _ SPEED (SKILLS)

In this context, speed is not the speed (velocity) of a person getting from one point to another, but how fast we move the limbs of the body!

In training, a typical speed session might cover: cadence in running/ cycling or stroke rate in swimming. Practicing at higher than usual cadence can also teach the muscles to work more efficiently. Try these:

Swim:

Thanks to the wonderful world of the web and swim smooth, see this article discussing stroke rate: Swimming stroke rate

Bike:

Spin-up drill.

When safe, during a ride, ideally on a flat terrain: shift to a low gear
and gradually increase cadence over a minute up you can’t maintain it (i.e. up
to the point before you start bouncing) then return to a normal cadence, leave
say 5minutes between each and repeat 5 to 10 times. This should not be a max
effort drill.

Run

Fast feet:

a drill that improves your
running cadence by teaching your leg muscles (mostly hamstrings) to fire faster
to turnover quicker and can be seen here: Fast feet

Watch this space for the
next Component of fitness: POWER