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Ten Components of Fitness

The ten components of fitness are the aspects of physical development that UNLEASHED Training aims to facilitate. In order to understand what is meant by 'components' you need to think of fitness differently. Fitness is hard to define as an absolute term. If I asked you "what is fitness?" what would be your reply? It would differ from one person to the next. The reason being that fitness is an umbrella term that simply refers to physical capacity. The ten components of fitness are the small pieces that fall under the 'fitness' umbrella. They are what makes up fitness as a whole.

The ten components are the pieces that make up 'fitness' as a whole. Fitness means different things to different people. To the powerlifter fitness is strength and strength only. To the triathlete fitness means cardiovascular endurance applied across three disciplines. A rugby player needs multiple aspects of the ten components of fitness to succeed in the unpredictable demands of a game.


These components are explained here to provide you with a greater understanding of what they mean and how they are applied within a context.

The Ten Components of Fitness

(The following list includes further explanation if you click on the title word of each list item, eg; click Endurance for a page about endurance).

1. Endurance: We deliberately generalise endurance into one single component, whereas common fitness literature puts endurance into categories such as cardiovascular/aerobic, anaerobic, muscular/strength etc. Endurance is as much psychological as it is physical. We take endurance simply as the dictionary definition: The act, quality or power of withstanding stress or hardship. It also includes the ability of the body systems to process, deliver, store and utilise energy over a sustained period of time.

2. Strength: Strength is the ability of a muscular unit or group of muscular units to apply force at a given intensity. UNLEASHED Training's approach to strength is to focus on relative strength or strength to weight ratio as opposed to simply absolute strength. That means that strength to us takes bodyweight into account.

3. Flexibility: Flexibility is the ability to achieve a percentage of the maximum range of motion at a given joint. We could further specify flexibility as “functional flexibility”, meaning that flexibility is always conditioned in the context of actual tasks and activities that are being trained for.

4. Power: Power is the ability of a muscular unit or group of muscular units to generate maximum force in a minimum timeframe. Basically it comes down to force X velocity. Power also has a second meaning, that is the capacity for maximum output in a given period of time. In other words, it pertains to our principle of maximal output, minimal time.

5. Speed: Speed is the ability to minimise the amount of time it takes to repeat a movement. As a sub-component of speed, it is also important to condition reaction time, which is the time between recognition of a stimulus and physical reaction to that stimulus.

6. Coordination: Coordination is the ability to combine multiple movement patterns into one movement. Coordination can also refer to the synergistic sequence of muscle contraction required to move a heavy load more efficiently, hence contributing to strength.

7. Agility: Agility is the ability to transfer mechanical energy from one movement to another in minimal time.

8. Balance: Balance is the ability to control the body through a given movement in relation to its support base.

9. Body Composition: Body composition is the percentage of bodyweight made up of each of the major tissue types. That includes fat percentage, muscle percentage, bone percentage and how much it all contributes to bodyweight and size.

10. Anaerobic Capacity: Anaerobic capacity is the ability to perform at near maximal intensity for the maximum time. It can be measured by the time it takes to reach exhaustion at a given level of output. It can also be defined as the total amount of energy obtainable from the anaerobic energy systems. That is the combined capacity of the ATP, phospho-creatine and lactic acid systems within a given timeframe.

Some of these ten components of fitness are aspects related purely to physiological capacity, whereas others are skill-related and can come about through development of combinations of skills. UNLEASHED Training has a solution for individually developing each of the ten components of fitness in their relevant context.

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YOUR COACH – Chris Lyons

Chris Lyons is an experienced strength and conditioning coach, having trained athletes of all ages and levels since 2002. Chris specialises in coaching athletes for speed and power specific to fast-moving sports such as rugby league, rugby union, soccer, Aussie rules football etc. Since 2002 Chris has conducted close to 15,000 hours of training and coaching directly with athletes and members of the general population. From this experience comes Unleashed Training, based on tried and tested training methods combined with up to date research. Chris continues to challenge himself not only as a coach, but also as an athlete, competing in sprinting events, strongman and Olympic-style weightlifting.

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