Here we explain the more scientific aspects including principles of training, fitness testing as well as the difference between health and skill related fitness.
Fitness is such a broad term and a complex subject which can include health and skill related fitness. Health-related fitness is often divided into several other components which form our overall health status and include cardiovascular or aerobic fitness, strength, and flexibility.
As well as the traditional components of health-related fitness, the term fitness can be broken down into skill components. These are important in performing the more technical aspects of many sport and include speed, reaction time, agility, balance, coordination, and power.
Athletes need to programme their training year carefully so they can improve fitness, optimise performance and peak during competition as well as reduce injury risk. Periodisation is key to planning a training programme and involves dividing the year into specific blocks with each block having a particular goal.
A training method is the form of exercise you select to improve your fitness. The training method selected has a significant impact on training outcomes. Training must be relevant to your goals, this refers to the training principle of specificity.
In order to get the most out of your training, you must follow some basic simple training principles which are overload, specificity, reversibility, and variance. Overload means we must put our bodies under more stress than normal in order for adaptive changes to be made. Specificity relates to ensuring the training done is specific to the sport or activity. Reversibility means if you don’t keep it up you will lose it and variance relates to varying the training activities.
Fitness testing is a way of gaining information about the health-related and skill related components of an athletes fitness. Testing can take place in a number of environments, with laboratory testing being the most accurate, however, there is still a large range of tests that can be carried out, away from a lab, which provides a lot of useful information.
Fitness tests can be devised to test all aspects of fitness, providing the test follows fitness testing principles. The following are examples of simple fitness tests which can easily be reproduced away from a lab and measure strength, power, anaerobic endurance, local muscular endurance, aerobic endurance, flexibility, balance, reaction time and body composition.