10 Components of Fitness

During the early days, Greg Glassman looked for a valid definition of fitness and failed to find one. The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) offered a definition but it offered no measurable components. As Greg Glassman says “If it cannot be measured, it cannot be valid”.

One of the models of fitness we use is the 10 Components of Fitness. 

These are:

  1. Cardiorespiratory Endurance

  2. Stamina

  3. Strength

  4. Flexibility

  5. Power

  6. Speed

  7. Coordination

  8. Accuracy

  9. Agility

  10. Balance

What we are saying when we look at these is that we are only as fit as we are competent in these each of these 10 components. When we look at these components we should be working the ones that we need work on most. It is always so easy to continue working the components we excel at. It makes us feel good, it looks good to others. The hardest thing to do is to work the components that need work. It’s harder to do this. To work, and fail, and work to get better at what we are weak. Ego takes over and we revert to what we enjoy, which again is likely our positives.

The other part of these 10 components is that number 1 through 4 are adaptations of training, 7 through 10 are adaptations of practice, and 5 and 6 are adaptations of both.

What does this mean?

Training refers to a measurable organic change in the body. For example, working strength will increase capacity and likely muscle size.

Practice refers to improvements in the nervous system. Think of this as repetition that changes the brain chemistry and improves performance. Balance is a great example of this. The more we practice balancing the better we will get. It doesn’t have ti be high intensity, we just need to practice enough to improve.

This means that we should be spending time on both training and practice. The goal of each class is to offer opportunities for growth in these areas. When we work technique we are practicing. Doing snatches with a PVC pipe allows us to practice and improve the nervous system. Doing a heavy snatch with a barbell is training. Incidentally, Olympic lifting is working many of these 10 components. We cannot practice getting stronger in the back squat, but we can practice better positions and technique that will allow us to be stronger in the back squat.

With all this said, we should be working specific weaknesses as well as practicing and training these elements in order to improve.

Take a long hard look and focus on what needs to be improved, not what we most want to work on. The easy part is knowing what needs improving, the hard part is spending time making our weaknesses our positives.

Joseph TownsendComment