Components of Fitness

Chapter 2.1 - Components of Fitness

Fitness can be seen as a group of components that if trained will enable the body to do more work and for longer, as we as be more skilful in sport acitvities. Below you find all ten components that you will need to know about.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular Endurance, also known as Stamina, is the ability to continue exercising while getting energy for muscular movement from aerobic respiration.

If you have high levels of cardiovascular endurance, your body is able to supply the oxygen that your muscles need to do moderately intense, aerobic, whole-body exercise for a long time.

A high level of cardiovascular endurance is particularly important for endurance sports like long-distance running or cycling.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular Endurance is the ability to repeatedly use muscles over a long period of time, without getting tired.

Muscular endurace is really important in any physical activity where you're using the same muscles over and over again.

It is important in racquet sports, where you have to repeatedly swing your arm to return the shot.


Strength is the maximum amount of force that a muscle or muscle group can apply against a resistance.

It's important in any sport where you are required to lift, push or pull things using a lot of force, such as weightlifting and judo.

There are different types of strength, two of which are as follows:

  • Maximal Strength - This is the most amount of force a muscle group can exert in a single movement.
  • Explosive Strength - This is when a muscles uses strength in a short, fast burst.


Speed is the rate at which someone is able to move, or to cover a distance in a given amount of time.

Speed is important in lots of activities, from the obvious like 100m sprint, to the less obvious, like the speed a hockey player can swing their arm to generate power to pass a ball.

You can work out speed by dividing the distance covered by the time taken to do it.


Power is being able to exert as much strength as possible in the shortest time possible.

Power = Strength x Speed

Power is important for throwing, hitting, sprinting and jumping. For example, in a long jump, both the sprint run-up and the take-off from the board require power.


Flexibility is the amount of movement possible at a joint.

Flexibility is important for any physical activity, for example:

  • Fewer Injuries - If you're flexible, you're less likely to pull or strain a muscle or stretch too far and injure yourself.
  • Better Performance - Some sporting actions require being flexible e.g. the splits in gymnastics


Agility is the ability to change body position or direction quickly and with control.

Agility is important in any activity where you have to run around and change direction all the time, like football or hockey.


Balance is the ability to stay upright and in control of any movement.

Balance requires keeping the body's centre of mass over a base of support.

Any sport that involves changing direction quickly, like football or basketball, required good balance.


Coordination is the ability to use two or more parts of the body together, efficiently and accurately.

Hand-eye coordination is important in sports that require precision. E.g. being able to hit a ball in tennis, or shoot a bull's-eye in archery.

Limb coordination allows you to be able to walk, run, dance, kick and swim. It is also important in gymnastics where your performance is judged on your coordination.

Reaction Time

Reaction time is the time taken to move in response to a stimulus.

In lots of sports, you need to have fast reactions. The stimulus that you respond to could be, e.g. a starter gun, a pass in football, or a serve in tennis.

Test Your Knowledge

  1. Analyse the importance of muscular endurance for a long-distance cyclist.
  2. Give two ways that better flexibility can help a swimmer's performance.
  3. What is meant by coordination? Give an example of how coordination is important for a boxer.

Knowledge Organisers

Components of Fitness