10 Components of Physical Fitness?

Many folks believe strength, endurance and cardiovascular health to be the primary fitness factor. 80% of the time Marathon runners, Tri-athletes etc are mentioned as the “fitness person of the world”. So are these the only components of physical fitness we need to level upon in order to be completely fit? If you think the answer is yes, sorry to burst your bubble! But there are 10 components of physical fitness, all of which are equally important and sometimes even complementary to each other.

Overall fitness is not about strength and cardiovascular health, these do serve a very important role in maintaining a healthy life. But, health can be affected in numerous ways. Some of which cannot be avoided by just maintaining good strength and cardio. Even excelling in sports and similar activities will require you to have a high level in other aspects of fitness as well. That is why all of the 10 components of physical fitness need to be maintained to ensure good overall fitness in all aspects of life. So what are these 10 components and where do they come from?

The Origin Of The 10 Components of Physical Fitness

There is no single origin from where the 10 components of physical fitness originated. Research on the internet reveals only a different number of components and their breakdown. Many even mention an 11th component of physical fitness – body composition. We, however, believe that is just the reward you get for maintaining good fitness levels in all the other components. Body composition is not something you especially train in. It is the result of training well in all areas and maintaining good overall fitness.

Although the different components of physical fitness are mentioned in many books on the subject, it isn’t until you’ve seen one of the CrossFit competitions that you get a good idea of what it actually means. The Reebok CrossFit competitions have designed their competition to ensure that one must ace in all 10 components of physical fitness, to stand a chance of winning and be crowned “The fitness person of the world!”. That might sound a bit arrogant, but if you understand the science behind the various components, you will see how it makes complete sense.

What Are The 10 Components Of Physical Fitness

#1 Cardiovascular Endurance

Determines your body’s ability to gather, process and deliver oxygen.

Endurance Component of physical FitnessMuscles that are engaged, require a good supply of oxygen continuously to function properly. Oxygen ensures that the heart, lungs and muscles are able to keep at it continuously for a long duration. Training that helps you maintain a good level of cardiovascular endurance ensures that your body efficiently gathers, processes and delivers oxygen where and when required.

#2 Muscular Endurance (Stamina)

Helps your body to process, deliver, store and utilize energy.

Stamina Component of physical FitnessTo do any physical activity, your muscle needs to utilize the energy from Fat or Glycogen. These act as the fuel, which is required for muscles to continue working. Remember that burning sensation you get when you’re doing a high number of reps at the gym? That is the muscle crying for more fuel. Good muscular endurance boosts your body’s ability to break down that stored energy and deliver it to the muscles, thereby boosting your stamina.

#3 Strength

How much force can a muscle or combination of muscles apply in a single contraction.

Also known as the ‘one-rep max’, it is the max force the engaged muscles can exert in one contraction. Training programs that focus on building muscular strength will have you do fewer reps but with more weights. This also tends to create more dense leaner muscles, as per your body type. A popular goal among many fitness enthusiasts. 

#4 Power

For the muscles to deliver maximum force in minimum time.

Strength determines the amount of force your muscles can produce. Power determines the speed at which you can apply that force. Power is the explosive energy the body produces which can be noticed during movements like the start of a sprint. However, keep in that power training is a specialised form of fitness training and should only be done under the guidance of a good personal trainer, if possible, to avoid injuries and overtraining.

#5 Agility 

It is the ability of the body to quickly transition between different movement patterns.

Training your body to be good at speed, flexibility, balance, and coordination components of fitness mentioned below results in you having excellent agility as well. Agility training programs hence tend to especially address these 4 components of physical fitness.

#6 Speed

It is the ability of your body to reduce the time required to perform repeated movements to a minimum.

Training for good speed gives you the ability to perform repetitive or continuous movements at a fast rate. For example, the speed at which your legs move while sprinting, or the speed at which you can throw a punch. Your speed is determined not just by how fast you move. It also takes into account your rate of acceleration, how long it takes to start from a stationary position, and the duration for which that speed can be maintained. It thus requires you to be good at the above-mentioned components of physical fitness as well, namely endurance, strength and power.

#7 Flexibility

Your range of motion around a given joint or set of joints.

Flexibility is one of the most essential components of fitness. It is required to do any physical activity correctly. During training, it is important to train in all 3 planes of motion which also helps you to be good at all the other 9 components of fitness as well. 

With an increased range of motion, giving you good posture, you can get into natural positions much more easily. This helps reduce the risk of injury, especially as we grow older. But flexibility isn’t just about the range of motion on any given joint, but also around a group of joints. Training programs that help stretch the different joints will help improve your flexibility. For example, good flexibility is one of the benefits of yoga, its why I always talk to my male clients about the benefits of yoga for men. There are also a lot of benefits of yoga for Martial Arts like Muay Thai.

#8 Balance

It is your ability to control your bodies centre of gravity.

Similar to flexibility, a good balance is essential to perform most physical activities, especially workout routines correctly. In order to maintain good balance, other components of physical fitness such as core strength and endurance should be quite good as well. Choosing training programs such as martial arts is good for improving balance and stability.

#9 Coordination

The ability to change your movement from one pattern to another in the least amount of time.

Any physical activity we do, we are constantly shifting between multiple movement patterns. The patterns get more complex during activities such as sports or combat training. Good coordination is learned over time through practice.

#10 Accuracy

It is the measure of how good you are at controlling the movement in a particular direction and intensity.

Accuracy is one of the components of physical fitness that is primarily developed by repeated practise. It is something your brain learns over time. Of course, the better your posture, balance and coordination, the better your accuracy. 

And the 11th Component of Physical Fitness?

Like we mentioned at the start, there are some who count ‘body composition’ as the 11th component of physical fitness. However, you do not particularly train for good body composition. It is what you get for training well in all the other 10 components of physical fitness. So, no need to worry about this particular component, and just focus on all the 10 and you will do just fine. 

This should have given you a brief understanding of the various components of physical fitness required to boost your performance. If you are serious about fitness and want to learn more about how you can train and measure where you stand, then this article on the 10 Components of Physical Fitness will help you a lot. Or if you have a fitness enthusiast friend, sharing this article with them might be helpful. Let us know your thoughts and doubts by commenting below.