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Why Our Constantly Varied Fitness Programs Are More Effective To Increase Fitness Performance?

To answer this question, firstly we need to define fitness.

Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines "fitness" and being "fit" as the ability to transmit genes and being healthy. No help there. Searching the Internet for a workable, reasonable definition of fitness shows disappointingly little. Worse yet, the NSCA, the most respected publisher in exercise physiology, in their highly authoritative Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning doesn’t even attempt a definition.

Rather of defining fitness directly I use the ten general physical skills widely recognized by exercise physiologists. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, speed, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. (See “General Physical Skills”, bellow for definitions.) You are as fit as you are competent in each of these ten skills.

Importantly, improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body. By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed are adaptations of both training and practice.

A regimen develops fitness to the extent that it improves each of these ten skills. The implication here is that optimal fitness requires an ability to perform well at all tasks. Thereafter, we need constantly varied functional exercises to target all differnt fitness skills, perform at a regular frequency to increase fitness performance.

In addition, following the same fitness program week after week is rather daunting and eventually discouraging.



General Physical Skills:

1. Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance - The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

2. Stamina - The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.

3. Strength - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

4. Flexibility - the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.

5. Power - The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.

6. Speed - The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

7. Coordination - The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

8. Agility - The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

9. Balance - The ability to control the placement of the body center of gravity in relation to its support base.

10. Accuracy - The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.


Tomás Würst, Workout Australia Owner and founder. Fitness Specialist and Yoga Teacher

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