The Four Elements Of Fitness

Elements like carbon, gold and titanium cannot be resolved into simpler substances but they can be joined together to form useful compounds. One of the most important examples for life on earth is the combination of hydrogren and oxygen which combine to produce water.

In similar fashion physical training can be broken down into four basic elements which merge together to form the useful function we commonly know as fitness.

  • Strength - An ability to produce and sustain force
  • Cardiovascular conditioning - An ability to provide oxygen to working muscles
  • Flexibility - An ability to utilise a joint’s full range of motion
  • Coordination - An ability to activate muscles to produce effective movement

For maximum effectiveness our exercise program should incorporate all four elements of fitness yet many fail to do so. Running provides cardiovascular conditioning, powerlifting provides strength, stretching provides flexibility but each widely ignores the rest. To get around this shortfall we can stitch together different types of exercise over the course of a week. Alternatively we can merge multiple elements into a single routine.

Resistance training completed in a circuit-like format using progressive loads and full range of motion exercises comes closest to hitting all four elements and providing complete fitness in a single session. Not essential but an excellent way to get more done in less time.