Three Components of Physical Fitness

exercising to improve physical fitnessThree Essential Components of Physical Fitness Explained

The three components of physical fitness are strength, endurance and flexibility. Most exercise and fitness programs combine these three elements. It is important to incorporate these three elements in your exercise program to achieve a healthy and energetic lifestyle.


Strength can be gained through two types of training, resistance and weight. Weight training is a form of training where the force of gravity in the form of dumbbells and weighted bars is used to oppose the force generated by the muscle via eccentric and concentric contraction. In resistance training, hydraulic and elastic tension is used to provide the actual resistance.

There has been a different (and in my opinion a more effective) way to train, especially if you are short on time. This training method is cardio strength training. Without getting into too much detail on this very effective course of training, I can suggest a great book, “Cardio Strength” by Robert Dos Remedios. This is an amazing book and worth every penny. In my opinion, any serious trainer should have this book. Study it and apply some of the examples given. This book took my training to a whole new level and took me to a level of conditioning I didn’t think was possible.


Endurance training consists of performing low- to medium-intensity exercise for an extended period of time. This type of training can be done by running or jogging, and using equipment like the stair stepper or elliptical machine. Endurance training is different from other forms of physical stress, where fatigue of the muscles and cardiovascular system would cause one to stop a particular exercise. In endurance training, these conditions would not cause the physical output or effort to end.

There are a quite a few confusions and misconceptions when it comes to endurance training. Let me touch on a couple to help you better understand the three components of physical fitness.

  • If you are training for a long distance event, say a marathon, should you skip on the high intensity training, and save your energy for your long distance training? NO!!! You need to work on your legs since they play a great part in running, and also don’t forget to work on your core.
  •  If you want to lose weight, should you run or bike on empty? NO!!! Your body will perform like it is dying with no fuel. Don’t eat donuts. Go for protein and complex carbs.


Flexibility is the range of movement in a joint or series of joints and muscles that is attainable through your own efforts, the help of a partner, or a piece of equipment. There are many advantages to being physically flexible. Flexibility improves general health, reduces the chances of injury, and improves your physical performance.

The most common form of stretching is known as static stretching. This is refers to the practice of stretching to your maximum capacity, holding for a brief period of time, and then releasing. Static stretching helps improve circulation and prepares your joints and muscles for your next workout. Regardless of what type of exercise you are doing, incorporating flexibility training can further your progress and enhance your health, movement and balance. Flexibility should become a natural part of your routine.

Three Components of Physical Fitness:  Final Thoughts

A training plan or regime that combines all three of these elements is the ideal fitness plan. Many avid gym rats will bypass flexibility training and focus mainly on strength and endurance. If you observe these rats in their training habits, eventually you will find one limping, walking with one hand pressed to the side of their backs, or stretching a shoulder that has been injured due to the lack of stretching in the first place. All three are important; they complement each other. If your goal is to have optimal health and fitness, then start with these three elements (along with a healthy diet) and you will be well on your way.

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Author Profile: Diane Mohlman

Author's Website Born and raised in southern California, I have always had a strong passion for fitness. I first understood the concept and importance of fitness training at the age of 18 when as a new wife and mother I found I needed strength, energy, and health more than ever. I lead by example; everything I teach, advise, and suggest, I practice. I am very comfortable and knowledgeable of all fitness levels and I continuously study and take ongoing education courses to keep myself up to date on all current and cutting-edge research in fitness, health, and diet. This is not just a job to me, it is my passion and something I so strongly believe in. I am committed to helping others maximize their level of fitness and I will go to just about any length to see my clients achieve these goals. I truly find joy in helping a person obtain a better quality of life, watching a person become more confident by gaining physical strength, and overcoming a lack of energy.

Disclaimer: The views of the author are his or her own, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ask The Trainer.
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