We know that fitness is the ability to meet the demands of the enviroment. Now we are going to talk about general and specific fitness and we shall study the components of the physical fitness and their importance in sports and daily physical activities.

General fitness.

This is the ability of your body to carry out everyday activities without excessive tiredness and still have enough energy to cope with emergencies. It is in last part of this definition that causes many people to be unfit. There is a lot people that doesn´t practice any kind of sport or physical activity, and they can manage their daily activities without problems, but the problems start when they have to do something not usual like run to the bus stop quickly, because their heart, lungs, muscles and joints aren´t ready to cope with emergencies and it can cause some injuries, or worst problems like heart attacks, etc.
General fitness is also called health-related fitness because it helps to keep you healthy. We all need a minimum level of general fitness to cope with everyday life. We shall talk about methods of training later but briefly, three lots of exercise lasting at least twenty minutes per week is really the minimum we need.
There are five aspects of general fitness:
1- Stamina/endurance/cardiovascular fitness. This is the ability to exercise the entire body for long periods of time. Walking for long periods of time, jogging, aerobics, bike...

2- Muscular endurance. This is the ability of muscles to maintain and repeat contractions without getting tired. Stacking shelves all day long in a shop, swimming or jogging are some examples.

3- Strength. This is the amount of force a muscle can exert against a resistance. You need stength to lift a suitcase or to carry the shop bags home.

4- Flexibility. This is the range of movement at a joint. You need flexibility for tying your shoe laces or reaching up to a shelf for example. If you have poor flexibility you can injure your tendons or muscles in a violent movement.

5- Body composition. This is the percentage of body weight wich is fat, muscle and bone. If we have too much fat or excess weight we put a strain upon our vital organs.

Specific fitness.

This is the ability of the body to carry out set tasks effectively and efficiently. It usually requires some sort of learning and can also be called skill-related fitness.
Sports people require certain areas, they are:
1- Agility. This is the ability to change the position of the body quickly whilst keeping the whole body under control.

2- Balance. This is the ability to retain the centre of mass above the base of support.

3- Co-ordination. This the ability to move two or more body parts together smoothly and accurately in response to what your senses tell you.

4- Explosive power. This is the ability to do strength performances quickly. For example, to hit the ball hard in tennis or to do a karate chop.

5- Speed and fast reactions. To run a short distance in the minimum period of time (speed) and the time taken between the presentation of a stimulus and the onset of movement.

6- Timing. This is the ability to correctly time your movement in response to what is going on around you.

Physical fitness.

When we talk about physical fitness, we are talking about the trainable skills. If you want to improve your endurace you can train and be sure that your endurance will perform. That is because the endurance has a physical dependence. But if you want to improve your co-ordination you will have to repeat the actions that require co-ordination, but you are not improving your co-ordination. These skills are called motor skills.
The physical fitness will englobe the next aspects:

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The endurance is the ability to exercise the entire body for long periods of time, trying to delay the fatigue as much as possible.
There are a lot of endurance classifications, we shall use the next that divided the endurance in:
Aerobic endurance.
Anaerobic lactic endurance.
Anaerobic alactic endurance.
This classification is made attending the energy pathway (the way your body obtains the energy to make an exercise).

The ATP is the molecular "unit of currency" of intracellular energy transfer, The ATP is plenty of energy chemical links that are used when they are broken to exercice and other human processes like digestion, etc.
Bassicaly the ATP is composed of three phosphorus molecules and the adenosin (composed of an adenine ring and a ribose sugar). The ATP is called adenosin-triphosphate.
We should know that when the Phosphrus links are broken energy is released and used in physical exercise.
Here you have the ATP chemical formula.


A simple way to explain it is to say that the ATP breaks into ADP (adenosin- diphosphate) and one molecule of phosphorus, and in that chemichal reaction energy is released.

We should know where the energy (ATP) comes from, to classify the endurance. We can find ATP in our muscles or in a molecule called PCr (phospho-creatine), or we can manufacture or make it with or without oxigen, and with or without residual substances, using carbohidrates, fats or proteins. All these things should tell us what kind of endurance we are using.

Types of endurance.

We can obtain energy by using the muscular and PCr ATP (anaerobic alactic endurance), also by using the anaerobic energy production. The exercise energy is supplied without oxygen by using substances already in our muscles, mainly glucose and glycogen, by this way a waste product is created (lactic acid), then we are talking about anaerobic lactic endurance. Also we have the aerobic energy production, we have enough osygen to broke down carbohydrates and fats, now we are talking about aerobic endurance.

Anaerobic alactic endurance.
Every short (20 seconds max) and high intensity exercise, belongs to anaerobic alactic endurance. We use the muscular ATP (the first 5 seconds), and the ATP accumulated in a substance called PHOSPHOCREATINE or PCr (also you can see it wroten as PC) for next seconds until 20.
As an example for the first case (muscular ATP) we have the vertical jump, medicine ball and other throws and every short run (less than 30 meters). The intensity of these exercises is the high intensity (100%).

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The second example (energy supplied by breaking down PCr) includes every run from 40 meters until 200 meters run, plyometrics, etc. The intensity is about 95%. A short hurdles run is also a good example.

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Anaerobic lactic endurance.
It includes every exercise that takes from 20/30 seconds to two minutes thirty seconds with an intensity about 80/90%.
We don´t have more ATP in our muscles to use, so we have to manufacture it using the food nutrients. The first nutrient we use are the carbohydrates, the energy is supplied using the carbohydrates without oxygen (high intensity exercises), and it is called the Anaerobic glycolysis. Unfortunately we also produce a waste substance calle LACTIC ACID, that makes our muscles tired and painful, so we have to lower intensity or stop.
Every exercise that takes the times that we were talking about, will be an anaerobic lactic exercise, for example runs between 200 and 800 meters or 100 meters swimming, or any other sport exercise in these times and an intensity of 80-90%.


Aerobic endurance.
Every exercise that takes long time and with an intensity lower than 70-80% is called aerobic exercise. If the exercise increase the time taken, the intensity is lower. It is possible to classify this type of endurance in sub-types, but we are not going to study it.
The energy is supplied:
1st- Until 20 minutes we use carbohydrates.
2nd- From 20 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes we use fats.
3rd- Even in extremely situations we can use proteins to obtain ATP, i.e. Running a marathon, triathlon or ironman.
This is called Aerobic Gycolysis. With this energetic via we can obtein a lot of ATP with only molecule of Glicose using the KREBS CYCLE.

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In the next picture you can see a resume of the basic features of endurance types.


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Methods of training.

Now we are going to talk about some methods of training, or some ways to improve the endurance, the general endurance, (present in everyday activities) and the endurance needed to improve at any sport.
But first we should learn some concepts like principles of training and thresholds of training, that will be explained in another section of this page.
Anyway, we shall talk now about one basic concept, it´s the heart rate.
The heart rate is the number of beats per minute of our heart. It depends on the exercise intensity, the more exercise intensity, the higher heart rate.
Resting heart rate: 50/70 beats per minute (bpm)
Maximun heart rate: We can use this formula 220bpm - your age
To know the resting heart rate we should be sitting or lying. There are some ways to know it, two of the most effective are the next:
- Put your index and middle fingers (never use your thumb, because it has very perceptible beats and you might confuse) or in the neck to look for carotid artery, or in the wirst to look for the radial artery. You must count the number of beats in a minute. You also can count only 30 seconds but then you will have to multiply by 2 the result.


After a phycical exercise or sport you can do it on the same way, but there is a more efective way to do it, you can simply put the palm of your hand in your heart and lean a little. You will feel your heart beating. Now you can count the number of beatings in only 10 seconds and multiply by 6, because if you count a whole minute, be sure that the number of beatings in the first seconds won´t be same as in the last 10 seconds.

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We shall divide the training methods in 3 groups:
1- Continuous training
2- Interval training (heat rate in rest period over 120bpm)
3- Interval training (heart rate in rest period under 120bpm)
4- Mixed methods. (Circuit).

1- Continouos training.
Continuous training is a good way to improve your aerobic sytem and also a good way to burn body fat (if it takes at least 30 minutes). There aren´t stops to rest in a continuous training, there is an active rest (running slower). We shall talk about the next methods:

Continuous running.
Uphill running.
Total training.

Continuous running.
The continuous runing is one of the most used methods to improve endurance, because it´s easy to do, we dont´t any material except sportswear and a place to run.
We have to run a long distance (more than 20 minutes) with a 60%-85% intensity, depending on the person fitness.
To calculate the pace, we have to find out our maximum heart rate. (Remember, you could find it using the formula 220 bpm - your age). For example if you are 15, your maximun heart rate is 220-15= 205 bpm. If you have you workout between a 60-85% intensity, you know that you will work between 123bpm (60%) and 175bpm(85%).
The ideal work is to keep always the same pace, and that pace should alow you to talk with a teammate without getting too tired, about 150bpm.
If you run more than 30 minutos your body will start to burn fats so your body weight will be reduced, because until 20 minutes our body burn carbohidrates to produce ATP.
Click here to find out more.

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Farlek is an endurance method of training conceived in 1935 by (Gösta Holmér) a Swedish man. Fartlek means "speed play". The method involves many changes of speed while running.
It was developed to do it in the natural enviroment, using the things we can find in it, like hills (uphill and downhill), diferent kinds of ground (hard and soft...) and alowing the person to change his /her pace arbitrarily
Actually, farlek is used to improve aerobic endurance (more time , less intensity in the workout period) and anaerobic endurance (less time, more intensity) in a lot of sports.
The heart rate isn´t always the same. It´s higher in the workout and lower in the recovery time. You have to remember that farlek is a continuous training, so the recovery time is made while we are runing in a lower intensity of course. The heart rate goes from 80% 90% in the workout to 60% 70% in the recovery phase.
You can a fartlek in two diferent ways. You have to repat a high pace and a low pace (recovery) while you are runing:

1- Time.
For example, you have to run a total of 40 minutes, in those 40 minutes you are going to do the following:
10 minutes of continuous runing, then you will run 1 minute at a high pace (80% intensity for example) followed by 2 minutes of low intensity run (50%), and you will repeat until the watch shows 35 minutes. The last 5 minutes you will do continous running to make the heart rate stable.
2- Distance.
You don´t need a watch now, the only thing you need is to mark a distance to run faster and another distance to run slower. For example, in a football field you can run around it, running one half in a high pace and the other half in a lower pace to recuperate.

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Uphill running.
In this method we use the land slopes. It´s similar to farlek, but now we shall do the high pace while we run uphill and the recovery phase while we run downhill. We will use long slopes running at a lower intensity if we can improve the aerobic energy system or short slopes at a higher intensity if we want to improve our anaerobic energy system.
The heart rate is also always changing in this method of training.


Total training.
We can improve our aerobic endurance with the total training but we can also improve other aspects of the general and physical fitness. We could say that total training is a mixture of the other methods, here we have run and pace changes, but we also can do strength, balance and stretching exercises and much more.
Here you have aan example:
10 minutes of continuous running +
Three 30 metres sprint series with slow runing recovery (30 metres) +
25 situps +
15 pushups +
1 minute of skiping +
3 minutes of streching +
2 minutes running
and repeat until you have done 40 or 50 minutes.
Also you could do the exercises always at the same point like in a circuit training.
You can find in some parks a natural circuit with a lot of exercises you can do. There is a long distance to run (1000 metres or more) and an exercise every 100 metres (for example) with a "how to do it" explanation.
In the next picture can you see some of the elements you could find in one of those circuits.


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2- Interval training.
In this methods we shall find two phases, the first one is when you run fast doing a 100/200/400 metres serie, and the second is the rest time (now you are stoped or you are walking slowly).
The number of bpm in the recovery phase souldn´t be under 120 bpm. We improve the endurance in the recovery phase, because our body fights to be fit to run the next serie.
You will run ten 200 metres series with an intensity of 80%-90% and you will be recovering after the series for 2 minutes. Remember to check you heart rate to be sure that it doesn´t go down under 120bpm.
You are doing your anaerobic energy system works.

3- Repetitions and competition training.
These methods are interval methods too, but there is one difference between them. The number of bpm in the recovery phase is now under 120bpm, even you can reach 90bpm. The competition model is to repeat the same distance you do at your athletic.

4- Circuit.
A circuit is a good way to organise your muscle or skill training. A circuit usually has 8 to 15 stations (exercises to do). We could do the circuit exercises by number of repetitions (25 sit-ups for example) or by time (1 minute doing sit-ups).
We could classify the circuit like a mixed method, because it would be continuos if we don´t have any rest between the exercises or if the resting time consists in running during a minute, and would be an interval training if after the exercise we have a rest period before the next exercise.
We could work with our aerobic system (more time and less intensity in the exercise) or with our anaerobic system (more intensity and less time).
We also can classify the circuit training like a method to improve our strength.
Here you have some exercises you can do into a circuit training. You can work for one minte in each exercise and then run for another minute untel complete the whole circuit. You should repeat the circuit three times with 3 minutes of running between each block.


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Testing endurance.

There are multiple tests to know the endurance levels. It´s measured in terms of VO2max (maximal oxygen consumption). This is the maximum volume of oxygen you are able to use when exercising. The larger the value, the fitter you are.
A large person will generally use more oxygen than a smaller one, because he or she has larger muscles. To get around this, VO2max is usually expressed in litres of oxygen per kilogram of body weight.
The only foolproof method of doing this is a sports lab with special equipment. The air you breathe out is collected and run through a special computer.

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Because the above test needs so much special equipment, other tests have been devised to do the same thing. They are not as accurate but do compare well.
We are going to talk about:

The Cooper test.
The Course Navette or Luc-Leger test or multistage fitness test.
The step test.
The 1000 or 2000 metres tests.

1- The Cooper test.
You have to run as fast as you can during 12 minutes. The distance you run will be measured. The further you ran in the time, the fitter you are.
To know your VO2 level you could use this formula: VO2 = 22,351 x Distancia (Km.) – 11,288.
This test has a problem, if the person isn´t experienced enough, couldn´t estimate his/her pace to finish the test (would have to stop before the end) or could finish it without have run the distance she/he could have run with a high pace.
You can have a look to this page to compare your result in the test.


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2- Course Navette.
You have to run 20 metres keeping the pace a tape recorder sets. The bleeps start slow (even you can go walking) but speed up each minute. The slowest is called level one, the fastest level 23.
Here you have a video that shows how to do the test.
Also you can download the Course navette mp3 file here.

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3- The step test.
You have to step onto a 30 cm bench one foot at a time and then step down again at a pace of one every two seconds for three minutes. Five seconds after finishing take your pulse for a minute.

The lower your heart rate at the end of this the higher your level of cardiovascular endurance.


4- 1000 / 2000 meters tests.
You have to run the distance the faster you can. The lower time the better endurance.

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The flexibility is the range of a movement in a joint.
It depends on some factors, firt of all we shall talk about mechanical factors.

1- Joint mobility. There are some kind of joints with different range of movements.
2- Muscle elasticity. It´s reffered to how a muscle can be stretched and return to its resting position.
The higher joint mobility and the higher muscle elasticity the higher flexibility.

There are many other factors, for example:

Age: The flexibility decreases with age, the decrease is higher in people who usually do not stretch.
Gender: females score higher for flexibility. They have smaller muscles so their joints have more mobility.
Temperature: The higher muscle temperature and ambient temperature the better flexibility.
Heredity: People can inherit a certain muscle features to make flexibility lower or higher.
Emotional factors: a nervous person will have a lower flexibility than a calm person because of the higher muscle tone.
Social habits. For example, the way how people from India sit will result a higher hip joint flexibility.
Training. If you usually stretch your flexibility will increase.

Types of flexibility.

A lot of expert training people made flexibility classifications. We shall make a summary and shall talk about:

1- Active flexibility: is the ability to assume and maintain extended positions using only the tension of the agonists and synergists while the antagonists are being stretched. The ballistic stretching is an active flexibility method.


2- Passive Flexibility: is the ability to assume extended positions and then maintain them using only your weight, the support of your limbs, the gravity or some other apparatus (such as a chair or a barre, even a schoolmate or a team-mate). The stretching and the PNF are passive flexibility methods.


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Training methods.

You can improve your flexibility using the following methods.
Dinamic method.
Static method: Stretching and PNF.

1- Dinamic method. A method to improve the active flexibility.
The main two ways to work are: the ballistic method that involves quick movements in a joint that often take the joint beyond its normal range and the bouncing stretch, consisting in doing repetitive movements while stretching.
These methods have some disadvantages, the first one is that the flexibility improvement is lower and the second is that you are likely to have a tendon or a muscle injury.
You should use this methods if you practice a sport like Taekwondo or any other sport where the fast limb movements are usual, but be sure that you have made a good warm-up before.


2- Static method. This is a method to improve the passive flexibility, because something external help us to stretch(a team-mate or the gravity).
We shall talk about:

The objective is to look for the maximun muscle stretch without pain.
To work properly we should take the following steps:
- Stretch the muscle until the pain point (you should stop before the pain or the myotatic reflex appears). Keep the stretching for at least 20 seconds.
- Relax the muscle for 20 seconds.
- Repeat the stretching. You shoul reach a high stretching level the second time.
If we should made a summary we should have to say: To strecht - To relax - To strecht
In this web page and in this one you can look for a lot of stretching exercises. Also you can click on the muscle name in the next list.

Gastrocnemius. (Calf). Remember to have your knee in a extension position when you stretch your gastrocnemius. If you make a little flexion you will stretch the soleus.
Abdominal muscles:


Neck muscles.

We can stretch with a schoolmate help to reach higher stretching levels. But the comunication between him / her should be perfect to avoid any muscle injury.

- PNF.
PNF means Propioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation. It is something like how to have the whole muscle control during the stretching.
This method was developed to fight agains the MYOTATIC REFLEX, and we also could say tha this is the nost efective method to improve the flexibility. It´s also used during a injury muscle recovery period.

Myotatic reflex.
The Myotatic reflex is an involuntary contraction of the muscle that is being stretched. It hapens to protect the muscle from injuries. So we could say that the myotatic reflex is good. But it has a bad side, I could not improve my flexibility or my stretching levels because the myotatic reflex will stop the stretching. But there is a good new, you can use the PNF to fight against the myotatic reflex and then improve your flexibility.
When we are using the PNF method to improve our flexibility we can beat us to it doing a voluntary muscle contraction of the muscle we are stretching.

To work properly with this method we should follow these steps:
1- Stretch. We stretch the muscle right up until the pain point (in that point the miotatic reflex should appear). We keep the stretching for at least 20 seconds .
2- Do a muscle contraction. That contraction should be a gentle and continuous contraction for at least 10 seconds. The muscle contraction should stop gently.
Here you have an example:
You are stretching your hamstrings, a schoolmate is raising you leg, to do a hamstrings contration you should push your schoolmate hands continuously and gentlly for 10 seconds.
3- Relax. For some seconds.
4- Repeat the stretching. Probably we shall achieve a higher stretching level.
You can work with a shoolmate or team-mate because you can find any muscle difficult to stretch it on your own, but remember to communicate with him / her to avoid muscle injuries.


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Flexibility tests.

There are a lot of test to measure your flexibility. We shall talk about the next tests:
1- Deep trunk flexion.
You will have to push between your legs back a block of wood. The distance reached between your heels and the block is your result.
You could open your legs a little bit more than your shoulders measurement.


2- Sit and reach test.
The sit and reach test is a common measure of flexibility, and specifically measures the flexibility of the lower back and hamstring muscles.
This test involves sitting on the floor with legs stretched out straight ahead. Shoes should be removed. The soles of the feet are placed flat against the box. Both knees should be locked and pressed flat to the floor - the tester may assist by holding them down. With the palms facing downwards, and the hands on top of each other or side by side, the subject reaches forward along the measuring line as far as possible. Ensure that the hands remain at the same level, not one reaching further forward than the other. After some practice reaches, the subject reaches out and holds that position for at one-two seconds while the distance is recorded. Make sure there are no jerky movements
The most logical measure is to use the level of the feet as recording zero, so that any measure that does not reach the toes is negative and any reach past the toes is positive. However, using negative values is more difficult for statistical analyses, and for comparing results. The Eurofit manual suggests having 15cm at the level of the feet.
Here you have a video that shows how to do it.


A limitation of the traditional sit and reach procedure is that people with long arms and/or short legs would get a better result, while those with short arms and/or long legs are at a disadvantage.
There are another tests that measure the joints flexibility with a goniometer or a flexometer. They are more difficult to do but more realistic, but more time is needed to do them.
In this link you can check another tests to measure your flexibility.

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In physics, a force is any influence that causes a free body to undergo a change in speed, a change in direction, or a change in shape. Newton´s second law of motion says that the net force applied to a body is directly proportional to the acceleration the body acquires, so:


But in sport and P.E. the force is called strength and is defined as the "ability to overcome a resistance", using the muscles contractions.

The strength depends on:

1- Muscle structure, in these aspects:
- Transversal section of the muscle. The wider it is, the stronger the muscle is.
- There are two types of muscles depending on the muscular fibres layout: Fusiform and penniform muscles. The penniform muscles are stronger.


- Types of muscle fibres. The slow and the fast twitch fibres (red an white). The fast twitch fibres are stronger but less resistant.
- The muscle length. The longer the stronger.
- Motor units. If a muscle have more motor units (nerve endings in a muscle) is stronger than a muscle with fewer motor units.

2- Age and gender.
The strength levels are similiar until you are 13/14 but then the levels increase a lot in males. You reach the highest level of strength about your 25s or 30s.

3- Motivation.
There are some strength levels that are only be reached in extreme situations.

4- Training.
If you train every week your strength levels will increase quickly.

5- Muscle temperature.
A good warm-up is required to be able to aply the maximun strength.

6- Type of muscle contraction.
One of the most used classifications says that the types of muscle contractions are Isotonic, isometric and isokinetic.

a) Isotonic contraction. It means the same tension on the muscle or the same muscle tone. They can be concentric or eccentric.

- Isotonic concentric contraction: Concentric contractions are those which cause the muscle to shorten as it contracts. It happens when the movement is against gravity. An example is bending the elbow from straight to fully flexed, causing a concentric contraction of the Biceps Brachii muscle.


- Isotonic eccentric contraction: Eccentric contractions are the opposite of concentric and occur when the muscle lengthens as it contracts. They are movements in favour of gravity and are made by the antagonistic muscle slowing the movement. In the example above when you return your elbow to a straight position the muscle that acts is your biceps , not the triceps (really the muscle that make an extension in your elbow is the triceps).


b) Isometric contraction. Isometric contractions occur when there is no change in the length of the contracting muscle. This occurs when carrying an object in front of you as the weight of the object is pulling your arms down but your muscles are contracting to hold the object at the same level.músculo está xenerando tensión, pero non existe un acortamento nin
In examples above if you keep your elbow in a medium position you are working with your muscle, but there isn´t movement.


c) Isokinetic contraction. Isokinetic contractions are similar to isotonic in that the muscle changes length during the contraction, where they differ is that Isokinetic contractions produce movements of a constant speed. To measure this a special piece of equipment known as an Isokinetic Dynamometer is required. Examples of using isokinetic contractions in day-to-day and sporting activites are rare. The best is breast stroke in swimming, where the water provides a constant, even resistance to the movement of adduction.

Types of strength.

We shall study the next classification that explains the types of strength according to the movement you do.
Muscular endurance.
Speed strength.
Maximum strength.

1- Muscular endurance.
This is the ability of muscles to maintain and repeat contractions without getting tired. Swimming, rowing, cross country are muscular endurance exercises. You can measure your muscular endurance with tests like chin-ups or sit-ups in a minute.

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2- Power.
It refers to the maximum amount of force that can be applied in the shortest time. For example jumping and throwing in athletics, hits in marcial arts or batting in cricket or beisbol are good examples of power.
To measure this ability you can do the vertical or horizontal jump test or the medicine ball throw.

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3- Speed strength.
This is the ability of muscles to repeat contractions quickly in a short period of time (this time can not make the muscles feel tired). For example: how many sit-ups are you able to do in 10 seconds?

4- Maximum strength.
This is the ability to aply the maximum force in a muscular contration. It´s often measure in 1RM (one repetition maximum). The weightlifting is the best example.
Because it is a type of force that requires to move the maximum weight it isn´t recommended to young people at all, even if you are a top athlete a professional trainer should advise you.
To know how much weight are we able to lift with an exercise, we can do:
Directly: We shall increase weigth gradually until we can.
Indirectly: There are some formulas that give us the maximum weight we can lift witout lifting it. We should do a number of repetition between 4 and 10 until we can´t lift more and then use the next formula to calculate the maximum weigth we are able to lift.

1RM = lifted weight / ( 1,0278 - (0,0278 x Number of repetitions) )

We don´t need to know our maximum strength if we are people who want to improve our general fitness. Only the profesional players and the top athletes need to do it with the professional trainer advise because it could be dangerous and could cause injuries.

Types of strength according to the number of muncles used.

General strength:
We made a general strength exercise when we don´t look for a specific muscle improvement but also in the exercise we are doing are involved a lot of muscles. For example when we carry a team-mate on our back, or when we play the "rope pull" or any other exercise that involves the use of a lot of muscles.

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Specific strength:
It´s when we make an exercise to improve the strength of that muscle. For example when we do sit-ups, or pull-ups, press ups......

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Types of strength according to body weight
We can talk about absolut and relative strength
The absolute strength is the maximun strength people can reach. We have already talk above, how to calculate it. We don´t take account the body weight neither the muscular mass.
The relative strength is quotient between the maximun strength (absolut strength) and the body weight. A person with less body weight and the same absolut strength will have a higher relative strenth, and even a person with lower absolute strenth could have the same strength or even a higher relative strength than a person with a higher maximum strength.

Relative strength= Maximum strength / body weight

Training methods

1- Self-charges. It means to work with your own body weight. When you do sit-ups or push-ups or any other exercise without an external weight you are working with self-charges. There are a couple of important methods to talk about, they are the jumps and the plyometric workout, but we talk about then further on.

2- Overloads: To improve the muscle strength we need to increase the weight we are moving with the exercise because if we don´t, the muscle will adapt to the weight and it won´t improve. We can find the next methods:

Work in pairs: It means to do exercises with a schoolmate, you can do transports (i.e. piggyback, wheelbarrow walk) or exercises with the team- mate resistance, it means that you try to do a movement and your partner stops it or try to do it more difficult.

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Medicine balls (multi throws) or rubber bands. In this web page you have a complete workout using rubber bands.

Games. It should be the most used method in primary and secondary school because you improve your strength as well as it´s fun. In this group you have the transports and the fighting games.

Weight lifting. It is the most used method and probably the most effective to improve almost the types of strength. All the workout should be planned and supervised by a trainer.
You can check some drills in this web page.

There are some more strength training methods we should study separately, we will talk about:
Circuits are one most used ways to improve strength. We just have seen when we studied endurance training that we can focus the circuits in diferent ways to improve what we want to. When we are doing a circuit we can work with any muscle separately or we can work with multiple muscles in the same circuit.

Es un método de trabajo dedicado a la mejora de la musculatura del miembro inferior. Consiste en realizar diferentes saltos usando obstáculos (vallas o bancos suecos por ejemplo) o usando escaleras o gradas. Además de la fuerza de los músculos del miembro inferior y en función de las pausas entre series podemos trabajar también la resistencia anaeróbica láctica.


Es una variante de los multisaltos. Consiste en ejecutar saltos horizontales o verticales co una previa caída desde una altura. Primero obligamos al músculo a hacer una contracción isotónica excéntrica (para frenar o amortiguar la caída) e inmediatamente hacemos una contracción isotónica concéntrica (o salto vertical u horizontal). La mejora que conseguimos es en la fuerza explosiva o fuerza potencia del tren inferior o superior dependiendo del trabajo, ya que este puede ser adaptado al miembro superior, por ejemplo recibiendo un balón medicinal y después lanzádolo de nuevo o haciendo una flexión de brazos en el suelo de manera brusca y subir rápidamente.


A continuación tes unha táboa que che pode servir de orientación en canto aos tempos e intensidades de traballo en cada un dos tipos de forza dos que falamos:

Types of strength
Rest time
3 min
3-5 min
30-90 secs

Tests para medir la fuerza.

Salto horizontal.
Este método mide a forza explosiva do tren inferior. Consiste en saltar cara adiante dende unha posición de pes á mesma altura, cunha separación entre eles de máis ou menos á da anchura dos hombros, só co impulso que me pode dar a flexión dos xeonllos e cadeira e o movemento dos brazos. Mídes a distancia entre o liña de salto e o punto de caída máis cercano a esta.


Salto vertical.
É unha variante do anterior pero en vez de buscar o salto horizontal, búscase o vertical. primeiro faremos unha marca na parede co brazo o máis extendido posible, despois saltaremos a pes xuntos só co impulso da previa flexión de xeonllos e realizaremos na parede unha segunda marca. A distancia entre a primeira marca e a segunda e o resultado.
Igualmente mide a forza explosiva do tren inferior.


Lanzamiento de balón medicinal.
Consiste en lanzar el balón medicinal desde una posición estática de pies a la misma altura, y solo con el impulso de la flexión de las rodillas, cadera y demás cadenas cinéticas para tratar de alcanzar la mayor distancia posible.
También mide la fuerza explosiva.


Abdominales en un minuto.
Tratar de realizar el mayor número de abdominales en un minuto. La forma de realizalo es la que se describe en el dibujo. Buscamos saber la fuerza resistencia. Si quisiéramos saber por ejemplo la fuerza velocidad con esta misma prueba deberíamos reducir el tiempo (un total de entre 10 y 30 segundos como máximo).


Flexiones en barra o suspensión en barra.
La dos miden la fuerza resistencia. En la primeira deberemos realizar el mayor número de flexiones de brazos (trabajo de dorsales y bíceps mayoritariamente) y en la segunda agarrarnos a la barra y aguantar el mayor tiempo posible en la posición que aparece en el dibujo.

dominadas.jpg agunatar_en_barra.jpg

Medición con dinamómetros
Se utilizan para medir la fuerza máxima que se puede ejercer con un determinado grupo muscular. En las imágenes puedes ver un dinamómetro de mano que medirá la fuerza máxima de los músculos del antebrazo como los flexores comúns de los dedos y demás, y en la otra un dinamómetro que en este caso mide la fuerza máxima de los extensores de la rodilla como el cuádriceps.

dinamometro_mano.jpg dinamometro_cuadriceps.jpg

Medición en un gimnasio.
Consiste en realizar un test en un determinado ejercicio para saber la fuerza máxima. Ya vimos que se podía hacer de dos maneras. También podemos hacer tests en el gimnasio para averiguar la fuerza resistencia o la fuerza velocidad en un determinado ejercicio para después aplicarlo en el entrenamiento.

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Definiremos la velocidad como la capacidad de realizar uno o diversos movimieentos en el menor tiempo posible. Esas acciones son de corta duración y ademáis no deberían producir fatiga. Es una cualidad con gran dependencia del sistema nervioso central. Se desarrolla muy pronto con lo cual se puede trabajar a edades tempranas y ademáis es una cualidad que genéticamente en cada individuo puede estar más o menos desarrollada.

Factores de los que depende la velocidad.
- El tipo de fibras musculares. Fibras de contracción rápida o fibras de contracción lenta. Cada individuo genéticamente está dotado de una mayor cantidad de fibras blancas (rápidas y poco resistentes) o de fibras rojas (lentas y resistentes). Nada se puede hacer si queremos convertir a una persona con gran cantidad de fibras rojas en un velocista. Podremos mejorar a su velocidad pero nunca convertirlo en una persona rápida.

- La velocidad de transmisión de los impulsos nerviosos. Cuanta más capacidad de transmisión mayor velocidad de contracción muscular y por lo tanto mayor velocidad. Es sobre importante en la velocidad de reaccción.

- La coordinación intramuscular. Muy relacionada con el aspecto anterior, se refiere a la capacidad de coordinación de las fibras musculares para realizar una contración veloz.

- La fuerza de los músculos. A mayor fuerza de los músculos mayor capacidad para contraerse rápido y por lo tanto mayor velocidad.

- La coordinación intermuscular. Referida a la capacidad de que varios músculos hagan una contracción de forma conjunta, equilibrada y eficaz. Tiene que ver con el aspecto anterior (fuerza muscular) e con el siguiente (ejecución técnica).

- La ejecución técnica. Esto es evidente, cuanto mejor sea la técnica, más velocidad seré capaz de alcanzar, a igualdad en los demás factores.

- La idade y el sexo. La velocidad alcanza los mayores niveis tanto en hombes como en mujeres a partir de los 20 años, pero evoluciona de una manera diferente ya que en los chicos siempre aumenta con la edad y en las chicas sufre un estancamiento o incluso disminución entre los 13/15 años para después mejorar de nuevo y alcanzar sus máximos.

- Temperatura muscular. Es necesaria una temperatura óptima para que la velocidad de contracción alcance los niveles máximos. El calentamiento debe ser fundamental para esto y además para evitar lesiones. La temperatura corporal también hace que se reduzca la viscosidad muscular (roce interno) y por lo tanto aumente la eficacia de contracción y por consiguiente la velocidad.

Tipos de velocidad.

Hablaremos de velocidad de desplazamiento, velocidad de reacción y velocidad gestual.

1- Velocidad de desplazamiento.
También llamada velocidad cíclica. Podemos definir la velocidad de desplazamiento como la capacidad de recorrer una distancia corta en el mínimo tiempo posible. Debemos tener en cuenta, para hacer un cálculo más o menos exacto de la velocidad, que una persona non entrenada tarda más o menos 20 o 30 metros en alcanzar su velocidad máxima, mientras que un velocista entrenado no la alcanza hasta los 50 metros más o menos.
La velocidad de desplazamiento depende, además de los factores anteriormente expuestos, de la frecuencia y de la amplitud de zancada. Una zancada es la distancia que alcanzamos con un paso.
La velocidad digamos que es el producto de la frecuencia por la amplitud. Lo ideal sería tener una elevada frecuencia con una amplitud grande, pero eso no es cierto en absoluto. Cada persona tiene adecuada su frecuencia a su amplitud y para poder ampliar alguna de las dos hace falta trabajar muchísimo la técnica para adaptar la otra porque sino disminuiríamos la velocidad en vez de aumentarla.
Para comprobar esto puedes correr una distancia a máxima velocidad y contabilizar el itempo y el número de zancadas con ayuda de un compañero. Después trata de hacer la misma distancia a la misma velocidad pero con una mayor frecuencia, es decir dando más pasos, y por último inténtalo dando zancadas mucho máis largas. Comprobarás que en los dos últimos casos recorres la distancia en más tiempo.

La frecuencia de zancada dependerá de:
- Técnica correcta de carrera.
- Velocidad de desplazamiento de la motoneurona, que hará que podamos mover más rápido las piernas.
La amplitud de zancada dependerá de:
- Longitude de las palancas. cuanto más largas tenga las piernas más distancia alcanzaré con un paso.
- Grado de flexibilidad. Cuanto más mobilidad en las articulaciones y elasticidad muscular mayor distancia alcanzaré con un paso.
- Técnica correcta del paso de la pierna hacia delante.
- Capacidad de impulso. Cuanta máis musculatura más impulso y por lo tanto más zancada.


2- Velocidad de reacción.
La velocidad de reacción deriva de la medición del tiempo que tardamos en dar respuesta a un determinado estímulo. Es decir el tiempo que pasa desde la aparición del estímulo (el disparo de salida en una carrera de 100m) hasta la aparición de la respuesta (el momento que iniciamos el movimiento).
Existen dos clases de tiempo de reacción, el tiempo de reacción simple y el tiempo de reacción discriminador.
Tiempo de reacción simple. Queda determinado al medir el tiempo que transcurre entre la presentación de un estímulo y la realización de una acción o respuesta simple o conocida.
Tiempo de reacción discriminador. La persona tiene que escoger entre varios estímulos y dar una determinada respuesta u otra.

3- Velocidade gestual.
Es la capacidad para realizar determinados movimientos (gestos) muy rápidamente. Está muy ligada a los gestos técnicos en los deportes, como las paradas de un portero, la capacidad para hacer pases rápidamente, etc.

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Métodos de entrenamiento

1- Velocidad de desplazamiento:
Para el entrenamiento de la velocidad de desplazamiento es muy importante tener en cuenta las siguientes premisas: debemos trabajar con distancias cortas y períodos de tiempo no muy prolongados, el trabajo no debe generar cansancio, es decir cuando iniciamos una serie la recuperación debe ser casi total ya que trabajamos a máximas intendidades.
- Series cortas de velocidad. Y carreiras de todos los tipos, aceleraciones, regresiones, persecuciones, relevos, etc.
- Trabajo de la técnica de carrera descomponiendo la frecuencia y la amplitud de zancada.
- Velocidad facilitada. Consiste en que nuestro sistema nervioso experimente sensaciones de correr más rápido con ayuda externa para que se adapte y pueda llegar a conseguirlas. Se consigue por ejemplo corriendo cuesta abaijo o usando la ayuda de algo que tire por uno mismo (una bicicleta o motocicleta).


- Juegos. Es una de las maneras más usada dentro de las sesiones de Educación Física. Cualquier tipo de juego que implique escapar, perseguir, o correr rápido.

2- Velocidad de reacción:
Es un trabajo que se puede hacer, y de hecho se hace conjuntamente con el trabajo de velocidad de desplazamiento. Pero para que prime más este trabajo, las series deben ser mucho más cortas (entre 10 y 20 metros).
- Salidas desde diferentes posiciones. Dentro de este aspecto podemos y debemos cambiar el tipo de estímulo que damos para la salida.
- Juegos de reacción. Es la mejor manera de mejorar la velocidad de reacción, existen multitud de juegos que buscan que el individuo ofrezca una resposta ante un estímulo, aquí lo ideal es cambiar el estímulo y hacer que el individuo de una respuesta diferente en función del estímulo que le presentemos.
- El entrenamiento en la mayoría de los deportes en algunos aspectos trabaja la velocidad de reacción.

3- Velocidad gestual.
- Repetición de xestos. Es la manera más usada para mejorar la velocidad gestual.

Test para medir la velocidad.

Velocidad de desplazamiento:
- 20-30-50 metros lisos. A partir de 60 metros lisos la velocidad en las personas no entrenadas disminuye, lo que se busca es el mantenemento de ella evitando que se reduzca.
- 20 metros lanzados. Test que consiste en correr 20 metros pero con 10 metros previos de carrera.

Velocidad de reacción:
- Test de 10 metros con salida desde tumbado.
- Test de recogida de vara o bastón de Galton. Se trata de, sentado en una silla tratar de recoger una regla de 60 cm que se deja caer por parte de un ayudante. El punto de la regla en el que se coja son los centímetros de la marca alcanzada. En este video tienes unha demostración.

Velocidade gestual.
-Tapping test de brazos. Consiste en tocar en total 50 veces alternativamente con la mano dominante dos círculos separados 80 cm mientras la mano no dominante permanece en el punto medio. A menor tiempo mayor velocidad. El test se debe repetir con la mano no dominante.


- Tapping test de piernas. Es parecido al anterior pero en este caso son las piernas juntas las que golpean dos marcas separadas en el suelo durante 15 veces.

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