What is your definition of fitness? At what point would you believe you have achieved a high level of fitness? At first this might seem like a vague assessment, we are all at different levels in our fitness journey and each person might define fitness differently. A runner would place a great emphasis on how fast they are while a powerlifter could care less about their mile time, but would judge their fitness on how much load they can move.
But what if fitness wasn’t defined as one extreme or another. What if fitness was a sum of many different aspects of physical feats? And fitness was not to excel in any one part, but rather be well versed in all areas. Well, we call this the 10 General Physical Skills and if your goal is overall physical fitness you’ll want to pay special attention to each of them.
The 10-General Physical Skills
Cardiovascular/respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen. (Breathing, Breathing while moving, & ability to control it)
Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy. (Big sets of push ups, squats, long run)
Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force. (1 Rep Max lifts….Deadlift, Bench Press, Squat, Shoulder Press, etc)
Flexibility – the ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time. (Olympic Lifts, Jumping, Punching, Throwing, etc)
Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
Balance – The ability to control the placement of the bodies center of gravity in relation to its support base.
Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction at a given intensity
We will all have our bias, but our overall goal should be to have competence in each of these physical skills.
Take a good look at the list and a good look at yourself then rank each of them 1-5 with 1 being something you need to work on and 5 being a bright spot in your training.
When you do this try not to compare yourself to others, this is a you vs you situation. We want to find out where you do your best work and what area you need to focus your training. You will also need to think of these physical skills in more than one situation. For instance, if you are thinking about flexibility and you know you can easily reach down and touch your toes you might think you’re really flexible, but if at the same time you struggle to sit “criss cross applesauce” well that might tell us that you have flexible hamstrings but are tight in other areas. Looking at different areas of each physical skill will help you sort them out.
Did you rank each of them? Where were you strongest? What areas can you improve? This drill is very eye opening. You can really see where you need improvement, it’s like giving yourself a report card on your fitness.
Now if you found that you have one area that is really holding you back, you might find a great deal of comfort knowing that even a small improvement in the area you lack can produce a big result in your overall fitness. Because although each of the 10 general physical skills can be judged separately, they are also highly connected. Improvements in flexibility can lead to better balance and better force production (ie Power). And with better coordination comes a higher level of agility.
If your looking to improve, come back to this basic list of skills and accurately rate your current abilities. From there work those weaknesses.