Conditioning workouts are physical exercise routines that strategically subject parts of the body to what is known as adaptive body stress. Subjection to this type of overload actually helps to increase the physical capabilities and strength of the body part that is targeted during the exercise. To be in good physical condition is to be physically fit, which is the goal of conditioning workouts. Exercise scientists define the components that determine physical fitness as including such things as strength, power, agility, balance, flexibility and cardiovascular endurance.
Strength is measured by how forcefully muscles can contract against resistance. Restraining a person from moving is an example of strength. Power refers to explosive and sudden muscular contraction, and agility denotes the ability to perform movements in rapid succession and in different directions. The definition of balance is control over the position of the body whether it is stationary or moving. Flexibility denotes a person's ability for parts of his body to achieve an extended range of motion, such as raising his or her leg over the head while standing.
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Cardiovascular endurance generally is considered the most important component of conditioning because it is vital to have in order to achieve the others. Conditioning workouts can be tailored to specifically achieve physical fitness and motor fitness. Physical fitness refers to an athlete's ability to endure the demands of a sport without suffering debilitating fatigue. Motor fitness, on the other hand, denotes an athlete's ability to successfully perform actions required to participate in a sport. For example, a football player might not tire easily, but he might not be successful if he can never score a touchdown because he lacks motor fitness.
Upper body strength, lower leg strength and foot speed generally can be achieved via conditioning workouts that might or might not involve equipment. Dumbbells, however, are usually used for total body fitness. Conditioning workouts tend to be a requirement for the practice of most sports, including boxing, wrestling, football, soccer and tennis. Coaches might have athletes do them before, during or after practice.
Warm-up exercises should be done before beginning conditioning workouts. Some exercises, particularly those that soccer players perform, include double leg jumps. The athlete can perform these by jumping on both legs forward and backward or by laterally jumping in one direction and then in the other. Coaches might refine double leg jumps by placing hurdles in the path of the athlete. Another widely used technique calls for athletes to sprint straight ahead to train them to run with great speed.