Physical fitness principles

There are many methods, strategies and techniques to improve fitness and training performance. An online search s will instantly provide thousands of different programmes, but how do you know which best suits your individual needs?

Physical fitness principles

Job (or sport)-related fitness and health-related fitness can be quite different, but both are important, especially in the military.

A base level of fitness helps service personnel perform their roles safely and effectively. Job-related fitness tests, such as the LCFT, ensure physical ability to perform core military tasks but we also know that health-related fitness is important, for coping with long hours, stressful roles, working in the heat and cognitive function. Health-related fitness tests assess how we’re tracking in this area and allow individual goals to be set. See Health related fitness monitoring.


Health-related benefits


General fitness benefits

(This is where the majority of service personnel sit)

Performance-related benefits


  • Greater resistance to illness and disease.
  • Better ability to perform more work and recover faster.
  • Improved energy.
  • Greater enjoyment and quality of life.
  • Better maintenance body physique.
  • Increased muscle, heart and lung fitness.
  • Better body composition.
  • Improved overall fitness (i.e.  endurance, flexibility and strength)
  • Improved performance in a specific sport or activity through structured and consistent training for a certain goal, i.e. marathon runner or weight lifter.
  • Improved skill and capability through enhanced training for roles, such as combat roles.

Components of fitness

Physical training that is required for performance or specific outputs require certain components to be developed.

  1. General Endurance (Cardiovascular Endurance) is the measure of a person's aerobic capacity and can be trained through regular brisk walks, jogging, running, cycling, rowing, swimming, HITT etc… - the lower the heart rate the longer the distance/ duration required.
  2. Muscular Strength and Endurance is the force that a muscle or muscle group is able to exert in one maximum effort (strength) or repeatedly/for a sustained period (endurance) and can be trained through body weight and resistance training, pilates, yoga, etc.
  3. Flexibility and mobility is the range of motion of a joint or group of joints and the ability to work effectively through that range of motion. Training methods include gymnastics, dynamic/ static stretching, yoga, dance, and pilates.
  4. Speed and agility refers to the rate of the execution of a movement or the ability to move quickly and easily and is highly relevant in playing a variety of sports and also in the application of battlefield manoeuvrability
  5. Power is the rate at which muscular strength/force can be applied and can be trained through specific power training and sports skills, etc.