2. Fitness requirements
2.1-Components of fitness
Sprinting has many components of fitness as it is a high energy performance task. The main components are flexibility, muscular strength and body composition. All these components can affect a sprinters performance. Flexibility is the range of limb movement around a certain joint. This could be at the hip, shoulder or neck. Flexibility is beneficial in sprinting as Donald. A (2018) says “flexibility and elasticity in the gluteal and hamstrings can benefit the athlete during knee lift and help to produce a longer stride.” 1 Stretching is a key part of an athlete’s warm up and the stretches they complete can increase the range of movement. Key areas of flexibility would be at the hip and knee to increase stride length, the longer the stride the lower the amount of movements the sprinter has to do allowing them to much more energy into less sprints.
Muscular strength is the ability to work at a high intensity for a short period of time. 100m sprints only last on average around 10-15 seconds so muscles like the hamstrings and gluteal have to work at a very high intensity to create enough power to sprint quickly. Isokinetic muscle strength in the legs is very important to sprinting. Suchomel T.J et al (2016) states “Greater muscular strength is strongly associated with improved force-time characteristics that contribute to an athletes overall performance” 3. The more force an athlete can create in their legs the quicker they are going to be able to complete the sprint.
Body composition is the percentage of bone, fat and muscle in the body. The general body type of a sprinter is and ectomorph or a mesomorph “Ectomorphs weigh the least out of the three classifications and mesomorphs are the strongest” says Braverman J. (2018) 3 Sprinters need to be very light so that don’t carry much weight when they are running but the still need to have a high muscle girth. Ectomorphs ae the smallest of the body types and don’t carry a lot of body fat so these would be the best type of people to be 100m sprinters. In an experiment focussing on Body composition and size in sprint athletes showed that “top sprinters had significantly greater body mass index… and lower ectomorphy. Strength and power were higher” Barbieri D. et al (2017) 4. The smaller body means they don’t have a lot of excess weight to carry but there muscle size and strength allowed them to be able to generate high levels of power and sprint further.
By increasing these components of fitness an athlete can improve their performance in 100m sprint by reducing their sprint times. See 4.2(training methods)
2.2-Skill related fitness
Sprinting is mainly a skill-based activity as concepts like agility, power and speed play a key part in performance. The more skilled the athlete is at these components the better their performance will be. Agility is the ability to move the body quickly, changing direction, quickly and under control. In sprinting there isn’t time to think about the movements you are doing as the movement pattern is pre-programmed and practised many times in training. You have to move your arms and legs simultaneously quickly whilst also generating enough power in your legs to keep up with competition. Agility helps create explosiveness after you have pushed out of the blocks and have started the race.
Power is a key part of sprinting as creating enough power in the legs is vital to develop speed in a race Power is the ability to exert a large force of strength in one explosive effect. It is a mix of strength and speed as it requires the athlete to generate enough power out of the starting blocks to get themselves a head start in the game ahead of other competitors, but they then need to be able to keep this power up throughout the 100m race. If enough power isn’t exerted at the beginning the athlete isn’t able to get a good start to their race it may result in a poor performance.
Speed is the ability to move the body in a certain movement as quickly as possible. Factors that affect speed include reaction time, agility and acceleration. Speed is the key concept in sprinting as without speed the athlete isn’t going to compete very well in a race. Speed is created by acceleration and power in the legs the more power that can be created the faster the athlete can run. 100m sprint is only a short event so an early build-up of speed is vital to a good performance. Sprinters are measured by their speed and their race time, so a high speed is vital for an athlete. Increasing speed can be done by increasing muscular strength and flexibility to increase the stride length allowing more power to be generated enabling the athlete to run quicker decreasing their race, progressing their career.
Sprinting is a high intensity event so requires a lot of energy in a short period of time. ATP-PC consists of a high energy fuelled phosphate called creatine. The breakdown of PC is used in ATP re-synthesis, it also doesn’t require oxygen to supply energy so is classed as an anaerobic energy system. “during intense exercise the demands for energy increases dramatically and the ATP-PC… play a more active role to supply the energy needed as anaerobic sources can supply energy at four times the rate of aerobic sources ATP re-synthesis gives a high amount of energy to the body but only lasts for around 6-8 seconds. There are also limited amounts of ATP and CP in the body and take longer to replenish.” Says Adams M, Forsdyke D. et al (2016) 5
Anaerobic glycolysis is the next energy system to be used once ATP-PC has run out. Anaerobic glycolysis uses glycogen to supply energy to the body and doesn’t require oxygen to break the glycogen so as like ATP-PC is classed as an anaerobic energy system. Both the energy systems work during a 100m sprint as depending how long the performer takes to complete the sprint M. Bower (2018) sates “The creatine phosphate and ATP stored within the muscles are sufficient to enable maximal effort for 5-10 seconds. Beyond this time, energy is provided by anaerobic glycolysis” 6