What Are Conditional Physical Capacities?

Conditional physical capacities will help you boost your sports performance and improve your health? Continue reading to find out what they are and how to develop them.
What Are Conditional Physical Capacities?
Andrés Felipe Cardona

Reviewed and approved by hhysical education and sports expert Andrés Felipe Cardona.

Written by Cristian Minich

Last update: 06 March, 2023

Our physical condition will be a determining factor when it comes to achieving our best sports performance. In addition, by enhancing our positive qualities, we also obtain health benefits. Read on to find out what conditional physical capacities are and what they consist of.

Conditional physical capacities are defined as the qualities that a human being possesses and that are performed in physical activity. They include speed, strength, flexibility, and endurance.

Furthermore, they’re conditioned by the body’s energy systems and can be obtained or improved with specific training methods. In addition, motor actions applied to physical activity involve all muscle groups and joints. Thus, the more we develop our physical capacities, the better our performance will be.

The different categories of conditional physical capacities

Overall, there are four types of conditional physical capacities:

  • Speed
  • Strength
  • Endurance
  • Flexibility

They are all linked to the physical performance and training of each person. Thus, by putting them into practice, we are performing actions consciously and voluntarily. Let’s take a closer look.

1. Speed

Speed is the physical capacity that allows us to perform movements or actions in the shortest possible time. It’s also one of the key qualities that an athlete must develop for many practices.

Speed requires good physical preparation. These are some of the different types of speed:

  • Translational speed is the ability to travel a distance in the shortest possible time.
  • Reactional speed is the time it takes the athlete from the moment she or he receives a stimulus and performs the first action. For example, this occurs when a whistle blows and the athlete makes the first movement to start the competition, such as the start of a marathon or jumping into the water in a swimming event. This is the speed of their reflexes.
  • Endurance speed is the body’s ability to counteract fatigue during the time the exercise or competition lasts. It has to do with being able to sustain performance over a prolonged period of time.
  • Acceleration speed refers to the body’s ability to increase speed progressively until reaching the maximum point.
  • Maximum speed consists of performing a movement in the shortest possible time. It will be determined according to the physical capacities of each individual.
  • Mental speed is about coordination. This is the ability to change direction in the shortest possible time. To do this, one must have control of the limbs to move them quickly.
Carrera de maratón.
In marathons, the important speed is not reaction speed, but endurance speed.

2. Strength

Strength is the physical ability to perform work or a movement or the application of this ability on something. With strength, we can overcome or counteract a determined resistance.

Exercises for muscle development allow us to increase strength and improve our condition. It’s therefore important to include them in the training routine.

There are three types of strength when it comes to physical activity:

  • Endurance strength: This is the body’s ability to resist fatigue. For example, in weightlifting, it involves the load used, intensity and duration will be measured in cycles of maximum repetition.
  • Maximum strength: This is the maximum weight a person can lift in a single movement. With maximal strength work, we can achieve muscle hypertrophy, burn calories, and improve our sports performance.
  • Rapid strength: this strength is developed at a high speed to overcome external resistance and control the phases of muscle contraction. Cycling, marathon running, and burpees require the use of fast strength.

3. Flexibility

Flexibility is the ability to stretch muscles to achieve a greater range of motion. This ability is lost over time, but specific training can be done to maintain or improve it.

Yoga, rhythmic gymnastics, and wrestling are examples of practices that require great flexibility. One study found that strength training can contribute to the development and maintenance of joint mobility, even without additional stretching.

There are two types of flexibility:

  • Dynamic flexibility: This develops from activities that require joint mobility. It appears in warm-up exercises, in which muscles increase temperature, activation, strength, and speed in their contraction. The athlete is the one who performs them and does not need external help.
  • Static flexibility is when an external aid facilitates the range of motion. This can occur if we have the collaboration of a partner or the force of gravity. It can also occur when we maintain a stretching position for a prolonged period of time.

4. Endurance

Endurance is the ability to perform physical effort for a prolonged time in a given exercise. It’s also fundamental to reducing fatigue and increasing performance.

A work called Endurance training in medicine argues that the benefits of endurance training include movement control, walking speed, functional independence, cognitive skills, and self-esteem, among others.

Endurance can be aerobic or anaerobic, and a combination of both is the best when training:

  • Aerobic endurance: This is the one that allows us to carry out an activity for as long as possible. It’s evident in exercises that involve moderate intensity, such as jogging, dancing, or cycling.
  • Anaerobic endurance is when an intense activity is practiced in short periods of time; for example, in the case of body weight lifting or sprinting.
Levantamiento de peso para mejorar las cualidades físicas.
Lifting a weight against gravity is an exercise to improve strength and anaerobic endurance.

Power your capabilities by understanding your conditional physical capacities

The development of physical conditional capabilities is a key factor to improve athletic performance, so it’s advisable to include varied exercises in our routine. Of course, it’s necessary to maintain a consistent routine to achieve evolution.

We must also accompany our routines with a good diet and other healthy habits. In any case, remember that overtraining can be harmful, so it’s best to consult a professional.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.