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In colloquial language, fitness and stamina are often used as synonyms. From sport scientific view, these two terms have completely different meanings.

  • Stamina stands for resistance of organism against signs of tiredness as well as quick ability to regenerate after exertion. It can also be described as endurance of a person.

  • Fitness is a complex of human performance which is mainly determined by structure and function of energy-supplying organ systems.

Stamina represents one component of fitness. Sports sciences describe so-called conditional and coordinative features which determine together sporty fitness being motor abilities.

Besides stamina, strength, speed, and flexibility are also parts of conditional abilities.

components of fitness (according to Steinhöfer, 2003)


Single components of conditional abilities stand in correlation and can be found in most kinds of sport as a kind of mixed form. It is called strength stamina, immediate strength, and speed stamina.

A good general state of fitness is independent of a certain kind of sport and is characterized by a level of development of all four components as high and constant as possible.

A high specific state of fitness features an optimal formation of conditional factors performance-determinating for the kind of sport.

Each kind of sport demands different fitness requirements from an ahtlete. An athlete doing strength events requires a higher degree of strength ability in contrast to stamina; while it is vice versa for marathon runners.

Coaches and athletes have to consider carefully which fitness abilities are in their main centre of interest for their workout and at which time of training cycle focus is switching. Even a sprinter starts exercising stamina performance in early state of training phase.

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