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The circulatory system

The Circulatory system

The three components are:

  • The heart
  • Blood vessels
  • Blood
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Pulmonary circuit and Systemic circuit

The pulmonary circuit carries blood to the lungs to be oxygenated and then back to the heart.

In the lungs, carbon dioxide is removed from the blood.

The systemic circuit carries blood around the body to deliver the oxygen and returns de-oxygenated blood to the heart.

Blood also carries nutrients and waste.

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The amount of blood pumped can be calculated:

heart rate x stroke volume = cardiac output


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You also need to understand the five functions of the skeleton. These are:

  1. Protection - the cranium and ribs protect the brain and vital organs in the chest.
  2. Shape - gives shape to the body and makes you tall or short.
  3. Support - holds your vital organs in place when playing sport. The vertebral column holds the body upright.
  4. Movement - muscle are attached to bones, which are jointed. When the muscles contract the bones move.
  5. Blood production - red blood cells (to carry oxygen) and white blood cells (to protect against infection) are produced in the bone marrow of some bones.
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Limb movements

Abduction       Movement away from the mid-line of the body

Adduction       Movement towards the mid-line of the body

Extension       Straightening limbs at a joint

Flexion            Bending the limbs at a joint.

 Rotation         A circular movement around a fixed point

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Synovial Joints

  • Cartilage reduces friction. Acts as a shock absorber.
  • Synovial fluid lubricates the joint.
  • Synovial membrane produces synovial fluid.
  • Tendon joins muscle to bone enabling movement.
  • Ligament joins bone to bone, stabilising the joint.
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The body's involuntary muscles work our internal organs. They are outside our control.

Voluntary muscles make the body move. They are attached to the skeleton and can be controlled.

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Triceps Extend the arm at the elbow Press-up, throwing a javelin

Biceps Flex the arm at the elbow Pull-up, drawing a bow in archery

Deltoids Move the arm in all directions at the shoulder Bowling a cricket ball

Pectorals Adduct the arm at the shoulder Forehand drive in tennis

Trapezius Hold the shoulders in place, move head back and sideways Holding head up in rugby scrum

Gluteals Adduct and extend leg at the hips Pulling back leg before kicking a ball

Quadriceps Extend the leg at the knee Kicking a ball jumping upwards

Hamstrings Flex the leg at the knee Bending knee before kicking a ball

Gastrocnemius Pointing the toes, help to flex the knee Running

Latissimus dorsi Adduct and extend the arm at the shoulder Butterfly stroke in swimming

 Abdominals Flex the trunk across the stomach Pulling the body down when hurdling

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Antagonistic pairs of muscles create movement when one (the prime mover) contracts and the other (the antagonist) relaxes. Examples of antagonistic pairs working are:

  • the quadriceps and hamstrings in the leg
  • the biceps and triceps in the arm
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Benefits of sport

Mental benefits include:

  • improved confidence
  • relief of stress/tension and stress related illness

Physical benefits include:

  • losing weight
  • improved posture
  • improved body shape

Social benefits include:

  • meeting people
  • making friends
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Personal Qualities

Being a member of a sports club and regularly participating in sport will develop personal qualities from:

  • Co-operation – working with others.
  • Competition – testing yourself against others.
  • Physical challenge – testing yourself against the environment or your best performances.
  • Aesthetic appreciation – recognizing quality of movement in a performance.
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Health Related Fitness

  • Cardiovascular fitness is the ability to exercise the whole body for long periods of time and is sometimes called stamina.
  • Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle can exert against a resistance. It helps sportspeople to hit, tackle and throw.
  • Muscular endurance is the ability to use voluntary muscles many times without becoming tired. It helps sportspeople to sprint or repeat quick actions for longer.
  • Flexibility is the range of movement possible at a joint. It helps performers to stretch and reach further.
  • Body composition is the percentage of body weight which is fat, muscle or bone. It helps sportspeople depending on the type of sport they play, eg heavy rugby players are more effective in the scrum than lightweight players, but light long distance runners will always beat heavyweights.
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Skill Related Fitness

  • Agility - the ability to change the position of the body quickly and with control. This helps team players dodge their opponents.
  • Balance - the ability to retain the centre of mass above the base of support when stationary (static balance) or moving (dynamic balance). This helps gymnasts maintain their position and prevents games players from falling over at speed.
  • Co-ordination - the ability to use two or more body parts together. This helps all athletes to move smoothly and quickly especially when also having to control a ball.
  • Power - the ability to use strength at speed. This helps athletes to jump high, throw far or sprint quickly. Power = Strength x Speed.
  • Reaction time - the time between the presentation of a stimulus and the onset of a movement. This helps swimmers to make a fast start.
  • NB If you are studying Edexcel, you should list speed as a skill related fitness factor.
  • Speed is the differential rate at which an individual is able to perform a movement or cover a distance in a period of time or how quickly an individual can move. This helps all games players to move into position or get away from opponents quickly.
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Principles of Training

The key principles when planning a programme are:

  • Specificity – training must be matched to the needs of the sporting activity to improve fitness in the body parts the sport uses.
  • Overload - fitness can only be improved by training more than you normally do. You must work hard.
  • Progression – start slowly and gradually increase the amount of exercise and keep overloading.
  • Reversibility – any adaptation that takes place as a result of training will be reversed when you stop training. If you take a break or don’t train often enough you will lose fitness.
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In planning a programme, use the FITT principles to add the detail:

  • Frequency - decide how often to train.
  • Intensity - choose how hard to train.
  • Time - decide for how long to train.
  • Type - decide which methods of training to use.
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Types of Training

  • Circuit training involves performing a series of exercises in a special order called a circuit. Each activity takes place at a 'station'. It can be designed to improve speed, agility, coordination, balance and muscular endurance.
  • Continuous training involves working for a sustained period of time without rest. It improves cardio-vascular fitness.
  • Cross training involves using another sport or activity to improve your fitness. It happens when an athlete trains in a different environment. For example a volleyball player uses the power training for that sport to help with fitness for long jump.
  • Fartlek training or 'speed play' training involves varying your speed and the type of terrain over which you run, walk, cycle or ski. It improves aerobic and anaerobic fitness.
  • Interval training involves alternating between periods of hard exercise and rest. It improves speed and muscular endurance.
  • Weight training uses weights to provide resistance to the muscles. It improves muscular strength (high weight, low reps), muscular endurance (low weight, high reps, many sets) and power (medium weight and reps performed quickly).
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Oxygen Debt

 Oxygen debt is the amount of oxygen consumed during recovery above that which would normally be consumed during rest. This results from a shortfall of available oxygen during exercise.

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Stages of a training session


  • Whole body exercise to raise heart rate and body temperature.
  • Stretching to prepare muscles, ligaments and joints.
  • Practising skills and techniques to be used in the session.

Main activity - this could be:

  • Fitness training - which may be linked to repeated technique work.
  • Skill development - drills or team practices.
  • Modified or Conditioned Games.

Warm down (sometimes called cool down)

  • Light exercise to help remove carbon dioxide, lactic acid and other waste products.
  • Gentle stretching to prevent muscle soreness and stiffness later.
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Effects when exercising

Immediate effects when first exercising:

  • Muscles contract more often
  • Blood flow to muscles increases
  • Muscle temperature rises
  • Little effect on bones and joints

Effects of regular training:

  • Muscles increase in size (hypertrophy)
  • Muscular endurance improves
  • Muscles, tendons and ligaments around joints get stronger
  • Joints become more stable and flexibility at joints increases
  • Bone width and density increases
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Effects on the CV system

Immediate effects when first exercising:

  • Heart contracts more often – increased heart rate.
  • Heart contracts more powerfully – increased stroke volume, which is the volume of blood pumped from heart with each beat.
  • Blood diverted to muscles, eg it is diverted from the digestive system to the muscles.
  • Blood temperature rises.
  • Blood vessels near skin open to allow heat to be lost.

Effects of regular training:

  • Heart muscle increases in size and strength.
  • Cardiac output increases. Cardiac means relating to the heart so this is the amount of blood that the heart pumps out to the body.
  • Lower resting heart rate, quicker recovery from exercise.
  • Reduced risk of heart disease.
  • Increased number of capillaries in muscles.
  • Increased volume of blood and red blood cells.
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Effects of exercise on the Respiratory system

Immediate effects when first exercising:

  • Increased rate of breathing
  • Increased depth of breathing – rise in tidal volume

Effects of regular training:

  • Increased strength of diaphragm and intercostal muscles.
  • Greater number of alveoli.
  • Increased ability of the lungs to extract oxygen from the air.
  • Increased vital capacity.
  • Increased amount of oxygen delivered to, and carbon dioxide removed from, the body.
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Food Types


Pasta (

Provides quick energy. 60% of our diet should comprise 'carbs'. Running. Athletes in training will eat more 'carbs'. Marathon runners will 'load' before the event. Pasta, cereals and potatoes Fats

NB Unsaturated fats are healthy. Too much saturated fat from animal products can lead to heart disease.

Sausages (

Provides slow energy. 25% of our diet should be fat. Walking and low impact exercise - it produces energy too slowly to be used when working hard. Oils, dairy products, nuts and fish

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Food Types


Fish (

Builds and repairs muscle. We only need 15% of our diet to be protein. When training hard and recovering from injury. ‘Power’ athletes such as weight lifters will eat more protein. Meat, pulses and fish


Oranges (

Helps the body work. Helps concentration. Staying calm, making quick decisions Fresh fruit and vegetables

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Food Types


Spinach (

Helps release energy from food. Helps decision making When training hard and competing Fruit, vegetables and fish Fibre

Breakfast cereal (

Can't be digested. Fills you up and keeps you 'regular' Healthy digestion, (no constipation) helps in sport. Also helps with weight control. Fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain cereals

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Food Types


A glass of water (

Maintains fluid levels Whenever you sweat. It prevents dehydration The tap! It's all you need most of the time.

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Body Types

  • Ectomorphs - narrow-shaped body, are thin faced, with little fat or muscle. This is the ideal body type for long-distance runners.
  • Mesomorphs - wedge-shaped body, wide shoulders, narrow hips, muscular. Ideal body type for sprinters.
  • Endomorphs - pear-shaped body, wide hips, wide shoulders, can have a lot fat on body, arms and thighs. When fit, ideal body type for weightlifting, wrestling.
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Stimulants, Make athletes more alert and mask fatigue. Can cause heart failure, addictive.

Anabolic agents - steroids, Help athletes to train harder and build muscle. Increased aggression and kidney damage

Diuretics, Remove fluid from the body. Used, to make the weight, eg in boxing, to hide other drug use. Causes severe dehydration.

Narcotic analgesics,Mask pain caused by injury or fatigue which can make the injury worse. Addictive.

Peptides and hormones, EPO (Erythropoietin) red blood cells - gives more energy, HGH (Human Growth Hormone) - build muscle. EPO - risk of stroke or heart problems. HGH - abnormal growth, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis etc.




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Blood doping is injecting blood that has been removed from the body a few days earlier, enabling the blood to carry more oxygen. It is banned as it's a form of cheating. It can cause kidney and heart failure.

Beta blockers are banned in archery and shooting as they keep the heart rate low and reduce tremble in the hands.

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