GPP for all

The traceur is in danger, danger of becoming a one (or very few) trick pony. It’s great that you can nail a precision, muscle up that wall or saut de bras like a cat with super glue mittens. But it doesn’t mean jack if every time you string together more than 3 moves you collapse in a gasping heap. If this is you may just want to improve your General Physical Preparedness or your work capacity.

Siff and Verkhoshansky define work capacity in the text Super Training as the general ability of the body as a machine to produce work of different intensity using the appropriate energy systems of the body.

The key to increasing work capacity is to do so that over training is avoided. The state of over training can stop progress in its tracks and actually send you into a downward spiral. The old fashioned way of increasing work capacity was to just throw in more exercises,more sets more training days. This is the mentality of most strength athletes “more is better.” Well more is better in some cases as long as the more is built on a solid foundation. When you try to do more work than your foundation can carry then the base will fall out.


“GPP training serves several functions: 1) the formation, strengthening or restoration of habits (skills) which play an auxiliary, facilitory role in sports perfectioning. 2) As a means of educating abilities, developed insufficiently by the selected type of sport, raising the general work capacity or preserving it. 3) As active rest, assisting the restoration processes after significant, specific loading and counteracting the monotony of the training. These functions define the role of the general-preparatory exercises in the athlete’s training system.” (Medvedeyev, 1988)

For football your GPP would be all your conditioning and weight training. While your SPP (Sports specfic preparedness) would be your football practices and skill training. For powerlifting your GPP might be stuff like sled dragging or extra workouts. But your SPP in powerlifting would be every squat, deadlift, and bench. Whereas for the traceur weight training and conditioning would be GPP, training precisions, kongs or wall climbs would be SPP. SPP is what you plan to do when you have to perform.

Improving your GPP will assist you in virtually every aspect of training. Some of the more important qualities GPP training improves are: cardiovascular fitness, active flexibility, stability strength, and maybe even balance.
Remember that all work performed in the weight room is GPP (unless you are a powerlifter or Olympic weightlifter). Because of this, I just try to choose exercises that help strengthen all of the muscles that are used in an athlete’s particular sport.
Developing this type of “balanced” strength & flexibility in the weight room IN CONJUNCTION WITH PLAYING YOUR SPORT is what makes your strength “sport-specific”.

Even though GPP maybe a base of fitness on what our sports specific skills are built, it does not mean that you can do any old thing for GPP. Many people’s first thought might be endurance work for traceurs pounding the pavement and performing endless repetitions. We have to ask ourselves if this conductive to what we want our end result to be. There is not much point doing hours of endurance work when it only eats away out our hard earned strength and power. So we need to strike a middle ground.

A more productive alternative to jogging or cycling a couple of miles would be to perform multiple anaerobic activities with short rest intervals over a prolonged period of time. For example, performing a GPP (general physical preparedness) workout that consists of bodyweight calisthenics (jumping jacks, bodyweight squats, squat thrusts, etc.), movement skills (power skipping, side shuffling, backpedalling, etc.) and mobility drills, is far superior to linear, slow, long-distance running.

or you can pull cars

GPP methods for traceur

The Sprint/Jump Method (motor pattern strengthening focus/work capacity)

Traceurs do a lot of sprinting and Jumping, but if you feel your jumping and speed need work then this form of GPP is more appropriate. All work is performed after a through warm-up check out Donjman’s warm up thread for exercises and pictures.

Pogo jump
Pogo Jump Warm-up –It is not only a great warm- up, but we believe this “warm-up” may actually increase your vertical jump in and of itself! But first, let us describe exactly what a pogo jump is, anyway.

A pogo jump is performed by jumping off of the ground by just springing off your ankles. While you’re in the air you want to dorsiflex your ankles, a.k.a. “pull your toes up”. You also must prevent your heels from ever touching the ground. The key to this exercise lies in your ability to keep your knees locked while jumping and landing on and off the ground, as well as spending the least amount of time on the ground as possible

Low pogo jumps should be performed for speed. You only want to jump about 1” – 2” off the ground, but try to perform as many reps as possible in the required time. The goal of the high pogo jumps is to get as much height as possible by just springing off of your ankles during each jump. Pogo jumps are an incredible exercise that trains the Achilles tendon for elasticity. This will help to prevent ankle injuries as well as increase explosiveness. Here’s the warm-up we use…

A. Low Pogo Jumps – 3 sets of 20 seconds, rest 30 seconds between each set
B. High Pogo Jumps – 3 sets of 20 seconds, rest 30 seconds between each set

The Sprint/Jump GPP work out
Warm-up + Pogo Jumps Warm up

A. Low Pogo Jumps – 3 sets of 20 seconds, rest 30 seconds between each set
B. High Pogo Jumps – 3 sets of 20 seconds, rest 30 seconds between each set

Hurdle Hops or High Box Jumps — Perform 3 sets of 3 jumps (in quick Succession). Rest one minute between sets.

Loaded 20 meter sprints (use either a weighted vest or sled) — Perform 6 weighted 20 meter sprints. Rest 30 seconds between sprints.

Free sprints (no added weight) — Perform four 30-40-meter sprints, rest 30 seconds between sprints. After the last sprint, rest one minute then perform three 30-meter sprints. Rest the amount of time it takes you to walk back to the start line. After the last 30-meter sprint, rest one minute then perform two 40-meter sprints. Rest two minutes between the 40 meter sprints.


Strong Man GPP (power/strength/work cap focus)

If you have the equipment you can perform strongman type work out, with some creativity this is easily done. The focus here is on strength and power. There are tons of strongman articles around the net so finding information is pretty easy. Here is my sample workout.


Tire Flips 6 sets of tire flips for 6 flips going as quickly as you can

Keg Toss 6 tosses 30 second rest between each toss, throwing for height or distance

Farmers Walks 3 walks for distance, I liked to use a 10 meter circuit, I usually start athletes out with 50% of their BW but adjust according to your needs. 2-3 minute rest

Free Sprints

Bodyweight Circuits (work capacity/motor skills)

The traceurs old favorite is bodyweight circuits; there is a huge array of exercises at the disposal of the athlete. Circuits can be done as many times as needed. Usually 2 or 3 is good for those getting started. Be creative there is a lot of flexibility here, keep it interesting. If you already do a lot of BW work as part of your parkour then, either look to drop it from your parkour work and perform it separately, this way we wont suffer any staleness. The emphasis can be altered for endurance or a more power based approach. Working to nearly failure (endurance) or performing few reps as fast as you can until speed is compromised (power).

Body Weight Circuit #1

1. Body Squats – Place your hands behind your head and slowly squat down until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and the heels in contact with the floor.

2. Pull-Ups – Make sure that you pull-up with the bar in front of your chin and not behind your head.

3. Side to Side – Lay on your back. While keeping your legs straight and together, slowly lower them to the floor on one side. Return your legs to the upright position, then over to the other side. Make sure you don’t bend your knees.

4. Squat Jumps – Similar to Body Squats except after squatting you will jump in the air. Make sure you get good depth on the squat.

5. Close Grip Push-Ups – Get down like a regular push-up, but keep your hands under your shoulders instead of wide. Keep your elbows next to your side as you go up and down.

6. Anterior core- Lying on your back bring your knees slowly to your chest so that your shins are parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your feet back down to the floor until your heels touch the floor. Make sure you keep your lower back in contact with the floor.

7. Walking Lunges – Take a long forward step with your right foot. Lunge to where your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your right knee over your ankle, chest up, and shoulders back. When coming up push on your right heel and slowly come up. Repeat with your left leg.

8. Dips – Start with your heel on the floor and your arms behind you, holding onto a bench or bar. Lower your butt down until you’re in a near-seated position and your upper arm is parallel to the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position.

9. Split Jumps – Start out in the same way as with the Walking Lunges, but instead of standing up you will jump up. While in the air switch the positions of your feet so when you land your left should be in front.

10. Low Back Stabilization – Start by lying on your back with knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Slowly raise your hips to the ceiling to where your shoulders, hips and knees are in a straight line. Hold this position for 15 seconds and then slowly lower your right leg and raise your left leg. Hold it for 15 seconds then repeat again.

Tabata GPP (Work Capacity to the extreme!)

For the more sadistic of you! Give Tabata GPP a try. This is very tough protocol which causes a lot of fatigue, tred lightly.

Wrap up

Usually i like to use 1 or 2 GPPs session around weight training and SPP work. GPP can be performed on SPP days with decent rest. Or on days off between weight training sessions.

The important thing to remember about GPP, is that it is part of your training and not something to ignored. The idea is that it gives you an athletic base from which to draw from. Many people are keen to get specific too early. Without being physically prepared and organizing your training properly your asking for motor pattern burnout, injury and eventually drop out. Remember be creative!

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