Parkour GPP is a free introductory strength and conditioning program designed as an accessible starting point for anyone seeking to increase their fitness. It requires no special equipment and can be performed almost anywhere.
GPP stands for General Physical Preparation, and in sport science it can refer to a phase in an athlete’s training during which they are working on very general qualities such as speed, strength, and endurance. This is a very basic program which can be used to build a foundation of strength and conditioning for parkour. The program lacks the specificity or periodisation needed to really push an athlete to the higher tier of performance; however it is a necessary start towards that goal.
I have written this program with the following groups in mind:
- Non-practitioners seeking to improve their fitness level.
- Novice, intermediate, or youth practitioners.
- Practitioners without access to training equipment or facilities.
Even if you are not in the groups mentioned, this program may still be useful as it can be easily scaled to challenge athletes with advanced levels of fitness.
If you already have a decent level of fitness, but have just started practising parkour, you may want to wait to implement a program like this, at least until you encounter a significant plateau. You may be able to improve your performance through just training parkour itself for a period of time. You can read more about how to identify when you might need to do more in other articles such as ‘Basic Training Theory’ and ‘Training Variables (How To Always Improve)’.
This program is best performed at least two or three times per week at first, allowing at least one rest day between sessions in order to facilitate recovery. I have included some example weeks below.
|2 DAYS PER WEEK|
|3 DAYS PER WEEK|
I recommend that you maintain and do not change the frequency or intensity of your parkour training until at least three weeks into the program. This will allow your body to adapt to the new volume of work without negatively affecting your performance or ability to recover.
|Exercise||SetsxReps / Distance / Total Reps|
|Glute-ham Raises||5×3 / 5×5|
|Hill Sprints / Flat Sprints||30-60yds / 25-50m|
|Pull Ups and Dips||AFSAP* 30-50|
|Inverted Rows and Push Ups|
*As Few Sets As Possible
The best space to find for this would be a park, near a hill, that contains access to a frame for pull ups and dips. I have listed some alternative exercises to perform if you cannot find an area like this.
- Warm Up
I will provide a more in-depth and specialised guide to warming up for all training sessions in the future. However, for now please follow the basic routine written below.
Warming up properly will ensure better performance in your training and help to protect you from injury.
- Take a light and steady jog to increase your heartrate and get fluids into your joints. You can do this on the way to the space you’ll be exercising in. Alternatively, perform bodyweight squats for time.
- Stretch your hips with lunge and figure four positions.
- Perform arm circles to stretch and warm up your upper-body.
- Floor Glute-Ham Raises
Very few people can perform this exercise unassisted. You can use your arms or a resistance band to assist the movement. Try to decrease the amount of assistance you give yourself every week by using your arms later, or using a weaker band.
It’s best to have a partner hold your feet down as pictured, but if you are training alone then hooking them beneath a bench will work.
Aim to perform this for 5 sets of 3 repetitions and build up to 5 sets of 5 over time.
Parkour athletes tend over-develop their anterior muscles (quadriceps, hip-flexors, etc.) by moving on balls of their feet. This exercise will help to activate and develop the poster-chain (hamstrings, glutes. spinea-erectors), this will increase your running speed and jump distance whilst also improving your landings.
Progress with more sets or reps, or by using less assistance.
- Hill Sprints / Flat Sprints
Hill sprints are an incredibly useful and beneficial exercise, in particular for parkour athletes. They will improve endurance and cardiovascular performance, but also improve overall speed and running technique. Ideally you should find a hill with a relatively steep gradient (20-40 degrees) that lasts for 30-60 yards (25-50 meters). Alternatively, you can perform sprints over a flat plane; however you will not see the same level of benefit, will encounter more impact, and may need to increase the distance.
Perform 8 sets of 30-60 yards at full speed with minimal rest.
You should try to record each sprint, or the time it takes you to complete them all together. Then attempt to beat this the next session.
- Pull Ups and Dips AFSAP
If you find these difficult, I would suggest performing the exercises separately. However, if you are capable, then perform a set of each exercise with no rest between the two. This is known as a superset.
Perform 30-50 total repetitions of each exercise in as few sets as possible. Be realistic with the number you set. Once you achieve that number in three sets or fewer, increase the total by 5 or 10.
Even if it means that you are reduced to doing sets of one rep later on, try to reach that number. If you cannot reach it, try again next session and you should easily make some progress towards it.
- Inverted Rows and Push Ups AFSAP
Perform these in the same way that you did with pull ups and dips, however you should be able to set the total amount somewhat higher.
Perform the Inverted Rows by hanging on the structure you used to perform dips. You can also increase the difficulty by raising your legs. You can have a partner hold them to achieve this, or if you are using dip bars, you can place a stick across them.
Image Source: http://www.mensfitness.com
Remember that consistency over time is the real key to progress.
If you have any questions about this program please feel free to email me. movementpowerful @ gmail.com
V1.0 19 April 2016 – First Publication