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This Common Mistake Could Be Affecting Your Sport Performance and Training

General Physical Preparation (GPP) vs Specific Physical Preparation (SPP) - here's why you need both for a solid fitness foundation to improve your performance in sport. By Hogarth Personal Trainer Pavel.


If you have a primary daily exercise you love to do, or a regular sport you love to participate in, you may unintentionally be over-using the areas of your body that are engaged, while weakening the areas that are not. This can leave you more prone to injury and imbalance within the body, leading to issues down the line.

As I walk around the Club, I see such a broad spectrum of determined people working hard to run that extra mile, achieve a PB in their cycle session, or to get a few extra sets in on the tennis court. It’s just incredible. So many people are so keen to become better in what they do, I find it very motivating!

However, a lot of these people may actually be neglecting their General Physical Preparation (GPP), while overdoing their Specific Physical Preparation (SPP).

personal trainer pavel the Hogarth Club


GPP involves working on the general qualities of endurance, strength, joint mobility and coordination of day-to-day movements. In everyday terms, think moving and handling, such as lifting things from the floor, or running up stairs. SPP, which focuses on movements that are specific to a particular sport, such as swimming lengths, pedalling on a bicycle, or doing drills on a tennis court.

A common mistake I see a lot is that people only focus on their SPP.

It’s often all we've ever learned. In school P.E, I remember just playing sport - we don’t learn how to squat, deadlift, brace and use all of our muscles. In my opinion, it would be important to introduce GPP in school P.E lessons to learn how to optimise our movement in our training to support our chosen sport.

Pavel Hogarth Club personal trainer Hogarth Club

I quite often see regular swimmers who are unable to move optimally on dry land and could benefit from strength and mobility training, marathon runners with weak upper body strength, or cyclists who have a hard time keeping their back straight. The more you work on SPP movements, the harder GPP movements will become.

As they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it.



I recommend more GPP and less SPP to everyone. If you build your fitness foundation with a large repertoire of key movement skills, and can execute multiple exercises with excellent form and more equal strength around the body, you can not only excel in your SPP movements, but also master new forms of movement more easily. For example, a child learning gymnastics and martial arts would achieve a great foundation of movement vs. other sports, this is due to the compound, bodyweight strength and mobility movements required.

The same goes for seasoned movers and regular gym-goers. Instead of trying to get better at cycling by cycling more, or getting better at running by running more, I recommend spending more time doing GPP movements such as squats, deadlifts, planks, and pull ups in between your SPP sessions.

GPP focused movements will make you stronger and better at your SPP related movements.

pavel outdoor gym plank gpp exercise

Give it a try with the following exercises and see if there is any difference in your performance:

Sumo deadlift - working on hip mobility and back strength. 

Plank - bracing and contracting the muscles that we didn’t know we had. 

Pull ups - getting the pulling muscles and the core to shine.  

Turkish get up - training the body as one or making sure multiple muscles work together.




Training hard is great, but make sure you’re training smart too. Keep enjoying your sport, push for that PB, but also make sure you keep 2 to 3 days per week to focus on your GPP - it will pay you back in the long run!

If you feel you could benefit from a bit of work on GPP, or have any questions, book in your monthly session with Pavel today! 020 8995 4600