Functional Focus

Functional Focus

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ATHLETE Andrew Pap
IMAGES Dallas Olsen

It's a common understanding that cross fitness is imperative in all disciplines of sports. Working on primary/secondary muscles and movements that are in your field will create an athlete less prone to injury, more versatile and balanced. Even for runners, it's essential to focus on strength, especially lower body. The following circuit will be advantageous for anyone wanting to build a good base level of strength, increase explosive power, lactic resistance and stability throughout ROM (range of movement).

SET-UP: Prepare the battle ropes before you begin the circuit by wrapping them around a pole or solid fixture and pulling them out straight, placing them in two parallel lines on the ground. When it’s time to use them, stand at one end and take one rope in each hand. Feet should be slightly wider than shoulder-width and knees slightly bent. Hinge forward at the hips to automatically isolate upper body and engage your core.
ACTION: Using your arms, lift the ropes in an alternating fashion, slamming them down on the ground to create a wave. Continue this motion without a break until the allocated time is up.

PAP SAYS: This is a great exercise to further condition your core, shoulders and arms but if you want to also work your legs, drop one foot back into a reverse lunge. Swap legs for each 20-second round.


Battle Ropes 3 x 20 second rounds with 10 second rest
Box Jump 8 Reps
Barbell Back Squat 8 - 12 Reps
Prowler Push 40 Metres
Explosive Lateral Step Ups 8 Reps

SET-UP: Stand in front of the plyo box with your feet shoulder-width apart. You should be at a comfortable distance where your knees won’t connect with the box as you squat.
ACTION: Jump from a 90-degree squat position, extending your hips and swinging your arms to generate momentum. Push your feet off the floor and launch yourself up onto the box.

PAP SAYS: Land with both feet having full contact on top of box. Step back down or, if confident jump down, landing softly back to the squat position.

SET-UP: Stand with the bar across your upper back and your feet just beyond shoulder width, toes pointed out slightly. Keep your chest and back flat, eyes focused forward.
ACTION: With your abs tight, bend your knees and hips as if sitting in a chair until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Reverse the motion by driving through your heels and pressing your hips forward to return to the start position.

PAP SAYS: The weight you choose should enable you to go full range, control the eccentric (downward phase) and pause at the bottom and be explosive on concentric (upward movement). Follow the 2:1:1 ratio i.e two seconds down, one second pause and one second up.

SET-UP: Stand to the side of a bench or box, arms down by your side, looking straight ahead.
ACTION: When you’re ready to start, stomp your left foot onto the bench and immediately activate the left quad to explosively drive your body up, jumping slightly into the air as you do so. Land with your opposite foot on the bench and place your left leg down on the other side. Reverse to repeat.

SET-UP: Grab the handles as low as possible to create a neutral spine. Anyone with hip or shoulder issues may need to bring their hands higher up to avoid further injury/aggravation. Prepare to push powerfully from the legs.
ACTION: Drive force into the ground at a 45°angle and sprint the distance at full speed.

PAP SAYS: The weight you choose should enable you to complete the distance in under 30 seconds. Focus on activating your glutes with each step.


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