Strength Training 103: GPP Explained
If you were to walk into any gym and ask them about GPP, I’m not so sure you could get a good answer…
…as a matter of fact I had no idea about General Physical Preparedness (GPP) in college…
Sad admission, I know, but since then I have been reading a lot of eye opening texts on the importance of GPP.
General physical preparedness refered to as GPP, is a component of training. Many people only train to get stronger, but then run out of breath tying their sneakers.
Louie Simmons explains GPP as “you have to be in shape to train, not train to get in shape.” By training, I believe Louie is refering to powerlifting – the sport that has given Louie a lot of recognition.
GPP is the groundwork and general anareobic and aerobic foundations that a person can achieve BEFORE they get into heavy weights.
To provide a more exact definition, GPP is explained by Medvedyev (1988):
1. The formation, strengthening or restoration of the habits (skills), which play an auxiliary, facilitatory role in sport 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.
Verkhoshanky echoes the third aspect when he wrote “GPP helps prevent imbalances and boredom with both specific and non specific exercises by conditioning the body to work.”
Probably not. So I’ll make it as simple as possiblewith Verkhoshanky in mind: GPP is conditioning the body to do work.
Exercise, especially loaded lifts, require general abilities to be performed successfully. GPP simply is building those abilities!
Body weight exercises (catch my theme for the last two weeks with the bodyweight training articles!)
- Push ups (progression VIDEO)
- Bodyweight lunges
- Mountain climbers
- Pull ups (13 Variation VIDEO)
- Supine rows
- Hand walking
- Forward (oxen or sprinting)
- Restoration Sled Drags (VIDEO)
- Tire Throwing
- Tire Flipping
- Sandbag exercises
- Car Pushing
- Medicine Ball Toss
I’m trying to go above and beyond with this post, so I here are two sample GPP workouts. One for in the gym, one for the garage gym people!
Intermediate Upper Body Gym GPP Workout
Warm up and mobility (jumping jack series, general movements, etc)
1. Pull ups – 5 x 5-8
2a. Supine Rows 4 x 10-12
3b. Hindu Pushups 4 x 10-12
4a. Handwalking over plates 4 x 10-12
5b. Medicine Ball Slams
Warm down and restoration.
Advanced Full Body GPP Bull Strength Style Workout
Warm up and mobility
1. Tire Flip 5 x 3-5 (no tire, substitute car push or pull 4-5 x 30 yards)
2a. Sandbag Shouldering 4 x 8-10 (each shoulder)
3b. Feet Elevated Push Ups 4 x 15-20
4. Sled Dragging 4 x 30 yards (alternate forward and backwards)
5. Sled Recovery Dragging (VIDEO)
Try one of these two sample workouts to increase your GPP (and stay consistent with incorporating some of these movements into your regular training program).
I purposely made these workouts drastically different between bodyweight exercises and odd objects to show that most movements after the primary lifts are GPP in your program already!
GPP Conclusion / Summary
Our bodies are typically not prepared to step in the gym and lift heavy weights, just like we are rarely prepared to step onto an athletic field and perform at a high level. General strength and movement patterns are a great base for lifting or athletic preparation.
In addition, even once people become “elite” lifters or athletes, GPP will still prove valuable in the areas of recovery, restoration, mobility, and more.
WHAT ARE YOUR GPP EXERCISES?
==> I’m looking forward to reading your comments and exercise choices!
- Joe Hashey, CSCS –
PS. If you want an exercise program that takes GPP into account? Get Bull Strength!
1. Hashey, Joe. Bull Strength. Synergy Athletics 2008.
2. Zatisiorsky, V. and Kraemer, W. Science and Practice of Strength Training. 2nd Edition. Human Kinetics 2006.
3. Medvedyev, A. A System Of Multi-Year Training in Weightlifting.Sportivny Press. 1989.
4. Simmons, L. Louie Simmons Frequently Asked Questions. Deep Squatter.