GPP Training Program Routines & Exercises - Understanding GPP Benefits

GPP Training

Various training programs and exercise offer different results

So what is GPP you ask? Let me explain. What many athletes and you may be lacking in is GPP. GPP stands for General Physical Preparedness. This term refers to how prepared an athlete is to undergo a nonspecific physical activity. This preparedness is dependent on an athlete s level of physical fitness or what kind of overall shape the individual is in. The philosophy behind GPP training is that, by training GPP, the athlete will increase total work capacity. This increase in work capacity will in turn make easier the adaptation of the athlete's body to the demands placed on the body during training. Simply put, if you can work for a long period of time, training harder will be easier for you as will pushing your body to the limits.

Many athletes get caught up in looking bigger and getting stronger. They train every day and feel they are in great shape. A belief held by most sedentary people is that almost all athletes are physically fit. However, when one investigates further, one finds many of these athletes are really far from being in great shape.

One incident when I saw the preceding statement proven true was when I asked a bodybuilding friend of mine to help me move into my new home last year. This friend not only looked like he was in great shape, but he even showed as much by pushing around poundages in the gym that left most people in awe. I believed that, with him helping me move, I would be done in no time. I ended up being completely wrong. After 15 minutes of lifting boxes my friend was drenched in sweat looking like he was going to have a heart attack. For the rest of the day I ended up doing all the moving myself while he just stood around cheering me on. To see an athlete who spends so much time training get out of breath doing work so light as lifting a few boxes is very strange. Believe it or not, this example is representative of the case with many athletes. They are in great shape when they perform their sport-specific training but are so poorly out of shape when they have to do a nonspecific task. You may have even noticed this behavior happen to you sometimes: You are a powerhouse in the gym when throwing around huge poundages, and then all of a sudden a physical activity performed outside the gym just knocks you right out.

An advantage of GPP training is GPP will enhance your ability to recover from your workouts. This factor is very important in any training regimen as recovery needs to take place in order for the athlete to improve. GPP training increases the rate of recovery by altering an athlete s base fitness level. By having a higher work capacity the athlete can handle a larger volume of exercises without exhausting the body's resources, thus causing less stress on the central nervous system.

A variety of exercises that train your GPP abound. You can train your GPP by doing something simple as jumping jacks. If you really want to go nuts you can try pulling a tractor trailer. An important key is GPP exercises have to be nonspecific to the sport you are training for. For example, a power-lifter cannot train his GPP by doing more squats, deadlifts and bench presses. In order to train GPP effectively an athlete should take part in activities that develop and increase his or her levels of fitness from other angles. These increased levels of fitness can be in strength, speed, endurance or flexibility.

GPP exercises should try to involve as many muscle groups as possible and place a demand on the cardiovascular system. These exercises should be performed with an intensity that keeps your heart rate between 70 to 75 percent of your maximum heart rate (MHR) for about 10 minutes. A quick way to calculate your MHR is to subtract your age from 220. For example, a I 28-year-old man would have an MHR of 192 (220 - 28). Your goal should be to work out at about 85 percent of your MHR for 10 minutes. With time you should increase the intensity of the GPP exercises but not their duration. A duration of longer than 10 minutes may lead to muscle catabolism (i.e. muscle breaking down), and we definitely don't want that to happen.

Below are some of popular GPP exercises that many athletes are given to perform on a regular basis.


This activity is great not only for working on your GPP but also for letting off a little steam. Simply get in front a heavy, swinging punching bag and punch the crap out of it for some time.

Boxing utilizes both aerobic and anaerobic energy and systematically recruits both fast- and slow-twitch muscle fibers in a manner that ensures a workout with diversity. Boxing also enhances sports-specific senses such as hand-eye coordination, balance and timing. You can even incorporate your lower body in your boxing workouts by adding some kicks to go along with those punches.

Swiss-ball Pushups

Put your feet on top of a Swiss ball and face the floor in a decline position with your hands on the floor to support you. In this position perform as many pushups as you can. Once you can't perform any more reps, roll the ball so it rests underneath your shins. By doing so you will reduce the resistance a bit. Now try to do as many pushups as you can until you reach exhaustion.

Farmer's Walk

Put a set of heavy dumbbells in your hands and go for a walk with those 'bells. This exercise sounds easier than it is. The dumbbells should be heavy enough that you feel the intensity as you walk farther. If done correctly, this exercise will have your forearms and traps burning like a wildfire.

Wheelbarrow Haul

This exercise is very similar to the farmer's walk. Fill a wheelbarrow with weights and then grab the handles and walk. Keep your back upright, the chest up and out and the eyes looking straight ahead. The back, glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps, as well as your grip, get taxed during this exercise. As you move to hauling heavier weights, balance will be very important. If you lean a little too much to one side you will find your wheelbarrow topples over. As you progress you can make this exercise harder by pushing a weighted wheelbarrow up an incline. This last version of the exercise will really put the burn to your calves.

Tire Flipping

Yes, that's right. You read that heading correctly. Tire flipping can be performed just as it is in strongman competitions. Get a large, tractor-trailer tire (400 pounds minimum), bend down, pick it up, flip it and then repeat. Tire flipping is a very intense whole-body exercise so just be ready for complete body soreness the next day if you plan to do this exercise.

Car Pushing

Place a car in neutral, get behind the vehicle and push the sucker. Set a distance or time personal best (PB) and try to beat your PB each time you perform this exercise. Start off with a smaller car such as a compact and work your way up to the big-boy vehicles. If pushing large SUVs and trucks becomes too easy then just start putting people inside them. Not only will doing so add intensity to your exercise, hut you will also feel good knowing you are doing your part to conserve gas by carpooling.

Sled Dragging

Use a harness or belt to attach a sled to your waist. Load up the sled with weight, face away from the sled, and go for a slow walk. By making small variations to this exercise you can stress different muscle groups. To work your glutes and the muscles in the hip region, keep your body upright and take large strides. If you want to concentrate more on exercising your hamstrings, bend over from the waist slightly and take smaller strides. You can also work your quadriceps by walking backwards with the sled facing you. Intensity can be changed by adding more weight to the sled or finding different surfaces to drag the sled on. Initially try sled dragging using a smooth surface such as grass. Then progress to tougher surf aces like concrete once sled dragging on grass becomes too easy. Try adding GPP training to your regular weight-training routine once a week and see how the additional training works for you. Gradually try to do three GPP training sessions per week. As with any new exercise, start off with a lighter resistance load than you normally would. Then gradually progress to heavier weights and higher volumes.

As a bodybuilder, you will find GPP training can increase your training intensity, enhance your recovery and, best of all, give you a level of physical fitness that is congruent with your physique. In conclusion, GPP training is definitely a very important component of overall training that should be considered by all athletes, including bodybuilders. So, John, my suggestion to you would be to get out there and start training your GPP to take your bodybuilding training to the next level.

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