GPP(General Physical Preparedness)

You don’t build a house on a weak foundation. GPP is all about a strong bodily foundation and longevity. Low skill, highly effective. Not every workout can be snatches and muscle-ups.

Obvious Benefits of Low Skill GPP Work

Conditioning: Pick up two heavy kettlebells and carry them for 100 meters. How do you feel? Probably pretty winded, and feeling like you need to take a break to recover. Carrying heavy objects is much more challenging in person than it is on paper. For this reason, it doesn’t take an exercise physiologist to tell you that GPP work provides a unique element of conditioning that we’ll talk more about in a second.

Skill Level: Just about any athlete that walks through your door can push/pull a sled, or carry two kettbells. Of course, the amount of loading and rate of rest interval will differ drastically based off of the athlete’s ability, but the main point here is that there is not necessarily a prerequisite of ability to have before performing these low-skill movements.

Efficiency: Similar to point #2, because there is no prerequisite in terms of skill level, the coach does not need to spend an inordinate amount of time coaching particular movements. This is a win-win for both the efficiency and the safety of the athletes in the class.

Difficulty Level: After a few rounds of performing work such as pushing a sled, it’s very obvious to athletes of all abilities that this work is easy to underestimate. You can be guaranteed that, regardless of their skill level, athletes are going to see just how challenging this work is on their cardio-respitorary system.

Total Body: Most of the GPP work we are referring to is systemic, meaning it taxes the body from head-to-toe in addition to the cardio-respitory system. For this reason, we can use this work for a multitude of goals while also building our base.

Not-So-Obvious Benefits

Conditioning: We can target all three energy systems with this work. This is difficult to do in a group setting, especially when targeting the Phosphagen system, but I encourage you try to pushing an empty sled for 15-20 seconds of all-out effort. Note how you felt after, and how long it take to fully recover enough to repeat that same level of output. Chances are the rest interval is much longer than you’d think (15-20x the amount of work in most cases).

Variance: There are many different variations we have access to, that not only provide a different stimulus, but also challenges each athlete differently based on their individual make-up. As we know, no two athletes are exactly the same, so being able to rotate work on a consistent basis is essential in the group setting.

Unilateral Work: Sled work can double as unilateral work. This is important to help improve upon the muscle asymmetries which we know all athletes have.

Strength & Conditioning: Very few modalities can satisfy both improving strength and conditioning concurrently, but low skill GPP work fits within that small list. Pulling a heavy sled will strengthen the posterior chain and translate quite well to our compound movements, and carrying heavy objects will improve upon grip strength. Both movements will provide conditioning due to the fact that our heart rate will be elevated immediately upon starting said work.

Sport Specific: If you have sport specific goals, low skill GPP work fits regardless of the sport you play. The reason is simple: strength work without taxing the central nervous system (CNS), conditioning work that requires low-acquisition of skill, and unilateral work to improve upon muscular imbalance.

Recovery: Low-skill GPP work can be done with lighter loads and longer durations to facilitate aerobic work, and thereby facilitate recovery. If you’ve had a hard week of training and still want to train, try pulling a light sled for 20 minutes. I guarantee you’ll feel rejuvenated the next day.

Box Programming