The term General Physical Preparedness originates from Russian literature on physical training. Russian coaches found that training athletes to carry out a variety of physical training and thus increasing their general fitness would help their Specific Physical Preparedness, or SPP required to excel at their athletic event. GPP activities are designed to increase an athletes work capacity, leading to improved recovery times from training. GPP is often integrated into an athletes normal routine and may sometimes used as a warm-up before more intense training.

sled sprint

Sled Sprint

A GPP training session often consists of general fitness exercises to work all muscles and joins and specialized conditioning exercises that may be designed to improve an athletes speed or technique. The core benefits of any GPP routine are an increase in: cardiovascular fitness, speed, balance, flexibility, technique, stability and strength. However, you must pay attention to the intensity of the workouts. It’s often best to phase GPP into your exercise regime to avoid over training and workouts should not be punishing. Motor neuron skills and baseline cardiovascular performance should always be the core focus. High impact, punishing workouts without sufficient rest or nutrition as any athlete knows, is a sure way to reduce performance and destroy motivation. Calorific intake should be increased to counter the additional expenditure and conditioning training sessions should be predominantly kept low impact.

tire flip

Tire Flip

General physical preparedness can also be used for rehabilitation purposes when athletes injure muscles or joints. Routines vary dramatically depending on the sport, event or desired goal however there are a number of typical exercises that often spring to mind when considering this style of conditioning.

Typical General Physical Preparedness exercises:

sledge hammer wings

Sledge Hammer Swings

  • Tire flips
  • Agility ladders
  • Sledge sprints and pulls
  • Body-weight complexes
  • Sledge hammer swings
  • Dynamic effort Olympic lifts
  • Kettlebell complexes

GPP has become very popular over recent years. Louie Simmons, a well known powerlifiting coach with a large variety of successful Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters has raised significant awareness. Crossfit has also introduced GPP to the masses as an all-round way of fitness and training. General physical preparedness is also a fantastic way of optimising physical competency  and striking a balance between various physical competencies such as weight or speed. The awareness of GPP is set to spread over the coming years and already commonly used for conditioning by first class track & field athletes and strength athletes alike.


Powerlifter Scott Mendelson

Powerlifter Scot Mendelson

Scot Mendelson (commonly mistaken for Scott Mendelson) is currently recovering from a bench press pec tear injury that occurred on the 24th of March 2013. The incident happened whilst he was attending the 2013 SPF (Southern Powerlifting Federation) March Madness Powerlifting meet hosted at the SuperTraining Gym in Sacramento California. (SuperTraining Gym is a well known strength gym that often streams lifting meets over the internet.)

After warming up on the bench and blasting out some impressive singles he decided to take an attempt at 716lb (approximately 325kg) which would increase his own world by a single pound. However during his attempt mid way pressing the 716 pound barbell from his chest, he quite visibly manages to tear one of his pectoral muscles.  The video below displays quite graphically the moment his pec tears.

I suggest skipping to 2:46 if you’re keen to see the point at which his pec lets go.

Further information about Pectoralis Tears

The pectoralis muscle is made up of 2 parts, the pectoralis major and pectoralis minor. The large pectoralis major is attached to the humerus (arm bone) by a tendon which under extreme conditions can cause a partial or complete tear which requires reattachment. A “pectoralis major rupture” or pec tear for short, causes tremendous pain, swelling and bruising and will often severely reduce your mobility and strength. There are 4 types of rupture and depending on the severity and type of pec tear, they can take several weeks, several months or may never repair (although this is extremely rare). Its advised that you quickly attend hospital as scar tissue can build up and depending on the severity of the rupture X-rays are often used to determine the extent of the tear

About Scot Mendelson (AKA Scott Mendelson)

Scot Mendelson, is a well know American powerlifter, who specializes in the bench press. He stands at 6ft 1 in tall (185cm) and tends to move between 270-360lb (122-163kg) depending on the competition class he enters.) He holds multiple equipped and raw records in a range of powerlifting federations such as the the APF – American Powerlifting Federation. Scot already held the world record bench press in the class at 715lb but regrettable decided to take a run at beating his all time bench record at the meet. He is also very active on-line and often posts on Misc forums.

Since the incident occurred, Scot has released a photo of his pec injury that severely bruised his entire upper body.

Scot Mendelson appears to be showing off the severity of his tear in hospital

Scot Mendelson appears to be showing off the severity of his tear in hospital