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.
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.
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:
- 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.