General Physical Preparation
by James Bullock

Physical Preparation

General physical preparation (GPP) is an essential component of the athletic training process. GPP is the foundation of training for any sport. It prepares athletes for later specific training that focuses on the actual performance of the sport. Simply put, GPP is any training that is done outside the specifics of an athlete’s sport or any auxiliary training.

Many in the strength community confuse GPP for cardio training, which is a mistake. It encompasses all areas of performance and potential improvement. With a strong foundation of general training, huge gains in performance of your chosen sport can be achieved. The GPP can fill in the “gaps” of your training and performance. You may have a weakness or imbalance that you are not aware of and by spending a preseason doing higher intensity GPP sessions you correct them due to the well rounded nature of the training. This increases your performance during your season because your weaknesses are being addressed. Consider GPP as a tune up of all the essential components of athletic performance.

GPP is used as the following:

  • To increase work capacity and overall conditioning levels
  • To develop all the primary attributes of athleticism
  • As a means of restoration
  • To prevent imbalances in the body that can cause injuries in the future
  • To increase motor skills
  • To increase training volume
  • To add variety to training as to prevent staleness or burnout
  • To activate the nervous system prior to a high performance training session

It is important that GPP be varied and include training that either improves or maintains all physical qualities such as: strength, speed, flexibility, explosiveness, balance, agility and so on.There are two types of GPP drills: non-weighted and weighted.

Non-weighted consists of bodyweight movements being used in multiple planes of motion.

Weighted is a more open category consisting of:

  • Sled work
  • Sledge Hammer swings
  • Med Ball Drills
  • Kettlebell Drills
  • Battling Ropes
  • Tire Flips
  • Olympic lifts
  • Weighted carries
  • Complexes
  • Circuits

Those are just some of the possibilities an athlete could use for weighted GPP. The possibilities are practically limitless.

You cannot fully realize your potential as an athlete without devoting some of your training time to general physical preparation. If you’re not currently doing it, then do so. Your body will thank you for it in the long run.


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About the Author

James Bullock is the head coach for Irondom Performance Systems and Combative Sciences. He's written programs for athletes and non-athletes alike, including numerous world record holders in various sports. Combative Sciences was found in 1999 and is the culmination of decades of martial arts training. 

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