GPP is a commonly used acronym in the powerlifting/strength and conditioning community, and one you may have seen on certain articles or training manuals.
GPP, short for "general physical preparedness," is the training and conditioning used to make athletes strong, fast, flexible and physically fit. It prepares the body to handle large amounts of volume and to recover from max effort training sessions.
GPP workouts also help athletes build endurance and speed while also strengthening supporting muscle groups and speeding up your recovery process.
In essence, GPP workouts could be the missing link to unlocking your full athletic potential!
Many athletes may be getting some type of GPP work through their current training programs without even knowing it. Football players pushing a sled is a great example of GPP work. Unfortunately, it's not very common to see a soccer athlete doing the same training a football player does. It makes sense that two different athletes from two different sports wouldn't train exactly the same, because their favored sport has different demands. Differences aside, most athletes can greatly benefit from adding additional GPP workouts to their training. Soccer players are no different.
The typical high school soccer match lasts between 80-90 minutes. Training begins in the early summer months and extends through fall. Unfortunately for soccer players, these training sessions and games occur during the hottest months of the year.
Many coaches resort to running endless miles to condition their athletes, but long-distance running in extreme heat will leave athletes vulnerable to injury, dehydration, muscle loss and exhaustion. Adding these side effects together equals having weak and injury-prone players entering the season. GPP is a way to fix this.
Although there is still a time and place for tempo running, sprint intervals and short distance running, adding a handful of GPP training days into your program will make your players stronger, faster, better conditioned and, most importantly, more resistant to injury.
Here are a handful of GPP workouts that I use to help prepare athletes for their upcoming season, along with some recommended set/rep ranges to utilize:
- Lying Leg Curls 3 sets x 15 reps
- Glute/Hamstring Raise (GHR), 4 x 6
- Back Raises, 3 x 15-20
- Sled Pulls and Pushes, 5 trips of 40-60 yards
- Walking with ankle weights, .5 miles
- Rear Delt Raises, 6 x 12
- Push-Ups, 3 x AMRAP
- Heavy weighted carries (Zercher Carry, Kettlebell Carry, etc), 4 trips of 20 yards
- Lunges, 5 sets of 20 steps each leg
- Walking with a weighted vest, 0.5-1.0 mile
- Hip Thrust 4 x 15
- Plank 3 x 30 seconds
- Rows 5 x 8
- Bodyweight Rows 3 x AMRAP
- Deadbugs 3 x 30 seconds
If added into an "extra" workout throughout the current training program, pick 4-5 exercises to target weak areas. If your upper back is weak, for example, be sure to pick some rowing movements. Train 3-5 sets per exercise and seek more volume (8-15 reps). If you need to raise conditioning, add in jump rope, carry or sled intervals for a set amount of time. 10 sets of 15-30 seconds will be sufficient.
GPP workouts can be added anytime, anywhere to your current training split. You can mix and match any of the listed exercises and form a specific training day to your routine, or tack a few of them on at the end of your workout. Bodyweight exercises are an excellent form of GPP training for younger athletes or those rehabbing from an injury. Adding extra GPP at the beginning of an offseason will help the body build more muscle when the heavy lifting portion of your program begins. Adding GPP to the end of your training phase is a great way to de-load and recover before the season begins.
If you're struggling to build lasting strength, have a hard time recovering or want to end the hours of miserable conditioning for your program, try implementing a few GPP training sessions and watch your performance on the pitch shoot through the roof!
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