What is a GPP training programme and who is it for?


What is a GPP training programme and who is it for?

GPP stands for general physical preparedness.  Meaning that you have a general broad and inclusive fitness that should be balanced across all 10 components of fitness. 

1. Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.

2. Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.

3. Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.

4. Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.

5. Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.

6. Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.

7. Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.

8. Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.

9. Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.

10. Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.

We need all these components of fitness in sport and in our everyday life to varying degrees. 

This means if we are participating in a fitness programme that doesn't regularly address all 10 of these components above, we are creating weakness or a deficiency in our fitness. 

We see this all the time if your trainer is a:

Bodybuilder, you will like to train like a bodybuilder.  Or if your trainer is a powerlifter you will train like a powerlifter.  If your trainer is into endurance training this will most likely make up the bulk of your training. This is because people are passionate and teach what they know and have experience of. 

What this means for your fitness though is that your probably not training all 10 components of fitness and this could be seriously limiting your progress towards your own personal goals or even just having an awesome all round level of fitness. 

Don't get me wrong there is nothing wrong with training like a powerlifter, bodybuilder, tri-athlete or even a weightlifter, especially if you plan to compete in that particular sport. 

If however you participate in a sport or have goals that lie outside of these particular closed training systems, then you need a programme that has a broader and more inclusive focus.

This is where CrossFit has its place. CrossFit is an all inclusive "GPP" programme that is designed to train and improve all 10 components of fitness simultaneously. 

CrossFit blends bodybuilding, powerlifting, weightlifting, gymnastics, plyometrics bodyweight conditioning with traditional endurance training such as running rowing cycling and swimming. 

This is what makes CrossFit such a great training system.  Whether your goals are specific like increased muscle mass or decreased body fat or improving endurance or simply being fit enough to enjoy your life with your family and friends…  CrossFit has you covered. 

What if I play a sport?  Do I need a sport specific training programme? 

In short, no! But a little explanation is needed.  In the U.K. and Ireland our physical education system is severely lacking and in general, grass roots strength and conditioning is pretty much non-existent. Growing up locally our primary source of exercise developed around field sports such as rugby, soccer, gaa, netball, hockey and many more.  Methods to improve these manly centre around skills and drills and time spent practicing the sport and if we are lucky maybe some poorly programmed circuit training.

If we contrast to what we see in the Scandinavian countries or Russia and the United States. A lot more time and money is pumped to facilities and physical education.  I’m sure we have all seen photos of high school and college strength and conditioning facilities in the US that would make professional soccer and rugby clubs in the U.K. envious.  If we look at how physical education is prioritised in the Scandinavian countries with particular emphasis on classic calisthenics and gymnastics alongside developing endurance, we can see the UK fails to meet the same standards as elsewhere.

What this means is that in general by the time these foreign athletes reach the point in specialisation in sport they already have a broad and inclusive fitness from years of weightlifting, gymnastics and calisthenics.  So what may be needed at the top level is a sport specific programme.

Contrast this to the UK and Ireland where we don't have the same structure for early physical development of athletes, what we have is many athletes playing and performing at a high level in field sports that do not have an appropriate level of general physical preparedness.  The tell tale sign of this...Injuries!

So while athletes abroad in the US and Other countries where general physical preparedness is trained from an early age may benefit from sports specific training programme, locally we would be much better served following a programme targeted to raising our levels of general physical preparedness and eliminating any gaps or weaknesses in our fitness. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about CrossFit send us and email or sign up for one our intro courses or come along to one of our free taster classes.   For further information please contact us on info@crossfitbelfast.com

Coach Niall 

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