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There are different schools of thought on what constitutes GPP. As a strength athlete, I feel that GPP is any additional exercise that I include in my work out that increases my all-around fitness, cardio conditioning, and functional core strength. I have always strived to train as an over-all strength athlete rather than to just train the powerlifting movements. Over the years, I have used a number of movements to increase my GPP. Recently, we have been training farmers walks, sandbag carries, kettlebells and sled pushes/pulls three days a week following our normal training routine in the gym. I feel that this extra GPP work not only gets me in better cardiovascular shape, but also helps my mobility and makes me a stronger functional strength athlete. While I have always tried to add some GPP into my training, I have neglected it at times during my training career especially when I was in the middle of a heavy powerlifting training cycle. I can look back now and realize that this lack of mobility and conditioning probably led to a number of my injuries and stagnant strength gains. It would have been better to cut back on the amount of GPP rather than to eliminate it.
I feel that strength athletes in general can increase GPP not only from extra work in the gym, but also from staying active. Weekend recreational activities like walking miles of grasslands chasing after pheasants, taking the mountain bike out on a local trail, or hiking and swimming can help with mobility and conditioning. GPP can also come in the form of outdoor work activities like using a push mower to mow the lawn, shoveling snow, and/or chopping wood.
The one big thing I have learned, as I have gotten older, is that it is much better for me to stay active and keep moving rather than lay around in front of the TV during training downtime. Sometimes there is a time for rest but there is always room to increase your GPP.
- Brad Gillingham, CSCS