Part 6 of the 6 part series on periodization introduces general physical preparedness (GPP). Like I explained the first post “Who needs a Personal Trainer?” GPP is in the last stage of the training macrocycle which is performed in the active rest weeks generally.

What is GPP?

And why should I be down with it?

GPP is a category of exercises that are low intensity used to increase aerobic (lung) capacity and get you muscular baseline higher. And much like the title suggests, they increase your general preparedness. Remember the movie Zombie land? Columbus was all about GPP. See even after the zombies take over there is still a need for GPP.

If you have ever done Crossfit or at very least looked into it, you will have seen their workouts of the day (WOD). All these WODs are is GPP. Lunges, jumping jacks, air squats are all examples of GPP exercises.

Who is GPP good for?

If you fall into the category from the joystick warrior to the elite athlete you will benefit from incorporating GPP into your periodization cycle. Basically everyone benefits. The amount benefited is dependent to the overall conditioning of the person. Elite athletes benefit more from SPP while everyone else will reap larger benefits from GPP.

If you aren’t an elite athlete (like most of us are) her is a list GPP will help you with:

  1. a) lose weight (fat) and improve body composition
  2. b) increase strength and muscle mass
  3. c) improve posture
  4. d) increase joint mobility and muscle flexibility
  5. e) improve cardiovascular fitness
  6. f) improve balance
  7. g) improve agility
  8. h) enhance coordination
  9. i) increase speed
  10. j) improve movement quality

lastly and most important

  1. k) improve how you look naked

Looking to increase your squat? Well before you blow out your knee, you need to get those tendons and ligaments good and strong. GPP can do that.

I could probably stop the article here, but I will continue to beat the dead horse and tell you about GPP.

When should I do GPP?

GPP is can and should be used all the time. The best times to focus on it is coming back from an extended period of non-training, like coming back from a sickness or injury or on active rest to keep those gainz.  

GPP holds a special place in my heart because this is what I used to recover from back surgery. Physical therapy got me back to walking normal but after that I had to find a way back to the gym. That’s when I turned to GPP. Walking lunges for days.

What are some exercises that are considered GPP?

I consider any bodyweight exercise a form of GPP. Adding weight would increase the intensity and in turn add more stress to your joints. GPP is meant to increase your baseline of fitness with work rather than weight.

Here is a few GPP exercises:

Walking lunges

Bodyweight squats




Inverted rows


Jumping jacks


As you can see these are all exercises that you should be able to rip off 15-20 reps. If you can’t then I suggest you get on the GPP train today. The zombie apocalypse is right around the corner.

Sample Workout Time

Like the Tabata workout I gave to you in the Traveling during the holidays post GPP exercises can be chained together to form a circuit or done individually. Here is a sample workout I would give a new client of mine:

Perform for 30 sec each. Rest for 30 sec between and move on to the next exercise. Repeat 4 times



Air Squats

Jumping Jacks

16 minutes later you will be cursing my name while you lay on the floor trying to catch your breath.

As a bonus, if you sit a lot a work, which most of us do, your lower back and hip flexors take a beating. Your hip flexors get tight and that throws your lower back and spine all out of whack which eventually leads to back pain. While you are sitting your hip flexors are flexed the entire time. Think about how tight your bicep would be if you flexed it for as long as you sit. Not to mention you would look like a crazy person. The best way I found to combat this is walking lunges. Walking lunges work the posterior chain (hamstrings, butt, lower back) and help loosen up tight hip flexors.

GPP is joint friendly and can benefit everyone (almost). These exercises are basic human movements and will go a long way in improving health and overall well being, plus they will help you improve the way you look naked and who doesn’t want that?

If you missed any of the previous posts in the Who needs a Personal Trainer? Series here are the links:

Part 1 Periodization: Never Plateau Again!

Part 2 Endurance: I don’t want to be bulky; I just want to be toned.

Part 3 Hypertrophy: The Gainz post

Part 4 Strength: I lift things up and put them down

Part 5 Peak Week: Peak/Competition Week