WSBB Blog: GPP Training For Football Players
General physical preparedness training, otherwise known as GPP training, is training focused on increasing the strength endurance and cardiovascular capabilities of an athlete, leading to increased levels of work capacity and sport performance. The sport of football requires athletes to be strong, fast, and to be able to remain effective over the course of a four quarter game. Having the ability to do this requires that the athlete have a comprehensive GPP training plan put together.
Fortunately, effective GPP training is simple to program, and can be done practically anywhere. This method of training will not only increase your strength and cardiovascular endurance, GPP training will also raise the ceiling of your overall athletic ability. That means that by increasing your GPP, you will be able to increase your capacity to get bigger, stronger, and faster. Below, we will go over some simple and effective exercises that you can begin implementing into your programming immediately.
The go to Westside Barbell GPP exercise, sled drags are one of the best ways to target the legs, lower back, and trunk while also increasing cardiovascular capacity. Sled drags are also a great way for any athlete experiencing back pain to train their lower body without a loaded barbell. When dragging the sled you can pull it forward, backward, or step side to side. Forward pulls focus on glutes and hamstrings, backward pulls focus on glutes, quads, and calves, while side to side step pulls focus on the trunk, hips, and hamstrings.
At Westside, our athletes will perform sled drags using moderate weight for extended distances, or heavy weight for short distances. Extended distances are typically 25-35 yards, while short distance pulls are typically 15-20 yards, pulled for 12-15 trips down and back. The weight loaded onto the sled should always be the heaviest amount of weight you can handle while successfully completing all prescribed trips.
If you want to increase grip strength, trunk brace strength, strength endurance, and cardiovascular capacity then wheelbarrow walks should be your go to GPP movement. Wheelbarrow walks force an athlete to maintain strength and technique in order to walk the implement in a controlled manner. To safely execute this exercise, you want to focus on creating stability by bracing your trunk, taking short steps forward to ensure the wheelbarrow doesn’t get too far ahead of you.
This exercise can be performed using both heavy and moderate amounts of weight, with the trip count and distance the same as sled drags. When carrying the wheelbarrow, you will go down and back without allowing the wheelbarrow to rest on the ground. This means you must keep control of the implement by maintaining a strong grip and trunk brace, while moving in a controlled and methodical manner.
One of the most grueling, brutal ways to increase your GPP while also getting in some excellent leg training is through the use of hill sprints. This exercise will not only tax your cardiovascular abilities, strength endurance will be greatly taxed as well. Maintaining the strength necessary to create the leg drive needed to get up the hill as fast as possible is one of the best ways to simulate the demand placed on a players’ legs over the course of a game. There is no doubt about it, hill sprints are one of the best GPP focused football exercises.
When performing hill sprints it is recommended the athlete wear cleats. Failure to wear proper footwear will raise the risk of injury to the quads or hamstrings, and will take away from your ability to exert the strength necessary to get up the hill as fast as possible. It is critical that fatigue levels be monitored when performing hill sprints. Be sure to end the workout as soon as hill sprints begin to turn into a jog up the hill.
The sport of football is one of the most demanding sports an athlete can compete in. You must be strong, fast, and have the cardiovascular endurance and work capacity to maintain high levels of strength and speed throughout the course of a game. GPP focused training ensures you will have the gas tank needed to maintain a high level of performance, while also raising the levels of strength and speed you are capable of reaching. If you want to become the most complete athlete you can be, don’t forget to train your GPP.