T Nation

GPP Out Of Control


Hi Guys, I am probably going to piss people off by saying this but here I go. Don't you think this GPP stuff is getting a little out of control. Now people are buying sledgehammer's, wheelbarrow's, concrete block's, mop's, broom's and all this other stuff for the sake of getting a workout in. I am not saying it doesn't work, and I am all for variety, but tell me what the difference is between picking up a barbell or sandbags and walking with it.

What about doing barbell overhead squats, why do we need keg's. If you want to be more in tune with nature take the barbell outside. I roofed my way through High School and College. I spent all day lifting and moving heavy shit. But guess what? I am stronger, leaner and more athletic now and I do not roof anymore. My entire workout is spent at a power rack. I would love to have some people discuss this with me. In my eyes this is becoming a craze, like all that stability crap from Boyle, Check, Santana and all those physical Therepists and Athletic Trainer's dying to become strength coaches trying to argue that standing on a ball is more "functional" then squatting 400lbs.


Alwyn Cosgrove has an article series called "Pendulum Back to the Middle" where he talks through how crazes come up because people do to little and the n overcompensate. I think this is a perfect example. Doing GPP and strongman training (which are related, but have their differences) is a great adjunct to a solid workout program. However, you still need a solid lifting program to get strong IMO.


Out of control in terms of what? In terms of taking up space in the form of internet articles? I have yet to see people do GPP at a gym, except in very rare instances (high-rep bench jumps supersetted w. burpees and even I don't know if that qualifies as GPP, because that might be the guys entire workout).

You are right in the fact that people will always claim that their system is the next big thing, unfortunately fitness is based on a number of factors, improving at all of them to a certain degree seems to require specialization.

In terms of harder to control, a sandbag is more of a pain in the ass than a barbell of the same weight, just due to the inequal distribution of load.

Why even do barbell overhead squats at all? If it doesn't fit with your training goals then skip it.

I can see if people were doing wimpy workouts with little sandbags and claiming it was the next big thing, but if people are working hard they will get in better shape. It will still break down to program design, effort and nutrition.

I'm a cheap guy by the way and work out with my old punching bag once a week shouldering and squatting it, you just can't do the same exercise with a barbell.

Yes, there are people selling sand bag courses and expensive sandbags and I've even seen designer sledges! Maybe they'll make designer wheelbarrows soon.


Congratulations my son, you have passed on to the next level. Go forth and spread the word...

If you stop and think about it, these things could be considered the T-Mans Bun and Thigh Master.


I agree. Variety is good, and I do not see the average guy at my gym doing this stuff. I am talking about this on a higher level. People tyhat have been in the iron game for a while. There is a lot of talk about GPP on this site and many other places. When Westside started doing it is was basically a bunch of exercises done in succession for time. Reverse Hyper's, Glute/Ham raises, pull throughs, sled dragging was all working very well. Now people are buying all this other stuff, when d-bells and Barbell's would work just fine. It would be one thing if you were training for a strongman competition or the outdoor games. If I do let's say full contact twists or turkish get up's or clean and Jerk's for a while with mod reps or for time, I don't see how swinging an axe or or lifting sandbags is going to give me a "better workout" or perpare me better.


One other thing. Isn't GPP just a cool and scietific phrase for just plain moving, carrying in groceries, cleaning up your house, walking to get the mail, holding your child. I am not trying to be a wise ass, but it sounds like people felt gay if they said cardio, or conditioning. So GPP was born to make you sound more hardcore. I just hate when this stuff get's made up. Again why are doing d-bell presses on a physio ball "functional" but doing them heavier on a bench is for meatheads and isn't sport's specific. Don't even get me started on "sport's specific" training.


I agree, the exercises are overly glamorized.

But I do think that GPP for the majority of women suits their goals better than bodybuilding, o-lifting, powerlifting or aerobics.


keep in mind ... we are fringe and far from the normal ... everyone? many here perhaps, and that is it

when the local gyms shuts down, there are no sledgehammers left at home depot, and farmers are rioting because someone has stolen all of their tractor tires ... well, then we might have a problem



My definition of GPP, before I saw that term, was hard cardio. Doing 10-20 reps of full-body exercises supersetted with no rest with 10-20 reps of another full-body exercise. While it did have it's flaws (I lost some muscle) I got better at all around fitness, my general physical preparedness improved. When surfing I could paddle longer and faster, boxing with my friends I had much better endurance and quicker hands. I could jump higher, etc.

I don't see how GPP would figure into moving groceries, unless it made it easier to unload a lot of groceries quickly.

Physio balls are a totally different subject.


Out of control? Maybe. Certainly it has become a "craze" and will rise and fall, as they all do, with the general populace. However, some of us have always enjoyed the other kinds of strength and fitness outside of the weightroom. Before I started lifting (20 years ago) I was shoveling horsecrap for my parent's farm, splitting wood, etc.. Did it give me a good foundation for lifting? Heck yeah. In the last 20 years, while lifting regularly, I've roofed, worked in a feed mill for 7 years, dug line on wildfires, split a mountain of cedar rails with a 22 pound sledge, worked in a lumber yard and beat the crap of the heavy bag beyond my "regular" martial arts practice. Each of these gave me something extra that I didn't get from the weight room. For example: The heavy bag did for my arms, shoulders and neck what I didn't get from the lifting alone, the mature developed look (and more explosiveness and heavier lifts). The crazy strength for odd lifts that I had from the feedmill sure helped my squats, deadlifts, and one armed dumbell work...
If weights alone do it for you, then rock on. My experience has been that some of us (I for one)really benefit from the extra stimulation that hammer, bag, etc, can provide.


I agree with the hard cardio stuff being GPP. The physio ball is another story, but I was using it as an example of of how when an exercise is not done the traditional way or with some crazy invention it is called something else besides its original name. People really think that by doin 3X20 of clean and jerk's with a Keg is going to make them stronger or more prepared than doing 3X20 with a barbell. If you are doing it to get outside once in a while, or for variety that's one thing.


I consider getting under the iron as my primary way of getting stronger. When the weather gets nice outside, I would however like to try some sled dragging, tire flipping, sand bagging, etc. If solely for a change of pace, a chance to do some things you can't do at the gym. By no means would I ever use it as my sole method of training, but I do think it can add a nice bit of spice to the plain old gym routine.


Bro I hear ya and to a point I agree. However, I'm pretty damn sure that doing 3x20 clean and jerk with a keg WILL make it easier to to the same thing with a barbell. What you're saying would be akin to making the claim that benching 5x5 with 225 on the hammerstrength machine is the same as benching the same weight/reps with dumbells. I know you wouldn't agree to that. On top of that, you know that as someone who's worked a real job the strength you get from shouldering bundles of shingles all day is not the same as what you in the weight room.

Still like just about anything that's worthwhile or society has a tendencey to "use" it all up till you're kinda sick of it. Take a song you might like for example. You hear it. You like it. It's different then the same old shit you keep hearing. NOT FOR LONG! Before you know it it's on the radio on 3 different stations, every 15 minutes. Then you hear it in a ringtone on someone's cell. And you turn on the tv and there's the video on 5 different channels. Plus an interview with the performer and a link to their website!
LOL, now I'm just ranting.

I do hear ya Silverback, however it's still a good idea. IMO how seriously you take it just depends on how gullabble (sp?) you are. THis doesn't mean I think gpp is bs, but buying a designer sledge is NOT on the top of my wish list. Take what you want from what's given and leave the rest bro.


We call this "Apocalypse".

Crossfit is the least of your worries when angry farmers are coming...


Is GPP out of control? I really don't think so. GPP is too hard for most people to do. Is the term GPP being abused? I bet so!

Here's a great look and definition of what GPP is:


The point is that GPP is dependent on your goals (your sport, etc.). GPP is not one size fits all.

Now, all that said. A few point on your concerns. First, you said you did roofing for a long time ... so, you built up a good level of general fitness (GPP as it is loosely defined). I've done similar when I did landscaping for a summer. I've also had far better "GPP" when I am on the judo mat regularly.

However, many people in modern society have absolutely shitty levels of preparedness to do ANYTHING -- walking, raking leaves, etc. For these people, the fluffy definition of GPP may apply ... their "sport" is "life". And they need to up the general qualities to do "life stuff". And just doing the regular life stuff won't get you much better at it ... you'll adapt and plateu (no overload) ... and then you're stuck ... aching everytime you lift your son or daughter.

Now, for an office worker (who never does anything remotely physical), pounding away with a variety of implements (including the kitchen sink) will be beneficial -- I think. But it isn't the only thing. Getting strong is going to need to be a large percent of the training work. But remember Dave Tate's Education of a Powerlifter (or so) series. The first thing the newbie did ... was GPP work ... building up the capacity to do the work needed to be a powerlifter.

As to the difference in implements ... barbells and dumbbells have a certain center of gravity and a certain amount of stability. Fill a keg with water and its center of gravity will move around while you clean or jerk it ... different than a barbell.

Grab a sand bag. Rip it off the floor ... the slack in the bag will do ... weird ... things. Jerk it ... diffent slack. The sandbag is fairly stable ... but the gripping portion makes it unstable. The keg is pretty unstable but you can get a constant grip on it. With a barbell you have a good grip and it doesn't shift on you.

Should you do all of these every day? You know ...

Monday: Kettlebell C+P
Tuesday: Barbell C+P
Wednesday: Dumbbell C+P
Thursday: Keg C+P
Friday: Sandbag C+P

Well, maybe not ... but on second thought, I bet you'd be a damn beast if this was all you did for several weeks.

Humm, to quote a wise man, try it and see what happens.


PS Since I only have the barbell (no heavy dumbells, etc) I can't do this right away. I do use sandbags at a friends place once a week. Got a keg I need to clean out and fill with water ... darn welding. I'll get back to you when I can try this :slightly_smiling: ... kettlebells are too expensive though!


If you look in my "My gym pics" thread, you'll see two racks, a 3" 7' bar, 2" curling bar, oly bars, dip station as well as sandbags, kegs and a sled. Outside I have atlas stones, farmers walk handles, flipping tires and a harness to pull vehicles.

Guess what we do with this stuff?

Have FUN, that's what.

So you never got a little bored and thought it might be fun to see if you can lift something that "fights back" like a keg or sandbag?

Too bad for you!

I suppose if I ditched the BIG THREE and sold all my weights, it'd be extreme but what's wrong with having a little odd object fun at the end of a workout?


If you have the guts out of the keg, you can get a 2" pool plug at a pool supply store for a couple of bucks. It's got a wingnut to tighten it up and we drop ours from over 7 feet (to grass) and it stays put even filled with water.


Apocalyspe? Far from it, that is exactly what i visualize in my Utopia. Each and every gym in old factories, abandoned warehouses, and garages all looking like the US airforce gym in colorado; packed to the brim with assorted strongman implements, olympic platforms, EliteFTS racks, and GHRs.


Wideguy, great analogy with the d-bell and Hammer strength machine it does clear stuff up for me. I guess my point is that everything needed for GPP is already in the gym. What got me started was a thread about what kind of sledgehammer you should buy.


That is my point. Why is it too hard for people to do? GPP has been over-defined and over-analyzed. It is anything to improve "general" finess levels. In order to do GPP you do not need to have farming equipment. Anybody can do GPP work. All you need to do is assert effort over a small to moderate period of time and increase the workload each time you perform it right? It can be anything from yardwork to doing cleans for high reps or doing a curcuit of chin's, reverse hyper's, walking lunges and pushups for 15 minutes. It could also be walking on a treadmill at 3mph's for 15 minutes.

If it is based on fitness levels then walking is GPP if that all the guy can do. The next session maybe he will walk for 17 minutes. Why isn't that GPP. Does GPP have to involve weights at all? It doesn't have to be specific because it is"general".

Is running, biking, swimming just cardio, but if you stand still and lift something over your head for x amount of time or reps it's GPP? Back in high school when I roofed all summer and showed up for double sessions, I was in terrible shape. When I played in college and didn't have to roof so much I came in with much better conditioning from working out in the gym. I am trying to figure out why GPP is any different then conditioning, or being in shape.