View Full Version : Strength Gains with GPP?

03-03-2006, 10:58 AM
I figured I'd pose this question to some of the members who are more familiar with Crossfit as well as other things pertaining to GPP. Before anybody comes in here and says something about a 5x5 being the best option, or westside being king for strength, don't bother, as this isn't a question of what is the best way to gain strength. I simply would like opinions on whether or not you feel you can gain strength by following solely Crossfit principles, or other GPP related things like Sledgehammer Swings, Plate Tosses, Sled Pulling, Kettlebells etc etc. I'm at a point now where I think my GPP lags slightly with what I want to do competitively, so I'm looking to increase my physical preparedness (sp?) level, though I'm wondering if it may be possible for me to improve strength a bit as well. I would think a split based solely off GPP work (CF included) would be an ideal split for me to use based on my grappling endeavors. Any thoughts or comments are welcome.

03-03-2006, 11:06 AM
Most people have very poor GPP. We tend to start SPP long before we build a good foundation, which is kinda backwards. Build the base, then expand.

Having said that, what are you using to measure strength? Squat, deadlift, bench? A good GPP program will train all of those, but if you're a competitive powerlifter peaking in strength, dropping the SPP and focusing on GPP will probably result in lower squat/bench/deadlift numbers, although functional strength in other areas (on the mat) would certainly increase.

The real question is, how much will a big bench help your game VS your ability to drag/throw/carry a 200lbs sandbag until you puke?

03-03-2006, 11:10 AM
Kind of tough to pin down your question exactly...

Can GPP help your strength gains? Yes, of course.

Will GPP work improve my, for example, squat, bench, or deadlift? Yes, but not directly.

Would GPP work be more "sport specific" for grappling? Maybe.

My personal opinion is, that at your current strength levels, GPP is not the only weak link. You could do a lot of GPP work and it would probably help your lifts, but probably not as much as just busting a** on the main lifts would. I'd have to see you in a wrestling match to form an opinion of whether GPP work or just heavy lifting is what you needed.

edit: let me be clear that when I say "GPP", I'm using it as the OP - Crossfit, strongman-type lifts, etc.

03-03-2006, 11:55 AM
I should've been more specific, and had intentions of stating that I was referring more towards functional strength than increasing the big 3. I realize that in a powerlifting world, GPP would likely not be a good choice as a foundation for your lifts, but in a more grappling centered universe, do ya'll believe GPP could increase my functional strength level? I've always wondered about GPP "lifts" especially when I grapple with some of the farmers and country boys we get coming into the studio. Most of these guys don't follow a weight program, but toss 100lbs bags of oats, hay bales, shovel **** and dirt all day, and are tremendously strong. I know it's probably flawed to follow that logic, but that is what caused me to think of this question. I also enjoy many of the CF, strongman and straight GPP related lifts/exercises, and find those sessions to be very intense, but fun in a way.

Anthony, at the end of your statement, you posed a question about what would help me game more. Right away I said that being able to drag, throw, carry all sorts of heavy **** would help my game more than just being able to have a big bench (though I realize this was just an example). What are your thoughts, and what do you feel would benefit a grappler's game more? I ask this question specifically to you, as you've done both a pure strength, and a more GPP related split, as well as grappled a good bit.

03-03-2006, 12:14 PM
GPP will definitely increase your functional strength for grappling. But keep in mind that GPP doesn't have to be all sled dragging and sandbag throwing. GPP can also include squats, deadlifts, overhead presses, etc. It's such a broad term that you can't really exclude anything. In fact, the more you include, the better.

Farmers are practically the kings of GPP, so it makes total sense that you feel their strength on the mat. Look at Matt Hughes and Kelly Moore. They may not have the strongest <insert whatever lift you want> in the world, but I don't think anyone can question their functional strength in real world situations. Their "training" involves the entire body. Work it as a unit and that translates VERY well into situations where physical contact is involved. Show me a grappling match where you weren't using every muscle in your body at once. Not every second, but you know as well as I do that when someone tries to throw you off mount, your entire body tenses. That's unit strength.

Hell yeah the sandbag example is 1000x better for grappling than a big bench. I firmly believe a strong GPP program will benefit a grappler more than a traditional weightlifting program, but that doesn't mean you can't include aspects of weightlifting.

My bottomline? If I didn't have access to a gym and traditional weights, I have NO DOUBT that my strength/conditioning would continue to improve with GPP done with nothing but sandbags/sleds/sledgehammers. I may not hit bench PRs, but my functional strength on the mat would go through the roof.

03-03-2006, 12:17 PM
GPP = All exercise - SPP.

If you sport is powerlifting, GPP = Everything - Big 3 training.
If your sport is grappling, GPP = Everything - grappling training.

03-03-2006, 01:30 PM
Thanks for the input guys. I'm thinking about starting a split that focuses on a GPP approach as opposed to a traditional weightlifting approach. Obviously some days I'll end up in the gym doing some type of dead, squat or press, but I believe my main focus at least for the next several months (or as long as I can stand not doing a traditional approach) will be on improving my functional strength. I've got several ideas and questions that I'd like to discuss with ya Anthony, if you ever decide to get on MSN again. I guess Jodi took away your instant messenger privileges.

03-03-2006, 01:43 PM
I agree with everything said above. Although not a fighter or grappler, over the summer i worked at a lumber yard, and not only did i find myself becoming stronger in the gym, i also found myself being faster, more dexterous and with quicker response times in everyday stuff and even when i was moving furniture and appliances, it was much easier than before. Not too sure if this helps you at all, but i'd say ur on the right track if u choose to do a gpp centred program for grappling.


03-06-2006, 11:37 AM
Hey chubs lets not keep these questions secret, eventhough they may be very specific to you, id like to see what you guys come up with.

03-06-2006, 11:44 AM
I'll post up what the exact split will look like when I iron out all the details. I really wish we could get a GPP or Crossfit section of the forum added. Maybe some of the more influential members *cough* Mix, Anthony *cough* could talk with Daniel and get him to add this in.

03-06-2006, 02:25 PM
I think a "Strength Training for Sports" would be an interesting forum. There's already a Crossfit forum at, surprisingly enough, Crossfit.com... I think a "fitness" forum more or less covers what is considered "GPP".

03-06-2006, 03:51 PM
The idea of a GPP forum has been brought up and is being discussed. I can't promise anything, but I agree that it would be a good place to discuss other forums of training (plyometrics, hiit, gpp, etc). We'll see what Daniel decides.

03-09-2006, 07:18 AM
I like the idea of a GPP/Fitness specific forum. Then that will leave one specific for BBn and take some of the clutter out.