People who are supremely fit can be very inspiring. Just look at the number of social media followers they have. Fit people can look like permanently airbrushed Greek Gods and Goddesses. Not to mention how easy they make working out look! However, supremely fit people can also be un-motivating to some. Their status is unachievable. How can you reach those levels of fitness? The truth is, we don’t know. But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try. The chances are that most of us can achieve a high level of fitness with a physique to match. Here, I use my knowledge of strength and conditioning along with years of personal training experience to highlight why we all need to get hours of training under our belts.
Repetition. And More Repetition. The power of practice
Many people marvel at the ease and grace of professional athletes. Obvious examples include Roger Federer in tennis and Lionel Messi playing football. Sure enough, these individuals have been blessed with a body type, physiological make up and mind set to excel at the highest level. However, these blessings count for nothing without practice. By the time we see the likes or Federer and Messi, they’ve accumulated tens of thousands of hours practice. Thousands upon thousands of perfect repetitions. Eradicating errors and refining technique to produce seamless, effortless and efficient movement skills. During this time, they build strong muscle memories, that allow them to complete the skills without thinking.
The same is true of fitness / strength and conditioning. You can’t jump from the sofa one day and start lifting like a olympian the next. Movements, muscles and fitness take time to develop. If you fail to respect this then you are setting yourself up to fail. Dive into a programme that is too advanced or too heavy too soon and you won’t realise your potential. Worse still, you run the risk of injury. Technique is king, even in something as supposedly simple as lifting weights! Everyone must serve their apprenticeship. In the world of strength and conditioning as well as fitness training this is known as the General Preparatory Phase (GPP).
You Down with GPP in Strength and Conditioning?
The GPP is significant period of time devoted to developing the basic physical capacities that underpin performance. Regardless of your sport or where you want your fitness to end up, most people need similar GPP content. Resistance training to develop strength in major movement patterns, mobility training and endurance are all common components of the GPP programme. Movements are basic and volume tends to be moderate to high. For example, getting plenty of squats under your belt will undoubtedly help you develop your Olympic lifting. Think of GPP as basic training in the military or the foundations of a house. It’s the work upon which your specialist skills are built.
Generally speaking, the broader and more comprehensive your GPP period, the greater your potential gains in fitness and performance. Think of this as pyramid – the broader the base, the higher a potential peak. Resist the temptation to go too hard too early or too specialised too early.