G.P.P. stands for "General Physical Preparedness", while S.P.P. stands for "Special Physical Preparedness". Both of these elements are vital for training towards any performance goal.
General Physical Preparedness (GPP) can be identified as an athletes ability to jump in to any random exercise and perform well. I like to think of it as "An athletes ability to be physically prepared for any exercise". You can think of this as a combination of Strength, Agility, Quickness, and Endurance. How prepared are you to take on a random physical challenge? That is the question of GPP. Cross fit and Strongman are two perfect examples, only Cross fit would be more endurance and Strongman would be require more strength. They select completely random and unrelated exercises for high volumes. Some of the exercises and events may even be completely new to the athletes! For this reason, cross fit itself as a sport requires a much higher level of GPP than say Power-lifting. In Power-lifting, the events and what is required of the athlete is much more specific: Squat, Bench, and Dead lift for a 1 rep Maximum. This is where S.P.P. comes in.
Special Physical Preparedness can be described as "An athletes ability to perform a specific movement or series of movements". Using the words in the definition, "An Athletes physical preparedness for specific movements or series of movements". How prepared are you to take on a specific event or movement in your sport? That is the question SPP asks. Certain sports require more S.P.P. than others, such as power lifting as i explained above. S.P.P. definitely still requires strength, but i view it as mostly having good form and technique towards the specific movement required of an athlete in competition.
An athlete can have high levels of GPP while having low levels of SPP, and Vice versa. For example, a Cross fitter who has great GPP may have poor SPP with a certain event in their competition by using poor technique and form, the muscles required for that exercise are weak areas, or they are imply not used to or comfortable with the movement.
On the other hand, an athlete may have great SPP and lack GPP. This could be a quarterback, who is very good at throwing the football and has decent feet, but lacks strength and conditioning. Good for him, he can throw the ball. But in football, the game is very random. You need to be physically prepared to do random movements to avoid tacklers and scramble out of the pocket. Same in basketball. You could have a great shooter who can make 3 pointers all day, but can he move around? is he fast and agile? Does he have Strength and Endurance? How well can he handle a random physical challenge?
Now that you understand GPP and SPP, the next important question to ask is, "Where are YOU the weakest?". In order to become a more well-rounded athlete, you need to work on your weaknesses.
To improve GPP:
1. Think hard about your sport. What movements are you likely to do? Study Speed and Agility workouts and start doing them.
2. If you are new to the gym, USE EVERYTHING. Do every exercise in the gym. Build up a well rounded base and don't leave ANY muscles out. Yes, this means you cant skip leg day!
3. Build up your general strength. Strength will help with your endurance: Person A has a max bench of 600 lbs while Person B has a max of 315 lbs. Who can Bench 150 lbs for more repetitions? Strength builds endurance by making everything you do feel easier and lighter.
To Improve SPP:
1. Learn the correct form and technique for the movements required of your sport. If you run, learn proper running bio mechanics. If you are a weightlifter or power lifter, perfect your lifting techniques. If you are a quarterback or a wide receiver, learn the correct way to throw and catch a football. Make sense?
2. Once you learn the correct form, drill the movements. Perform them 2 times a day at low intensities (Morning and Night) to build muscle memory. Once you get to a point you don't even have to think about the movement and it feels natural, you have built the muscle memory.
3. When you do conditioning, do conditioning for your sport! For example, a football player does 4-8 second bursts of high intensity exercise with about 10-30 seconds rest between each play. When you do conditioning or workout, do your work and rest within the same time frame so that your body is used to those bursts of energy and learns how to recover quickly between plays.
So remember, Both GPP and SPP are critical for any sport. First, identify which one you are weakest at. Second, do your research and learn how to train your weakness for your sport. Third, train like a beast and watch yourself improve.
I hope this article helped you further understand GPP and SPP.
Stay tuned for more articles on "Key Training Terms"!