Why train for general physical preparedness? Here is an interesting postulate: If you are not training that is focused on direct preparation for a specific event, near or far, you are training GPP. Sport Specific Training – SST is when you are training to do your sport. As Track athlete, if you are running it is SST (We could split hairs depending on distance and event), if you are O-Lifting to be stronger, then you are training GPP. GPP's focus is on eliminating weaknesses from athletes and creating people are more prepared to go after their SST goal. GPP is there to build overall general conditioning and minimize weaknesses.
The "Official" GPP theory is, I believe is documented by Sportivny Press's Translation of the eastern bloc texts by Bud Charniga http://www.dynamic-eleiko.com/. The translations are worth the purchase and definitely worth the read. Defining movements as function, intense and variable is really the basis for any GPP program to develop broad athletic skills and the foundation of CrossFit's brand of training.
We apply GPP as a way of making people as healthy and well rounded as their schedule and physical ability allows. We apply GPP as a way of developing general athleticism. We integrate Jim Cawley's 10 General Physical Skills, when we design our classes. Periodically including skills and abilities that go beyond regularly accepted training modalities and include hand stands, forward rolls, Kettlebell juggling, and others which exposes people to situations they learn to adapt to, overcome and thrive at. These esoteric items usually never make our class WOD, they do end up in the warm-up/warm-down or skill/lifting sections of our classes. Notice, a clear delineation between WOD and class: WOD is a subset of class and only a portion of the training. Classes should encompass as many of the 10 general skills as well as developing work capacity and strength. Given a class is an hour long that is a tall order. Many movements incorporate and have aspects of the general physical skills but do not fit into a WOD. The Turkish get up is a great movement for flexibility, balance and coordination but really doesn't fit into a timed or scored evolution.
Skill in programming for GPP really comes from planned exposure to diverse movement patterns over time. For instance, how often can you program snatch skill transfer exercises in relation to the number of times a snatch falls into your WOD? The real movement patterns of the WOD are always major multi-joint, multi-plane activities that are either task orientation or time orientation. GPP application in devoting a segment of the allotted training time to something many people may not feel comfortable with, hand stand. How often, before or after WOD to should you expose your client base to hand stand skill development?
Small exposures to difficult skills or training modalities go a long way to help people be more athletic. The key variable for people to be successful in a GPP program, or any program for that matter, is consistent exposure to training. If you are not consistent, the there is no amount of skill, technique or intensity that will get you results.
Speaking of results, if your GGP potential is approaching your genetic potential for work, then the normal results people are looking for from their fitness program are already present. The difference is, focusing on shallow superficial goals are not as strong as the desire to succeed that it present in our clientele. The real bonus to a broad GPP program for our clients is they do not lose normal physical abilities that time and sedentary lifestyle conspire to take from them. Will Big Mama P do a hand stand? Never. Does she benefit from doing an Icky shuffle help her retain her movement abilities? Yes. If an ability or skill is not periodically refreshed, then it will deteriorate. A good GPP program hits and includes skills to prevent the loss of the ability to move over time.