My 2x GPP fitness daily workouts (for FREE!)

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my affiliate disclaimer for more information.

When I pivoted away from purely chasing strength a couple of years ago I found the best way to incorporate cardio was through extra GPP fitness workouts done daily alongside my usual resistance training. Hitting the gym every day in some form is AWESOME for both my physical health (my cardio endurance has improved drastically) but also mental health too – getting a break from screens and work is always welcome!

If you’re interested in adding regular GPP orientated routines to compliment your strength training then this article is aimed squarely at you!

GPP fitness daily workouts: 2x FREE examples!

At a glance…

  • GPP stands for general physical preparedness
  • GPP days therefore aim to increase your GENERAL fitness and will likely be very different to your SPECIFIC training goals you are pursuing
  • For example powerlifters train SPECIFICALLY for a big squat/bench/deadlift total, but may program cardio on their GENERAL days so they meet or exceed the current physical activity guidelines
  • As it is general training feel free to be flexible with timings and exercise selection
  • I personally like to mix cardio with arms and ab work as you can find in my free GPP daily workouts below…

What is GPP in the context of weightlifting, CrossFit or general fitness?

GPP is the abbreviation for general physical preparedness. Your GPP is your ability to do something non-specific and it usually fits in around SPECIFIC physical preparedness training – for example powerlifters who SPECIFICALLY train squat/bench/deadlift may use their GPP training to hit the rowing machine to build their cardio ability. This cardio is GENERAL in the context of their powerlifting ambitions as it doesn’t build a S/B/D total. On the other end of the spectrum marathon runners tracking runs most days may use their GPP days to hit the weight room. The commonality here is that the GPP ‘fills the gaps’ that the SPECIFIC training leaves.

In most cases GPP training is very much subordinate to the primary training regime. This means mentally a powerlifter will REALLY want to train their squat but will typically be more willing to compromise their GPP minutes. I know I was. In other words if you are short of time it is often GPP that will be dropped first!

That is NOT to say it’s not important – quite the opposite – but just that GPP training usually fits around your other training goals.

Why should you bother doing GPP workouts?

GPP can seem like a luxury – but I would highly recommend giving them a serious go. They really do contribute to a successful training regime as they allow us to:

  1. Pursue secondary goals – marathon runners might want to look jacked, and powerlifters might want huge biceps. GPP days give us a bit of wiggle room to pursue a secondary goal alongside what we prioritise in our regular training.
  2. Be more useful – GPP is by its nature GENERAL. If your buddy wants to go for a run, a cycle, a game of football or hit a PR deadlift it’s pretty awesome to be able to join in at reasonably short notice and not embarrass yourself. GPP is really the foundation of an ‘active lifestyle’ (excuse the cliche!)
  3. Improve weaknesses – personally I find I need a bit more tricep work than I can currently fit in to my regular training. GPP days give me an opportunity to hit them more frequently as they are an area I personally need to bring up to improve my GENERAL lifting success
  4. Live longer – dramatic headline, but it is true. Many – including myself – become so focused on weightlifting that we forget the importance for our health of getting the cardio minutes in.
  5. Active recovery – when I’m feeling beaten up after a week of heavy training jumping on the airbike can be tough. BUT once I’m up and running the light intensity steady state cardio does wonders for getting the blood flowing, warming up the joints and generally blowing away the stiffness. This active recovery has been really important to me as I ramped up training volume and frequency.
  6. Injury prevention or rehab – doing the same thing over and over is fine, but sometimes we get injured or want to do something a LITTLE differently. Having a good GPP base typically means we have tried out a bunch of different training modalities and therefore are LESS likely to injure ourselves out of the blue. If injured then using your GPP days to build up volume or range of motion can be invaluable to make sure you get back to full strength as soon as practical.

Personally I don’t view deloads or working back up to full strength as part of a typical GPP routine as in my experience I have tied those in to my primary training routines. In those situations I remind myself of the GENERAL in GPP – if we are aiming to build back towards SPECIFIC goals then I would class that as part of my primary training.

How often should you do GPP?

The amount of time you can dedicate to GPP will depend on your own schedule. By its nature GPP is general and therefore we could ALWAYS be doing SOMETHING to build it – walking the dog, hitting intervals on the stationary bike, kettlebell swings, pushups – all of these moves could be considered GPP depending on your other goals

That said, overall we should aim to AT LEAST meet the the current physical activity guidelines over all of our training (GPP and regular). The guidelines are:

  1. 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, OR
  2. 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic physical activity, AND
  3. 2 or more days per week of moderate to high intensity resistance training over all muscle groups

This means for me – someone focused on lifting weights – my GPP is really focusing on hitting points 1 and 2. I split up cardio in to 30-50 minute blocks and generally do these 3 times a week on non-lifting days.

For others – the fictional marathon trainee I keep references, for example – their GPP may be focusing on point 3.

How do you program a GPP workout?

As per above, the current physical guidelines are as follows:

  1. 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, OR
  2. 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic physical activity, AND
  3. 2 or more days per week of moderate to high intensity resistance training over all muscle groups

We should therefore program our GPP days with the following priorities:

  1. Meeting or exceeding the physical activity guidelines above. That will LIKELY be cardio focused now weightlifters and weightlifting focused for cardio trainees!
  2. Improving weaknesses – as noted earlier I hit triceps on my GPP days to support my [primary training] bench press. I find the extra volume really helps keep my bench flat or slightly improving when I’m dropping body fat. Without the volume I find my strength drops more quickly.
  3. Pursue secondary goals – hypertrophy and aesthetics are important to me, but secondary to overall fitness and strength at the moment. GPP days give me the opportunity to bodybuild a little, primarily through supersets and drop sets on arms and delts.
  4. Injury rehab – if you’re carrying an injury then GPP days can be a great place to carve out the time to tend to it. For example I had a rear delt injury several years ago that I rehabbed successfully by doing ALL the rear delt flies!
  5. Flexibility – adding ever-more days to your workouts (even if done in a home gym) can drain time from other hobbies and commitments. I found that NOT beating myself up about missing the odd day here or there really made it more fun. I’m pretty strict with my PRIMARY training, but if I need to drop a GENERAL day to do something with the family or just because the weather is awesome then I have accepted that. Similarly acknowledging that some times you will carry some more fatigue from your main training which might affect your GPP performance is great – I don’t think it’s possible to CONSTANTLY chase incremental improvements in your chosen GPP exercises
  6. Variety – if you do the same thing over and over GENERAL will become SPECIFIC training. Instead of doing 30 minutes on the rower maybe jump on the stationary bike. Like dips? Why not try tricep extensions. There is a balance to be had – change for changes sake is not good – but don’t be afraid of being a lot more flexible in your GPP fitness daily routines!

Following this approach and format you will be able to build a compelling GPP routine of your own. 

Try one: 2x FREE gpp fitness daily workouts

If you’re looking to hit a fitness workout every day try cycling these two GPP days in to your week around resistance training. You can mix and match to suit your goals – I like to do 4x a week resistance training and 3x GPP days choosing between the sessions below to suit how I feel that day:

Workout 1 – Endurance, abs and biceps

My personal favourite and a regular “go to” for me is this simple but effective endurance and arm GPP day:

  1. 35 minutes steady-state cardio at around 65% – 75% maximum heart rate. You can pick your cardio modality of choice here (after all it is a non-specific GPP day!) For me I like to go with an airbike and use a heart rate monitor to keep myself in the right approximate zone. If starting out you might need to build up gradually to the 35 minutes. Start with 20 minutes and add 5 minutes every week or two.
  2. Toes to bar – using my chin up bar I do 2-3 sets of 10-15 reps of toes to bar. Try focus on keeping the pace controlled and deliberate initially but a few ‘cheat’ reps at the end of your set can really help give you the burning sensation of a tough workout! Superset these with the ab wheel rollouts to smash your abs quickly!
  3. Ab wheel rollouts – another ab exercise, I do 2-3 sets of 10-25 reps. If new to ab wheels start your rollouts from a kneeling position, gradually progressing to standing rollouts. From kneeling position you will get a LOT more reps in compared to standing!
  4. Arm blaster EZ bar curls – in my regular training routine I hit a lot of dumbbell curls so for GPP days I mix it up with an EZ bar curl. I find for higher volume the EZ curl is quite comfortable to use thus my preference for it over a straight bar. I knock out 2-3 sets of 8 – 20 reps and vary the weight depending on the mood of the day. Take each set to around failure and SQUEEZE at the top of the rep for the best pump.
  5. Arm blaster REVERSE EZ bar curls – super-setting with the regular EZ bar curls I do reverse curls to get a bit more forearm training in. It’s quite an easy movement to add in and hits the muscles in the forearm / lower upper arm rarely targeted in regular training.

I find the additional arm volume helps develop the biceps and upper arms. Within my regular routine I have a couple of arm slots already so by including more bicep work within my GPP training I’m hitting them at least 3x a week which seems to work well for growth in my experience.

Abs are something I typically shy away from simply because I find it boring – generally if I find something dull it’s because I’m not good at it, so all the more reason to try and improve! I take the ‘little and often’ approach and throw in a couple of ab moves in to this GPP day to keep the volume up without it becoming monotonous.

Workout 2 – Intervals, chest and triceps

Another common template I follow is to train higher intensity intervals along with triceps:

  1. 20 – 30 minutes of high intensity interval training (HIIT) – you are welcome to substitute in a format that suits your fitness and goals but an easy way to start is with 30s on / 1:30 off for 7 – 10 rounds. Add in a 5 minute warm up and down. To tweak this you can adjust the interval UP for ENDURANCE, or REDUCE the rest for STAMINA. There is much more to it than that, but it’s an easy place to start for a simple GPP workout
  2. Dips with weighted vest – I find doing weighted dips with a very deliberate lockout (brief pause at top) really pumps my triceps up. Start with bodyweight until you’re easily repping 20+ per set then taper up the weight. Typically I do 5 sets increasing the weight each week until I max out my weighted vest then I repeat the cycle again aiming for more reps at each weight.
  3. Press-ups with weighted vest – using a set of low parallettes I get a phenomenal chest pump from weighted press ups with no wrist discomfort. I superset this with the dips above and again aim for as many reps as I can for around 5 sets. The parallettes mean I can get an incredible stretch at the bottom of the movement. Alter your grip position for each set for that extra pump!

I really enjoy this GPP routine for the pump – tons of reps on the triceps and chest really boosts the ego! A really satisfying general training day that massively helps both arm hypertrophy (my triceps don’t seem to grow as much from pressing, as I use a wider grip that is more belt and chest dominant in those moves) as well as transferrable strength (bench presses moving a bit smoother throughout the chest/tricep transfer).

Personally I use tall and short parallettes for this routine but you may have alternative ways of dipping or pressing in your home gym set up.

Why I like these daily routines

Building on the guidance above these routines give me solid minutes of weekly cardio under my belt without turning in to marathon sessions. I settled on the mix of LISS and HIIT for my GPP sessions as I find it transfers both to team sports (such as football) which I occasionally play (less so these days) and also cycling.

The secondary exercises to hit arms and abs are focused on weak points in my resistance training program – slotting these in during a GPP day helps me keep developing evenly. It’s also easier to carve time out for these GPP days when you know there’s a bit of arm work included!

BEWARE: Too much GPP volume can kill [your recovery]

Adding too many exercises to my daily GPP fitness workouts I find creates a bit of havoc and interferes with recovery. I’d rather have a slightly shorter, sharper, focused session than meander through 10 exercises. I prefer to keep the sessions to a solid 50 – 60 minutes.

If you’re moving towards exercising every day then tapering up your activity level over time is important. You can do this with frequency (e.g move from 3 days a week to 4, then to 5, then to 6 and finally 7 over a number of months) or by volume. Instead of 3x 3hr sessions you could move to 5x 45 minutes. 

Keeping your daily GPP workouts shorter will let you add MORE of them in while still recovering. For me the frequency is important (I like the mental break that working out gives me in the day) so I would rather have ‘more’ rather than ‘longer’ sessions.

If you overstretch yourself you may find lingering soreness and lack of motivation to keep training. It can sneak up suddenly OR build slowly over time – so always err on the side of caution and increase frequency and volume SLOWLY. Personally I’ve found this particularly acute when adding in HIIT training which seems to knock my recovery more heavily, so if you are a GPP-beginner I would start with LISS cardio.

Conclusion

I’ve shared my two favourite daily GPP fitness routines above outlining why I like them so much. Noting what I said about GPP at the start of this post it is worth remembering to BE FLEXIBLE with your GPP days. In other words, feel free to butcher my fitness routines to fit your needs!

Also remember that routine can be a killer for some of us – so mix and match or substitute other exercises regularly in that you prefer. Use the above as a framework and tinker with one variable at a time to see if you like it. As a framework it is a great base to build up a daily fitness routine on!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll to Top