Old Forum Training for GPP, and what is functional?

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Jason Paul

Level 3 Valued Member
I'm in my early 40's, and started on the PM about four months ago, after a long break. About three weeks ago, I moved to the ROP. Now I wonder if the ROP is the right move for me.

I asked here about pressing, because I have a childhood shoulder injury that has always affected my pressing strength (never was able to build much). In that thread, someone asked my goals. I don't really have any - just strength and health, and to look good.

About the same time, there was another thread here asking about a good GPP program. I could relate to the thread. Basically, some of us just want general strength (helping someone move was an example), stability, mobility, flexibility, etc. I do understand that specific goals will get you somewhere faster, but sometimes there isn't really anything specific.

So, I've been thinking about this. I'm no expert, so these are just my layman's thoughts. Basically what exercises might really translate into real-world, functional strength?

First, it seems conditioning is a given, and around here swings are probably the first recommendation. This makes sense to me - good for conditioning, and a very functional movement (hinge) that transfers well.

As far as functional strength, I'm thinking simple displays; picking stuff up (like a couch), putting stuff up on a high shelf, or taking it down, pushing or pulling stuff. Basically moving stuff around.

Deadlifts are obvious.

I wonder about overhead pressing. Rarely do I need to put something like a box overhead (on a shelf, say), and strictly press it. Usually it would be more of a push press or jerk. So, would learning the mechanics of, and strengthening the push press and jerk be more "functional"?

Sometimes if I'm moving something (real world), I may need to be on one foot, reaching around a box to get another, higher box - or something like that. With that in mind, I can see the value of the windmill and the getup (TGU). Both put the upper torso through a range of motion that seems beneficial for this type of real-world task.

Loaded carries are very practical as well. When moving things, I'll usually either carry them at arms length, at my shoulders, or overhead. So, loaded carries in these positions make sense (farmer's walk, carries in the racked position, overhead carries or waiter's walks).

I'm not sure about pushing or pulling, beyond pushing/pulling a car or sled or something.

I also think that doing these exercises with a sandbag would be effective.

The point of this thread isn't necessarily asking for a program (other than wondering out loud if I should be on the ROP). Really, I'm just looking for general thoughts and opinions about GPP for people who aren't "athletes", and what might be good to focus on.

Jason
 

Mark Limbaga

Level 7 Valued Member
Elite Certified Instructor
I use a lot of bodyweight and kbs.. I love doing complexes.. bottom line is treat movement as behavior and eat to look better
 

brian d

Level 5 Valued Member
Excellent thoughts, Jason.  I started with general goals to get stronger, move better, and look better.  Once I got into some of this stuff I developed some more specific goals (I would definitely like to reach the ROP goals of pressing half bodyweight and 200 snatches in 10 minutes).

But for me, goals like that are just goals for the sake of goals.  There is no reason for me to hit them.  I will get stronger, and perhaps move and look better, but how do they really transfer into the real world where I'm just a guy who has a desk job, loves to read books, work with horses, and spend time with his wife?  I don't know.  I do think you are right that I'll never have to press half my bodyweight with one hand.  But I think following a program like that for however long it takes leads just as much mental strength as physical.

Sill, I might not make it, and I might change my mind on what I'm after.  That would be fine by me.  But back to your question on what would be a good approach for everyday strength?  I totally agree with you on the deadlift.  Perhaps the best carryover to life of any lift.  And it made me think of the Tactical Strength Challenge.

Max deadlift

Max reps of pullups

Max number of snatches in 5 minutes

You've got a barbell move, a bodyweight move, and a kettlebell move.  One is max strength, one is relative strength, and one is endurance strength (although if it were up to me the snatch test would be 10 minutes. Yes, the 5 is already ridiculously hard, but if we're testing for endurance, we can make people endure just a little bit more).

From where I sit right now in terms of strength and desires, I think working on those three main lifts, throwing in some getups for warmups and on off days and then some weighted carries as finishers, I would probably be pretty set for whatever my life called for.

But I also really like clean and presses.  I've just started doing them with double bells in an effort to gain weight and they are really fun.  So for now I will keep with the pressing, but I could see myself doing TSC type training for a very long time.  And I never really thought of that before, so thanks for asking your question. And I hope you get some ideas for how to make your training fit with your life and be as fun as possible. If you take a break from the ROP, I'll be curious to hear what you choose to do.  Who knows, maybe I'll copy you.

 
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Really, I’m just looking for general thoughts and opinions about GPP for people who aren’t “athletes”, and what might be good to focus on.
Interesting topic. I wrote a blog post on one of my blogs on this subject (the "function" fitness trend, lack of specific goals for non-athletes, etc), and my conclusions were that the issue is not so much "functional", but what one chooses to value or what one enjoys.

There is a minimum level of mobility and strength that I think is truly necessary for people to possess, and that is covered by basic calisthenics. After that, it is what one chooses. 

Unless you are training for a specific purpose, then the training you do is not specifically functional at all. As long as it does not interfere, it is good, even if you do not use that strength in the "real world".

As for overhead presses, a strict press covers the function of the shoulder, so even if one does not strictly press overhead, the training movement will cover the ability to lift things in a less strict manner.
First, it seems conditioning is a given, and around here swings are probably the first recommendation. This makes sense to me – good for conditioning, and a very functional movement (hinge) that transfers well.
Conditioning really is not something you can change much, and any gains are quickly attained and quickly lost. You are better off focusing on strength, and everything else will follow (in a general sense). Hinges, for me, do not seem to have a major real world application. I know the SF community makes a big deal about them, and with good reason, it is a very important movement, one which is deficient in most of the population, and it has very important athletic performance importance, but in reality, we rarely hinge much to that degree. I find squats to be more "real world" in use.

You'll find that the "real world" actually does support a rather sedentary population, so the "functional" training for it is minimal, as long as one is mobile and healthy.
 

Steve Freides

Staff
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Jason, overhead pressing is about much more than putting boxes up on shelves.  Particularly as we do it at StrongFirst, it's about stabilizing your body underneath an asymmetrical load, and being able to do that is something with lots of carryover.

Dan wrote a great piece about the barbell overhead squat - it was the first thing of his I read, and he used the words "Daddy strength" to describe the functional, real world, pick up a car engine, kind of strength the barbell overhead squat can foster.   Much the same could be said of the kettlebell press, which has more additional benefits than I have time to list - if you're looking for a complete, functional program, the ROP is an excellent, excellent choice with low entry requirements and it's tough to beat.  The only thing you could consider is getting barbell deadlifts in there somehow, and there are many ways to accomplish that, e.g., sub it in for some of the swings or snatches in the ROP, cycle PTTP deadlifts in two-week cycles w/ the ROP, etc.

-S-
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Jason, overhead pressing is about much more than putting boxes up on shelves.
100% agree. I believe a person can be truly strong only by picking up weights and pressing them overhead. Nothing else is required (assuming an active lifestyle otherwise...no idea what would happen if this is all one did).
it’s about stabilizing your body underneath an asymmetrical load, and being able to do that is something with lots of carryover.
Hand balancing has a similar effect. The total body stability and shoulder stability results in a truly strong body for almost all occasions. If one can pick up heavy weights and press them overhead, then one's body is prepared for everything lower than that.

(That is not StrongFirst in particular...everyone does it that way, even Olympic weightlifters who only compete in two two handed lifts do have one armed feats of strength recorded)

 
 

brian d

Level 5 Valued Member
Excellent points on the overhead press Steve and HerrMannelig.  I know the first time I pressed my 32kg bell it was shocking to me how much my whole body was involved.  I knew this in principle, as I had been pressing with full body tension for a while, but it was not until the weight got truly heavy (for me) that it became abundantly clear.

But what do you guys think about a GPP type of fitness that does not include overhead pressing?  I believe Jason was also asking this because of his own limitations due to an old shoulder injury.  If a shoulder cannot take something like ROP, then where would you go next?  I think an easy strength approach with the rule of 10 reps might be nice, but I imagine some shoulders can't even take that for one reason or another.  I think it is an interesting question.
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
But what do you guys think about a GPP type of fitness that does not include overhead pressing?  I believe Jason was also asking this because of his own limitations due to an old shoulder injury.  If a shoulder cannot take something like ROP, then where would you go next?  I think an easy strength approach with the rule of 10 reps might be nice, but I imagine some shoulders can’t even take that for one reason or another.  I think it is an interesting question.
Well, for GPP, the requirements are minimal, just healthy movement. Squats, pushups, planks, lunges, and maybe some sort of bridging. The actual physical demands for most people are quite low and one can do well with just mobility and light exercises.

If one wanted more, it is more based on what one wants. Consider that the training for most armed forces personnel does not get much beyond pushups, maybe pullups, and running, we do not need to hold ourselves to high standards if we do not want to.

If one were unable to do overhead pressing, I would suggest pushups, and maybe hand balancing, if the "pressing" part if the problem, not the holding weight overhead.
 

Jason Paul

Level 3 Valued Member
Thanks for the replies.

Yes, one of the reasons I'm unsure about pressing (for me) is an old shoulder injury. I'm OK where I am right now in ROP;  just moving into 5 x (1,2,3,4) ladders with the 16kg. Today will be my first 4-rung ladder. No pain yet. I'm just thinking ahead to the higher volume and moving to the 24kg, and how that may affect my shoulder.

The pain is somewhat sporadic, and when it's there, it's usually in the early to mid parts of the press. However, I can do overhead holds OK, and push presses and jerks allow me to "skip over" the painful parts of the press.

All that said, I don't mean for this to be all about presses, but I do the the  point of the full-body effects of pressing.

Also, as beneficial as I know they are, I can't do deadlifts at the moment. I don't have a barbell or gym membership, and don't really want either at this time. So, I'll have to make due with the swings and possibly some one-legged deadlifts with the 24kg.
 

Jason Paul

Level 3 Valued Member
Steve - by the way, I remember the exact article you're talking about. It was probably the first of Dan's articles I read too. I remember printing it out about 12-13 years ago! I actually did overhead squats in my workouts for a while after reading it, but life intervened and...

Jason
 

tentigers

Level 3 Valued Member
I think one of the best GPP exercises is the burpee (with pushup of course), then you get a squat, press, jump all in one
 

brian d

Level 5 Valued Member
Well, for GPP, the requirements are minimal, just healthy movement. Squats, pushups, planks, lunges, and maybe some sort of bridging. The actual physical demands for most people are quite low and one can do well with just mobility and light exercises.
Yeah, I think that sounds about right.  I feel like I don't see too many people who are only in that minimal range.  As you pointed out, the general population is well below this.  And I feel like most people who care enough to get to the above state will then find they care about their fitness enough to push further.
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
The pain is somewhat sporadic, and when it’s there, it’s usually in the early to mid parts of the press. However, I can do overhead holds OK, and push presses and jerks allow me to “skip over” the painful parts of the press.
Pain is bad, especially in the shoulder. I would not recommend you try to skip the the painful parts. Any error will potentially cause more pain/injury.

However, overhead holds are very good by themselves. Try simple hand balancing. People have gotten themselves strong and mobile doing that along, plus, if you do press, hand balancing helps with that.

Watch this video for a very good tutorial: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8bX3Q0z-Ec

(That man does only calisthenics, here is a video of some of his training: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZReyXY1Bfzs)
 

Lukas Luko

Level 2 Valued Member
Yes, Hit has got some impressive skills, no doubt. But he has no idea about making training programs. In one of his posts on facebook, he recomended doing 100 pushups, 200 squats and 150 situps if people want to look like him. Mhm hard to believe...

All this street wourkouters have nice skills, but they can't make simple training program. Just my observation.
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Yes, Hit has got some impressive skills, no doubt. But he has no idea about making training programs.
No programming is necessary for handstands. Just practice frequently.
All this street wourkouters have nice skills, but they can’t make simple training program. Just my observation.
For people who train more intuitively, programming is usually very poor, because they go by feel in their own bodies over time. Old time strongmen trained like and many strong people do that. They are usually not the best trainers, beyond teaching a skill. Training is first of all done for oneself, and sometimes, only oneself.

Such training is the root of all programming.

That is probably why that besides tutorials on particular skills, such people release motivational videos instead of programs. They show what is possible, and others can pursue it themselves.
 

Lukas Luko

Level 2 Valued Member
Of course i agree. If they train for oneselfs - it is cool so they should stop giving advice like do hundreds of pushups, sit ups and squats :)
 

HerrMannelig

Level 3 Valued Member
Of course i agree. If they train for oneselfs – it is cool so they should stop giving advice like do hundreds of pushups, sit ups and squats
A post on facebook is not the totality of training advice. Hit's advice goes far more than such a comment.

And that advice sounds like just the initial goals which are attainable without specific skills.

Calisthenics Kingz has the following standard:

5 muscle ups
10 pull ups
6 levers
30 second handstand
20 dips
20 push-ups

In under 3 minutes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqOMQedMSwY

Frank Medrano is a vegan too.
 

charlton13

Level 1 Valued Member
Jason,

I had experienced multiple shoulder dislocations, and thought for sure I would need surgery. I had limited thoracic spine mobility and that was hurting my shoulders. I learned how to take care of my shoulders with many, many light weigh halos. I do them every day and learn a bit more about my range of motion. I also have learned a lot from Grey Cook and the DVD series, Secrets of the Shoulder from the FMS methodology.

That may be a great investment for you. I think it costs about $70. I've borrowed a friends and will be getting my own eventually. Tons of good info to review again, and again.

Good luck, take care.
 

Lukas Luko

Level 2 Valued Member
Hit quote "I DON'T STOP WHEN I'M TIRED, I STOP WHEN I'M DONE. ALWAYS PUSH YOUR LIMITS TO ACCOMPLISH MORE"

respect for him, but this is not my cup of tea ;) end of topic from me, this is not Hit topic

 
 
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