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Your Complete Guide to Unconventional Physical Fitness

5 Keys to General Physical Fitness

February 13, 2015
Updated April 11, 2018
Category: Fitness

Your ability to perform on any given day is measured by your preparedness; this one element will determine your fitness level and overall work capacity. You can achieve a proper level of preparedness by increasing your ability to work through progressions.

The Purpose of Physical Fitness

Onnit Kettlebell Starter KitGeneral Physical Preparedness (GPP) or what I call “physical fitness” is the ability to apply work over a period of time with a goal of improving your quality of movement.

During this time your primary focus should be improving mobility and progressively enhancing work capacity. GPP improves all aspects of your physical fitness:

  • Cardiovascular fitness
  • Flexibility
  • Strength
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Dynamic strength

The demands of an athlete will be different from person to person. During a GPP phase of training for an athlete (if the athlete has maintained a good level of  physical fitness throughout the season), the goal will be maintenance and restoration.

Many tend to overlook progression and immediately demand an end result, but it doesn’t work that way. People need to understand that adaptation will occur with time. Think about any Martial Art; how many of you would approach your Instructor/Sensei and demand a black belt right off the bat? Training demands the same respect.

An Unconventional Approach Towards Physical Fitness

Your Complete Guide to Unconventional Physical Fitness

The goal is to improve your quality of movement and progressively enhance work capacity, which is why keeping the intensity at a low to moderate capacity is important. Applying primary movements like the squat/hinge/pull/push along with the secondary movements like the swing, clean, and loaded carries will improve your overall work capacity because they require your body to move as a single unit.

Our bodies are designed to move through multiple planes at one time. The focus is not on aesthetics, and only applying primary lifts like the Squat, Deadlift, and Military Press are not enough. The goal is to incorporate a variety of implements that will help you perform injury-free.

Physical Fitness Key #1: Don’t Overlook Bodyweight Movement

For many, bodyweight movements tend to be overlooked and underrated! This is a BIG PROBLEM! Improving mechanics and technique prevents injury, and added volume is our best friend. Working with your bodyweight enhances your midline, strengthens and stabilizes your shoulders and hips. This helps build a strong structural base and helps build anaerobic endurance, allowing you to continuously be efficient and functional.

Physical Fitness Key #2:  Utilize Unconventional Implements

The Kettlebell, Steel Mace, Steel Club, Battle Rope, Sandbag, Medicine Ball, Battle Rings (suspension) will definitely help you spot your weaknesses. Utilizing these tools correctly will help develop a strong posterior chain and improve your aerobic capacity. Remember when using these tools have a purpose and direction.

Physical Fitness Key #3: Use Alternative Barbell Exercises

Loaded carries and rotational work are some great examples of movements that can be done along with primary movements like the squat, hinge, push, and pull. Get creative, combine these movements, and perform complexes. Don’t be stagnant!

Physical Fitness Key #4: The Sled is More Useful Than You Think

Whether your purpose it to perform low capacity restoration work or moderate-high capacity strength-power work, the sled will help you get the job done. If you choose to implement this tool, you can program for distance or time.

Physical Fitness Key #5: Use Multiple Set Schemes

If your training purpose is to improve mobility and progressively enhance work capacity, you’ll want to constantly move and minimally rest. Here are four examples of set schemes that you can apply.

Ex. 1

 Type: Circuit 3 rounds x 120 seconds Dual Racked Reverse Lunge 30 sec rest
Exercises: 3-5 3 rounds x 60 seconds Dual KB Swing 30 sec rest
Focus: Durability 3rounds x 90 seconds Farmers Carry 30 sec rest

Ex. 2

 Type: Internal 10 rounds x 30 seconds 30 sec rest
Exercises: 1 Prowler Sprints
Focus: Conditioning

Ex. 3

 Type: Pyramid 1 round x 1,2,3,2,1 Turkish Get Up (R,L)
Exercises: 3-5 1 round x 2,4,8,4,2  Racked Windmill (R,L)
Focus: Conditioning 1 round x 3,6,12,6,3  Push Press (R,L)


Hopefully this article helps you understand what General Physical Preparedness is and how utilizing unconventional implements could improve your fitness level. Go get creative with your programming and always have a purpose.

Christian Martinez is an Onnit Academy Level 1 Certified Trainer, who specializes in sports performance and injury rehab. He also holds a B.A. degree in Kinesiology and a Level 1 Crossfit Certification.
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