GPP guidelines for a newbie

Hello, I’m a new member and a novice about speed training, although I have a not too bad background in strenght development and nutrition theory, and I have trained bodybuilding/powerlifting-style for 6 years, more or less.

I purchased the GPP video and I found it excellent, but it leaved me with some questions…

First, I’m not a competitive nor a full-time athlete (well, I’m not even an athlete, for the matter :)), then I don’t have much time to spend in training, sadly; so I came up with this unhortodox split based anyway obviously to Charlie Francis’ method :

Monday : Weights
Tuesday: Tempo + Explosive Medball throws
Wednesday : Hills + Plyometrics
Thursday : Weights
Thursday : Tempo + Explosive Medball throws
Saturday : Hills + Plyometrics
Sunday : Off or Tempo session

Sit-up circuits will go either on weights or hills days, or on both (or everyday if necessary).

Weight training consists in full-body workout Pendlay/Rippetoe’s style (Squat/Bench/PC or Rows 3-5x5). Obviously I’ll start easy.

I put the hills/speed session later in the week 'cause my gym is closed on Saturday and Sunday,so I’m forced to organize the work in this way…

Is all of this reasonable?

I have only two major doubts :

  1. Plyos : I’m a total newbie regarding this type of training, so I have absolutely no idea of where to start…I readed all topics in GPP and Plyometrics sub-forum, but I didn’t found anything useful for a beginner like me…I also did a search all over the forum with the keyword “plyos OR plyometrics”, but the number of results were huge; I readed many post however, but again I found nothing so far that fit with my situation… I would need a very simple program for a novice :smiley:

  2. Medball circuits (low-intensity) : where should I put them? Can someone give me a sample workout? I understood that high total numbers are required (1000-1500 reps/throws/whatever) but aside this, nothing more.

Thanks a lot in advance, and sorry for my awful English, it’s not my first language.

I hope that this is the right forum where to post such questions.

Welcome here, one question to start with, what is the reason you are doing it?

Thank you!

Well, I have no particular goal, I just read “Speed Trap” and I’m remained fascinated about sprint world and Charlie’s philosophy of training, although I have already known a little bit about it.

So, being quite bored after year of weight training only, I decided to test myself in this new “quest” : improve my speed (specifically in the 100 m) and power.

Of course I have no meet or whatever, so I’m quite free in my planning.

I’m 23, and I did karate,swimming and played soccer in the past.

What is your current level of fitness like?

What amount of time can you commit?

Have another look at the GPP DVD as it should give an outline re the medicine ball work.

Yeah sorry, as you probably undestood, my English is very far from being perfect :).

About plyos, I was thinking to start with easy drills (depth jumps from a low box, bunny hops, hurdles) for very low reps (20-30) per session 3xweek.

I would rather focus on limit strength (and acceleration with hill work, of course) because as I said previous I’m weak.

I have had no problem understanding so far :slight_smile: I trust you can follow what I put.

It appears you have some conflict and confusion here. GPP will get you in good shape aerobically and increase your speed, you may have strength gains but they will be a secondary consideration.

I would be interested in comments from others but I suggest something like.

Whatever you do I suggest starting off relatively easy. The plan as laid out in the DVD is for a relatively advanced athlete so use it as a guide not a set in stone plan, you may wish to consider reducing the intensity / volume of the hill work especially early on and building up.
By this I mean

week 1 maybe do
2s x 5r x 10m walk between reps, 2 mins between sets
3 x 3 x 20m recovery as above
2s x 4r x 30m recovery as above

it may be advisable to do this over a few weeks to build up capacity so week 2 may be
10 x 10 x 10m
2 x 5 x 20m
3 x 3 x 30m

week 3
10 x 10 x 10
10 x 10 x 20
2 x 5 x 30

week 4
10 x 10 x 10
10 x 10 x 20
10 x 10 x 30

This means you would end up with a phase that is 10 or so weeks rather than the 7 on the DVD.

You may also wish doing only 2 hill sessions per week. I say this as in your case you will have good gains from the tempo work. With tempo the key is to be performing the last rep at the same pace as the first and they should all be at less than 75% of the best you can run that distance on that surface. Grass is the preferred surface.

Use the beginners weights plan as outlined but only do 2 upper and lower.

So a possible plan may be
Day 1
hills & upper

Day 2
tempo & lower

Day 3

Day 4
hills & upper

Day 5
tempo & lower

Day 6
tempo (or rest)

Day 7

I suggest completing this 1 time through (so 10 or so weeks) then maybe doing it again but closer to the plan as laid out over 8-9 weeks. Hope this helps.

The main idea is to alternate high and low intensity days so that you’ll be able to recover from the high intensity work. Your high intensity elements are: Weights, hills, plyometrics and explosive medball throws. Your low intensity elements are: Tempo, ab work and low intensity medball throws. You want to try, if possible, to keep a few days of the week devoted to strictly low intensity work so that your central nervous system can recover from the high intensity work.

I would take the explosive work off the tempo days and substitute it with low intensity stuff like ab work.


thank you so much. You’ve been very kind and gave me many ideas.

I would try to adhere as much as possible to the split outlined in the GPP video :
[ul][li]Phase 1 : hills+upper - tempo+lower
[/li][li]Phase 2 : hills+lower - tempo+upper
[/li][li]Phase 3 : hills/sprint+weights - tempo[/ul]
[/li]if time allowed me to do it; otherwise I’ll try some of your suggestions.

I reviewed carefully the DVD about plyometric work, and I understood Charlie’s advices; but I can’t have at my disposal a crash mat in no way.
How can I substitute the drills that require it?
I live very near to a beach, so I can use “soft” sand for my landings, if this can help :).


I conceived such a split basing myself to David W’s posts in this forum and the articles on his site, as well as every Kelly Baggett’s writing.

In the GPP video, Charlie himself put explosive medball work on tempo days, 'cause in the beginning of the phase CNS stress is quite low, then it’s possible to “spread” this stress (or at least I understood in this way :)).

I’m not trying to be a “teacher”, I understand very well that you know about this field much more than me :D!
I’m only trying to explain the “rationale” behind my proposal.

Men, it was tough! :slight_smile:
I would have to improve my English besides my speed :stuck_out_tongue: .

That’s quite the work capacity!

A little typo in the sets column maybe… :smiley:

silly John :rolleyes:

10 x 10m
2 x 5 x 20m
3 x 3 x 30m
= 570 meters total

week 3
10 x 10
10 x 20
2 x 5 x 30
= 600 meters total

week 4
10 x 10
10 x 20
10 x 30
= 600 meters total

That’s still alot. I know several guys on here who may do 300m of accel not 600m.

I agree. Especially since Kale says he is a total newbie to sprint training and ROM/mobility limitations might lead to hip flexor/quad problems early on if too much volume is used.


thank you all for the inputs.

Anyway, this is the David W’s post which I refer to. I think the split outlined in that thread is very good for a non full-time “athlete” (what a big word! :D) like me. Thoughts?

Any hint for plyo work?

Another question (sorry:)) : in this period it rains quite often, and the hill where I run on become muddy… Is there an alternative to sprint work that I can do? Unfortunately, I have no access to an indoor track.

I tried to do a search but I haven’t found anything.

DavidW is very knowledgeable and what he proposes makes a lot of sense, certainly not enough people (me being one of the worst) allow enough for personal circumstances. Why not give what he proposes a try and see how it goes.

Re the hills, is there a dirt track or similar you can use? I’m sure in the GPP DVD a sealed path or road is used.

Mortac & adbrauner instead of just criticising (regardless of how valid) how about you provide some practical examples? :cool:

5 x 10m
2 x 3 x 20m
1 x 3 x 30m
= 260 meters total

week 3
5 x 10
5 x 20
1 x 5 x 30
= 300 meters total

week 4
5 x 10
5 x 20
5 x 30
= 300 meters total

Thanks Mortac. :slight_smile:
Is that 3 or 2 days per week?
Would you suggest staying at that volume?
If so why?

John and Mortac8,

again thanks a lot.


yes I’ll try the David W’s option we’ve talked so far. I’ll keep you updated :).

It depends.

I might start at that volume 2 days per week then either increase the volume of the sessions or maybe keep the session volume the same and add a 3rd session. Depends on how he handles the workouts.


Sorry, I didn’t mean to be “that guy”!

Personally, I do what Mort proposes here. I just halve the total number of reps to get half the volume.


I might just keep the distances a little lower because:

  1. My current hill is not so long
  2. I’m not a sprinter anyways, and starts/acceleration is more important for my sports (though this logic is debateable considering the generalness of hills and the GPP phase itself)

I have no idea when top speed is reached on a hill vs. flat ground but reducing distances in the beginning of GPP can’t hurt.

I’m currently starting another GPP (my first few that I attempted this year failed due to injuries :frowning: ) and I do even less than 300m (to start out with), because I do incline bounding and box jumps. Today I did less than 200m I think plus some incline bounds.

Less is more.