Reps in the GPP phase

How many reps would be done in the GPP phase for an exercise? Lets take squat for example. Would the GPP phase look like, 38 reps and in the SPP phase, 55? What’s the diffference when it comes to weights in the GPP phase and the SPP phase?

What about track? I have been told that during winter, staminy work is done. For example - 3* 250m with 3mins recovery. As the year proceeds you do shorter stuf like 80’s, 60’s and starts.

I do not advocate the traditional preparatory period of high reps because this effectively causes adaptation in a non specific quality: strength endurance, and detraining in the specific qualities: max strength and power (since absolute intensity drops below 75%). When the second phase of training begins the athlete must adapt to a very different training stimulus and is exposed to a second conditioning risk. Time must then be spent reattaining the level of performance present before the ‘preparatory’ phase! Constant training and detraining stretches the (limited) adaptation capacity of the athlete and may limit progress in other training components (e.g. track work). Additionally any improvement in strength endurance or muscle gain will be quickly lost unless higher repetition work is continued (in which case optimum strength improvements will probably not be possible). Finally, certain exercises do not safely permit high repes, e.g. Olympic lift derivatives, deadlifts.

Volume (through sets), density (through recovery periods) and intensity should be the variables that are manipulated. There are many threads on this, use the search engine.

As an example of what David W speaks of ,in the GPP I do 5 sets of 3 repetitions each with 2 minutes rest between sets as opposed to 3 sets of 3 repetitions each with 5 minutes rest between sets in the max-strenght phase.

I don’t agree…if the athelte is not conditioned deep support fiber through volume then you have a very thin tower that is high but could fall easily. With weightlifters it may be a different story, but I have more then a share of athletes with 500 pound squats with bW under 170. I think other methods of power can be included early such as short sprints to preserve the contractile characteristics.

Achieve volume through sets.


The question is: Can low reps with high sets accomplish volume requirements? Maybe. But the problem is that when working with heavy weights the amount of sets become extremely limited. Because the organism is taxed severely.

From experience, I can tell you that high-reps per set (with lighter resistance) definitely accomplishes volume requirements. In addition, it improves your recovery with track sessions.

All events beyond 60m are endurance events, so an endurance base should ALWAYS be there.

Weightlifters should always worry about being strong, not sprinters. The list of World Class sprinters that squat less than 500lbs are numerous. But, I can’t name one that doesn’t have great endurance. One should always look at the priorities of a sprinter (speed and endurance) then train accordingly.

So David, with regards to what you have said, there is no hypertrophy phase. What would you say about that? Do you think that there should be a hypertrophy phase?

Hypertrophy is induced by reaching the threshold of TTUT and intensity not by a magic number of repetitions. We have addressed this time and time again.

Can low reps with high sets accomplish volume requirements? Maybe. But the problem is that when working with heavy weights the amount of sets become extremely limited. Because the organism is taxed severely.

Low repetitions do not necessarily imply high intensities. During the preparatory period, absolute intensity is higher but relative intensity (Vs RM) is lower!

I can tell you that high-reps per set (with lighter resistance) definitely accomplishes volume requirements. In addition, it improves your recovery with track sessions.

Scarface. What is the purpose of using weights??

Develop endurance qualities on the track. Use tempo to enhance recovery… Use weights primarily to develop organism strength.

Let me put my points across one more time. If you do low intensity, high repetition weights:

[SIZE=3]1. Strength will decrease[/SIZE]
2. You cannot safely use core exercises such as Olympic lift derivatives, deadlift derivatives and some might argue squats.
3. Two conditioning phases are required. This is inefficient on time and the detraining / retraining is stressful on the athlete

Clemson - The body primarily adapts to the load applied.

In that case it will work and would be somewhat similar to doing high rep/lower intensity.

With all due respect. You highlight strength, as if it is the “Holy Grail” in sprinting.

Let me tell you a true story. I am a 10.1/6.6 sprinter. Last year, I bought into that develop strength in the early phase philosophy.

Results: My strenght improved and my 30m improved from 3.95 to 3.83. My 60m decline from 6.60 to 6.80, and my 100m declined even more drastically.

Because I focused on my absolute strength and short sprints in my early phase instead of making sure I was well conditioned (both with weights and without) with a strong base, my strength/speed endurance suffered

Lesson learned: Strength is not the “Holy Grail,” but POWER is!

What’s the use of lifting 1000lbs if it can’t be used on the TRACK

I am not suggesting you use Olympic lift derivatives to produce strength endurance capacities.

What I am talking about is using exercise like explosive squats and weight circuits to develop power and power endurance.

Like Clemson said “other methods of power can be included early such as short sprints to preserve the contractile characteristics.”

Shying away from endurance qualities in the early phases WILL create a base deficit that will be difficult to make up once the season starts.


Don’t get me wrong strength is important, but not at the expense of power/speed and endurance.

And yes, endurance qualities can be developed on the track, but it can also be developed with weights (ie. weighted circuits, etc.)

Telling us you don’t like to use weights for endurance qualities is one thing. But telling us that one CANNOT use weights to develop endurance qualites is quite another.


Can you give me an example of a sample weight workout for GPP including exercises, sets and reps? % of max etc?

I am in GPP now and am curious if my program could use tweaking.

1 - Hills (Long hills 5 x 250 meters)
2 - Lower body weights (See below)
3 - Upper body weights or circuits
4 - REST
5 - Hills (2 x 4 x 200 meter less steep)
6 - Lower body weights
7 - Rest

My weights basically consist of the following:

3-5 sets of front squats (normally sets of 3-5 reps)

2-4 sets of stepups to high box. (sets of 16-20 reps, 8-10 reps per leg with anywhere between 135-205 on the bar)

3 sets snatch grip deads (once a week to once every 10 days. Still a big CNS hit for me so I dont do them that often)

3 sets calf raise
3 sets reverse legpress/hamstring curl
Core and med ball work.

I can’t handle weights and hills in the same session plus time constraints prevent me from working out twice a day.

Upper body weights include:
3 sets bench
3 sets chins
3 sets standing shoulder press
3 sets bicep hammer curl
3 sets dips

Circuits consist of triples:
3 x (burpess, situps, pushups)
2 minutes rest
3 x (squat jumps, V-Sits, Floppy Fish)
2 minutes rest
3 x (running A’s, alt knee situps, lunge walk)

Thanks for your advice.


David W argues that high amounts of reps should not be done in the General Prep phase because strength will decrease. So, we should eliminate the foreplay and use near max work all the time! Going through bodyweight movements in the early fall and doing depletion push ups are not evil. Body alignment is important and joint stabilty is important…this is athletic preparation not just weightlifting David!


Your GPP looks good. To maintain a good level of contractile characteristics, I would add short sprints (from 20-60m) on day 6. Ex. 6x30m, 6x60m. So your GPP will look like

1 - Hills (Long hills 5 x 250 meters)
2 - Lower body weights
3 - Upper body weights or circuits
4 - REST
5 - Hills (2 x 4 x 200 meter less steep)
6 - Short/power speed, Upper/Lower body weights (Intensity day)
7 - Rest

The weights and circuits at the beginning of the week should be less weight with higher reps.

The weights on the 6 day should be heavier and complement your short speed work. If you find that you can’t get quality weights and speed on the same day, you can alternate using just high intensity sprints one week, then do high intensity weights the other.

On duration and percentage of max:

For circuits, I use time instead of reps. Ex. 30s work/30s rest for 2 to 3sets with 2min rest per set -this is similar to your rest per set. Weights for circuits should be body weight or add weights@10% of BW.

Weights for the first part of your training weight should be 50-70%, 8 to 15repsx3-5 sets. Weights for strength (on day 6) should be 85-95%, 3-5reps, 2-3 sets.

During the training year weights should look like this:

GPP- hypertrophy
SPP- Heavy resistance
Pre-comp- High velocity (olympic/Plyo)
Comp- Maintenence

If you need a more detailed example plan, I can PM it to you. Your plan is pretty sound for a gpp. What I did was just add some more intensity on day6 to maintain some quality work.

Btw how long will your GPP be?

LOL! Hey my lady don’t like “max work” unless we have “foreplay.”

Why the speed day after hills day? Why not switch days 5 and 6?

Quick, that is a viable possibility. Doing speed the day after rest is a much better choice. Thanks!

The only issue with doing hills after a high speed day is the recovery from a high CNS day.

Chris, see how your body handles a high CNS day after a PNF (Hill work) day for now. If a problem arises you might want to have a rest/recovery (active rest) day before and after your speed/high intensity day.

Thanks for the detailed response!!

I have been avoiding high intensity speedwork the past month due to an aggravated glute/upper ham. It has recovered nicely though and I am experiencing no discomfort at the moment.

I am thinking I’ll try this setup for the rest of GPP: (I have 3 more weeks in GPP before SPP starts)

Day 1 - Hills (Long hills 5 x 250 meters)

Day 2 - Lower body weights/core (higher reps 50-70% 8-12 reps)
3 sets front squats
3 sets step ups
3 sets hams
3 sets calf raises
3 sets hanging leg raise
3 sets hypers
5 sets med ball work

Day 3 - upper body weights OR Triples circuit (higher reps 50-70% 8-12 reps)
3 sets flat bench
3 sets chins
3 sets shoulder press
3 sets dips
3 sets bicep hammer curl

Day 4 - Hills (2 x 4 x 200 meter less steep)

Day 5 - REST

Day 6 - Short/power speed, Upper/Lower body weights (Intensity day)
4 x 60 meter lying start on grass (In cleats)
4 x 30 from 3 point start (again in cleats)
2 sets front squats (3-5 reps at 85% of max)
2 sets snatch grip deads (triples 85% of max)
2 sets flat bench (3-5 reps at 85% of max)
2 sets standing shoulder press (3-5 reps at 85% of max)

Day 7 - REST

I like it alot as it includes three good sessions a week with adequate rest between CNS intensive workouts. I’ll keep the speed/accel volume quite low at first and see how I adjust. I can easily add reps and sets to the high intensity day as I progress. I also think it will be a good transition into SPP.

What do you think? I want to run a strong 200 this year and to run a 400 here and there. I am worried about running speed the day after the 2 x 4 x 200 meter workout though so I need to factor in extra rest there. I am running the 200’s hard (24-26 seconds uphill in flats) short speed the day after would be too much I think.


Looks good! Being that your hill work is intensive, I would go with the rest day before and after speed work.

Great stuff and thanks, this is one of the most valuable threads I have seen on here.


Great! Look forward to hearing about your season. You are definitely putting the work in early. Best Wishes.

I believe in the gpp that bodyweight exercises should be done but not high reps of multi joint exercises such as squat and bench. There is nothing more boring then doing high reps in the squat and bench if you don’t want to fall asleep while doing the exercise please don’t make athletes do this. You have to take into account the boredome factor.