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EFS Classic: GPP for High School Freshmen
GPP for High School Freshmen
My name is Mark McLaughlin and f or 2 years, I was the strength and conditioning f ootball coach at a local high
school. Currently, I own my own strength and conditioning center and these athletes train with me there. Bef ore
I lef t, however, I realized there was no system f or preparing f reshman f or the upcoming years of f ootball. They
were under-trained and basically ignored until they made varsity. The f ollowing addresses this issue and how I
dealt with this lack of preparedness.
This article will deal with incoming f reshman in high school (ages 13-15) and how their general physical
preparation (GPP) period should begin. Kids this age are void of a lot of the basic principles to begin lif ting
(lack of GPP, relative strength) and should not begin a serious weight training regime until certain strengths are
in place. So, the question is how to get them prepared. Jim Wendler was posed a similar question several
months ago. Jim’s answer was very basic. Bef ore anyone should begin lif ting, they should be able to perf orm
the f ollowing body weight exercises: 50 pushups , 100 situps, 25 parallel dips, and 10 strict pullups. This got
me thinking about our new group of incoming f reshman. I began a test to see how ef f ective this method would
be. On the f irst day, 12 f reshmen reported, and I laid out my new GPP prep cycle and how it would be
implemented and the reasons behind this type of training. We tested all of the athletes on the f our core
exercises. No one reached any of the goals. The question became, “What kind of workouts would we
implement to reach these goals?” Body weight exercises and medicine ball work would be perf ormed 3-4 days
per week, and Charlie Francis tempo runs would be implanted 2-3 days per week.
4 sets of 30 seconds each
Jumping jacks
Star jumps
Shuf f le steps
Abs 3 x 15
3-4 sets of 12-15 reps per exercise
Body weight squats
Step ups
Broad jumps
Reverse Hyper (20-40 pound max)
Medicine Ball Training
2-4 sets of 15-50 throws using 4-8 pound medicine ball
Chest pass
Sit throws with partner
Russian twist
Explosive medicine ball throws f orward/backward 2 x 10
Af ter f our weeks of doing this training regime we retested the athletes. Basically, 5 out of the 12 kids met the
goals. With this cycle completed, these f ive athletes were suf f iciently prepared to begin implementing one
barbell lif t on each of the f our days (day 1-squat, day 2-bench, day 3-deadlif t, day 4-bench).
The f ollowing days would look like this as f ar as weight progression:
4 x 6 at 95 pounds – Week 1
4 x 5 at 115 pounds – Week 2
3 x 8 at 75 pounds – Week 3
5 x 3 at 135 pounds – Week 4
Deadlif t
10 x 1 at 135 pounds
8 x 1 at 185 pounds
8 x 1 at 205 pounds
6 x 1 at 225 pounds
Accessory work for these two days consisted of:
Band Good Mornings 3 x 15
Band pullthrough 3 x 15
Reverse hyper 3 x 10
Explosive medicine ball throws 2 x 10 (6-8 pound balls)
Abs 8-15 sets of 25
Bench Day 1
4 x 6 at 75 pounds – Week 1
4 x 5 at 95 pounds – Week 2
3 x 8 at 65 pounds – Week 3
5 x 3 at 115 pounds – Week 4
Bench Day 2
3 x 10 at 75 pounds
3 x 10 at 85 pounds
3 x 10 at 95 pounds
3 x 10 at 65 pounds
Accessory work for these two days consisted of:
Pushups 3 x 15
Pullups 3 x 15
Dips 3 x 10
Chest supported row 3 x 15
Abs 8-15 sets of 25
We did the barbell cycle for 8 weeks, and then we completed a test day on dead lift and bench press. The results
speak for themselves:
Athlete #1: deadlif t – 355/bench press – 205
Athlete #2: deadlif t – 345/bench press – 185
Athlete #3: deadlif t – 275/bench press – 165
Athlete #4: deadlif t – 275/bench press – 145
“But always reinforce correct technique for the purpose of developing positive self-esteem. Give
athletes praise for their efforts – never criticize or ridicule. The correct selection of specific training
elements in addition to practical skill tests or indicators ensures successful completion by the
participant. To build a powerful image of self you structure a string of successes.” –Charlie Francis
from CFTS