GPP with IBD

OK, Ready to discuss my approach to training with IBD?

My RKC certification stands as the culmination of my approach. GPP (general physical preparation) marks the beginning.

After losing 50+ pounds from my IBD symptoms my body was not moving much. The doctors and prescribed medications helped calm down my inflammation and allowed me to begin eating foods again.

But who was going to help me rebuild my strength, my mobility, my overall movement?

I wasn’t injured to where I needed to see a physical therapist to help rehab something like a torn ACL. But I wasn’t well enough to begin a typical workout program or join a class at the local gym.

My search for the most helpful methods led me to some of the strongest people in the world. Powerlifters and kettlebell enthusiasts. Following the research and the path these coaches and trainers forged helped me reverse engineer methods that fit my abilities and needs while recovering from IBD.

I found the idea of GPP.

What is GPP?

General physical preparedness (GPP) is an old-school approach to “training aimed at raising one’s many fitness components applied to a wide range of tasks. Think Crossfit (don’t worry though, I didn’t use or make my clients do burpees until they threw-up). I am not endorsing that training system but mentioning it because Crossfit’s goal is clearly GPP: being ready for a wide range of challenges (recovering from IBD counts). GPP also includes addressing weaknesses and imbalances.”

“GPP contains the idea of all around physical development. Which is why the qualities developed by GPP may be called general as they express the ability of the organism and its psychological sphere to perform any physical work more or less successfully. Hence general endurance, general strength, general joint mobility, general coordination, general psychological preparedness.”

Strength with GPP

The strength portion of GPP is called GSP: general strength preparation. These exercises should meet the following requirements:

  1. Safety. Remember: “do no harm!”
  2. Simplicity. The body – and our health condition – demands this.
  3. Teaching basic movement skills. Movements like squatting, hinging, bracing, crawling, rolling, pushing, pulling, walking, etc
  4. All-aroundness. A mix of static and dynamic loads, a mix of energy pathways, a mix of loading directions.
  5. Strength carryover to as many applications as possible. GSP’s focus on a wide range of attributes does not excuse using what is described as “random acts of variety.” Seek maximally efficient exercises, which give the biggest bang for the buck.

GPP with IBD

Incorporating the following movements during your initial recovery after IBD will help anyone improve mobility, movement, and strength.

Remember here that we are not in a place to begin training for an endurance event or are attempting to compete in a Crossfit game/powerlifting event…We’re just trying to get up out of bed easier and walk around without feeling like we’ll pass out.

  1. Rolling
  2. Sphinx with reach
  3. Crawling
  4. Glute bridges
  5. 1/2 Kneeling stance to stand

Almost any physical activity that increases your heart rate will boost GPP. I want to offer a simple framework to use for anyone recovering from the physical challenges after IBD diagnosis or flare. Movement never is – or ever needs to be – perfect. Simply approach this phase of your training with an open-mind and gratitude for whatever you are able to do at this moment. 

It almost doesn’t matter whether it is 1 glute bridge or 10. It is the process and practice that counts more here. If you are at 1 rep work to get 2 or 3. If you can do 10 reps add another exercise or set after that 10th rep.

Please feel free to reach out to me for more help.

all the best!

Joey Morstad

(resources sited: 1. Easy Strength by Dan John and Pavel 2. article “Increase General Physical Preparedness” by Chad Waterbury 2003)

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