Recently I had the "privilege", given forth to me as a Singaporean son, of undertaking my yearly pilgrimage to a SAF fitness conditioning centre to test my physical mettle in the mandatory individual proficiency fitness test. Now this test has gone through a major revamp over the last 12 months.
It used to comprise of four static stations plus a 2.4km run. Four static stations being pull ups, sit ups, shuttle run and a standing jump. Now it's just sit ups, pull ups, and a 2.4km run. The change was widely applauded by the mainstream media as being realistic, and providing full time national servicemen and reservist personnel with the incentive to push themselves physically, given that these stations are noted as "easier to train for".
I do agree that it has provided me with more incentives to go hard, especially during the 2.4km run. The standing broad jump has been an obstacle for me since secondary school, one that I have failed to hack ever since, and the format was set up such that if you do not clear a certain distance, you'll end up being limited to a certain award. I.E. if you do not clear more than cm, you'll be limited to silver award and a S$400 cash reward.
My recent experience was such that post clearing the two static stations, all I had to do was to run a 11.30 or below for the 2.4km run to obtain a gold award and a S$500 cash reward. Wow, all that glitters is gold huh. I've never actually obtained a gold award for an IPPT test before, despite having what I would like to think of as a reasonable level of physical fitness. So I went all out during the 2.4km run and achieved a time of just below 11 minutes, giving a holla back to my JC years and pocketing the S$500 cash reward, which if you think about it, is a pretty sweet deal. Then again, if you do not pass your IPPT, you'll have to attend freaking time consuming remedial physical training sessions, which would be a pain in the ass. Anyhow, I digress.
Training for the IPPT
To be honest, I've actually not done much IPPT specific training. I used to do a bit of the swim bike run thing and some longer distances back in the day, but since starting banking, I've not had the time to pursue those time consuming events.
What I do recommend for folks who are pretty time strapped is to focus on high intensity interval exercises. Such high intensity exercises typically do not take up more than 20 to 30 minutes of your time from warm up to cool down, but be warned, they'll cause you so much pain that at the end of each training session, you'll literally be dripping sweat all over your floor, even if the fan switched on at full blast. No pain... no growth... no gain right?
You can start off with a plethora of body weight only exercises and then move on to either do free weights / gym / or the use of my favourite instrument, the kettlebells. Check out YouTube, it's literally a live gym session with lots of variety of different high intensity interval training sessions. Just mimic the instructors, but do take a lot of care in trying to obtain the perfect form, especially when dealing with weighs. One of the channels I do frequent quite a bit is FitnessBlender. They have got some really good instructive videos in there.
Do this once or twice a week, and throw in a 5km run every other week or so and you should be golden. It does feel quite good to ahem, get hard (no puns intended) at the same time. Not hard in that sense, but hard in the right sense. ;)
To my readers, what kind of physical training plan do you embark on, and how do you train for the IPPT, if applicable?
Hope this article is of some use to all IPPT warriors out there.