Ok gentleman, here’s a quick refresher- the IPPT is now three stations- push-ups, sit-ups, and the 2.4km run. You’ll earn points that are calibrate to your age group, which are adjusted within 3-year-bands. If you’re the kiasu sort, you check see the score calculator here.
|Push-Ups||Upper body muscular strength and endurance|
|Sit-Ups||Abdominal muscular strength and endurance|
|2.4km Run||Cardiovascular fitness and lower limb muscular endurance|
These stations are designed to be done without the need for specialised equipment. This means you can do them regularly as part of an exercise routine – anytime, anywhere. Which also means, you can train for them anytime, anywhere.
So get started. If you need some motivation, think about the money. According to this site, if you get silver and gold awards and invest it over ten years, you’d have $4,338 buck and $7,230 respectively. Don’t play play.
Sit-ups are pretty straightforward, right? The problem is, if incorrectly done, sit-ups can cause lower back injury. In your Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) where you’re trying to clock between 22 to 39 within a minute (depending on your age group), the likelihood of that happening is high. That’s because a lot of guys tend to lift their hips to gain extra momentum, says Shahrin Amat, trainer at Pure Fitness Asia Square. That extra movement — the added bounce back to the floor — impacts the tailbone and can cause injury.
The key is to strengthen your core, and especially the lower back which comes under the most strain due to the repeated motion of the sit-up. Shahrin suggests these exercises that you can do anywhere — even at your office — to keep your core primed for Gold status.
Doing regular crunches trains you to perform the correct sit-up technique repeatedly. Use your abs to lift your head and upper torso while keeping your lower back pressed firmly against the floor. Pause with your shoulder blades a couple of inches off the floor, then slowly return to the starting position using a controlled movement. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
2. Leg Raises
From a lying position, place your legs together and raise them 90 degrees. Pause, then slowly lower them to just above ground level (don’t let them rest on the floor). The controlled movement of the leg raises strengthens your lower abs, and this helps support the lower back better. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 reps.
Pick two pushups from the six movements here and substitute them for your regular chest workout. Twice a week, choose a new pair. Perform two or three sets of as many repetitions as you can do. This fixes the common weaknesses that prevent you from lasting longer. The result: In a month, you’ll double the number of pushups you can do, simply by performing the same movement in different ways, says MH USA contributing editor Mike Mejia.
Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders. The secret to perfect pushup technique is keeping your body rigid. “Your abs and lower back usually fatigue ﬁrst,” says Mike Robertson, a US-based strength coach. That’s when your hips sag, which increases strain on your back instead of building your chest and abs.
When you place your hands on a medicine ball or Swiss ball, the instability causes your core muscles to work 20 percent harder than when you do pushups on the ﬂoor, report New Zealand researchers. So you’ll train the muscles of your midsection and hips to remain stable longer. As a result, you’ll be able to do more pushups and work more muscle.
Place your hands directly beneath your shoulders.
HOW TO DO IT
A Place three to ﬁve medicine balls in a semicircle and assume the pushup position with both hands on the ball to the far left. Your chest should be over the ball and your feet should remain in place throughout the exercise.
B Move your right hand to the ball at right and do a pushup. Bring your left hand to that ball.
C Continue moving right and doing pushups until you reach the farthest ball. Then work your way back. That’s one repetition.
A BIGGER CHEST
Lead with your chest, not your hips. Keep your neck in line with your spine. Depending on where your weakness lies, pushups may challenge you most at the top, middle, or bottom position. “Pausing brieﬂy at each point increases strength at your joint angle and 10
degrees in either direction,” says Mejia. Bonus: Holding each position increases the time your muscles are under tension, stimulating growth.
Lead with your chest, not your hips.
Keep your neck in line with your spine.
HOW TO DO IT
A Assume the starting position of a regular pushup.
B Bend your arms to lower yourself halfway, then pause for two seconds.
C Continue until your chest is just off the ﬂoor and hold again for two seconds. As you push yourself up, pause again for two seconds at the halfway point. Finally, when you straighten your arms, hold them that way – with your elbows unlocked – for two seconds. That’s one repetition.
Swiss-ball pushup plus
Brace your abdominals as if you were about to be punched. On the side of your shoulder blade and upper ribs lies a small, neglected muscle called the serratus anterior. When it’s weak, you can’t move as much weight in the bench press and military press. And since your rotator-cuff muscles must then pick up the slack to stabilise your shoulder joint, shoulder pain and injury often result.
Avoid pain and boost your bench press with the “Swiss-ball pushup plus.” The “plus” portion is when your shoulder blades glide away from each other at the top of the movement. When performed on the ﬂoor, the pushup plus activates your serratus anterior 38 percent harder than a standard pushup does, report researchers at the University of Minnesota. The Swiss-ball version works even better.
Brace your abdominals as if you were about to be punched.
HOW TO DO IT
A Assume a pushup position with your hands placed directly under your shoulders and on the sides of a Swiss ball. Spread your ﬁngers, with your thumbs pointing forward.
B Keeping your core tight, lower yourself until your chest grazes the ball, then push back up. At the top of the move, push yourself as far away from the ball as you can so your shoulder blades move away from each other.
Dumbbell underhand pushup
Keep your legs straight. Keep your elbows close to your body. In the classic pushup, your chest and shoulders move approximately 75 percent of your body weight; your biceps just keep your arms stable. But when you turn your palms forward, a large portion of your body weight falls directly on your biceps, says Carter Hays, a Men’s Health USA ﬁtness contributor. So you’ll build all your mirror muscles – your abs, chest, and biceps – with just one movement.
Keep your legs straight.
Keep your elbows close to your body.
HOW TO DO IT
A Grab a dumbbell in each hand and get in pushup position with your palms facing forward. The dumbbells should align with the middle of your sternum, and your arms should be spaced about shoulder-width apart.
B Without allowing your elbows to ﬂare to the sides, lower your chest to the ﬂ oor. (Your hands should touch the sides of your chest at the bottom of the movement.) Then push yourself back up. That’s one repetition.
A LEANER BODY
Explosive crossover pushup
Space your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Explosive pushups, such as this one, allow you to generate maximum force by pushing your body off the ﬂoor. “The harder you push, the more muscle ﬁbers you activate,” says Cosgrove. And that means
you’ll burn more calories, both during and after your workout. What’s more, the crossover portion of this movement forces your upper arms towards the centre of your body, which is the main function of the pectoralis major, your largest chest muscle. The result: You work as many chest muscle ﬁbers as possible.
Space your hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
HOW TO DO IT
A Place your right hand on the ﬂoor and your left hand on the smooth side of a weight plate.
B Lower your body.
C Explosively push up and to the left so your hands leave the ﬂoor. Land with your right hand on the plate and your left hand on the ﬂoor. Reverse the move.
Dumbbell pushup row
Forcefully contract your glutes. “When most men perform rowing movements, they pull more with their arms than with their middle and upper back, which defeats the purpose,” says Mejia. But in this pushup, your arms, abs, and shoulders are forced to work together to keep you steady while your back muscles draw the weight to your rib cage – so you can’t cheat. The beneﬁt? You’ll simultaneously build your back and chest, which not only saves you time, but also helps prevent muscle imbalances of your upper body.
Forcefully contract your glutes.
HOW TO DO IT
A Get into pushup position with your arms straight and your hands resting on light dumbbells.
B Squeeze your abs and glutes as you perform a pushup.
C At the top, pull one dumbbell off the ﬂoor and towards you until your elbow is above your back. Slowly return the weight to the ﬂoor and repeat with the other arm.
The 2.4 Run
Yes, slow, long runs are invaluable at building a solid endurance base for you to last the 2.4 kilometres, but they can’t teach you to run it at a faster time. The solution? Interval training.
Why Interval Training Is Essential
You need to learn how to run faster to improve, simple as that. You’re not going to be able to know how to pace yourself at a faster pace for the 2.4km (or any distance for that matter) automatically. You have to train yourself to know what it feels like to speed up. “Intervals are good because they break down the run distance into many bite-sized portions,” says Adrian Mok, endurance athlete and general manager of Polar Electro Singapore. “You’ll more likely be able to maintain your goal running pace over a shorter distance.” This is crucial, because you’ll need to stimulate your anaerobic system in order to run at a faster pace, add Mok.
Intervals are tough business, so even if you’re fairly fit, Mok advises that you engage in at least a month’s worth of long endurance runs – around three times a week – before you begin an interval session. Even then, begin slowly, with your first few interval sets done at an 800m, 70 per cent maximum heart rate effort. Aim for two to three sets on your first try, resting until you feel ready to go again. When you get fitter, go for a fixed rest time of 2-3 minutes between sets, and subsequently throw in anaerobic sets of 400m and 200m intervals. These will be intense sets, run at 80-90 per cent of your maximum heart rate. Do intervals once a week, because if properly executed, they’re intense enough to demand that length of recovery.
Start Your 2.4km Run Fast
Starting out slow for the first couple of laps in the 2.4km run might seem wise, but researchers from the University of New Hampshire notes otherwise. Eight out of 11 study participants ran their best 5km times when they ran their first mile (1.6km) six per cent faster than their regular pace. The other three runners got their best times when they ran three per cent faster than their regular pace. Runners who went out with a balanced race pace were the slowest, averaging up to 32 seconds slower than their quick-start counterparts. Although the faster participants slowed down more during the run, those who ran an even pace couldn’t make up for the time lost at the start. “For a short distance run of 10km or less, there is no time to start slow if you’re aiming for a personal best,” concurs Mok. He advocates copious amounts of warm-ups before you begin – he slow jogs for 10 minutes and does a couple of sprints (to “jumpstart” his muscles) before going for the actual run. “I’m always the nutcase who is warming up more than running the actual 2.4km!”
Images from Straits Times