The KYDRA Club
Zero To Hero: NSmen’s 12-Week Training Plan For Passing Your IPPT(With Incentive!)
Depending on who you ask, the annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) is different things to different NSmen – much like Singapore’s version of a Rorschach test.
Some see it as a nemesis that was easily beaten when they were young and sprightly but is now all but unsurmountable. Others see it as a breeze and an easy way to earn a few hundred dollars for a few hours of work.
We want to help those in the former category inch closer towards the latter – and go from zero to IPPT hero – while having fun building a healthy, sustainable lifestyle along the way.
To do that, we spoke with Edwin (@edwination_), a former national athlete and an American Council on Exercise (ACE) certified personal fitness trainer who has coached around 100 clients.
Embarking On This IPPT Training Plan
The IPPT training plan Edwin conceptualised is a concrete programme that aims to prepare the majority of NSmen and full-time national servicemen to take IPPT and perform at their best.
To give you enough time to build up your fitness, participants should aim to embark on the ZERO TO HERO programme at least 2 to 3 months before the date they wish to take their IPPT.
Being physically active is very safe for most people, so long as you listen to your body, start slow and increase your exercise intensity gradually. If you are not feeling well because of a temporary illness or injury, you should wait until you feel better before you resume training.
Know Your Goal
Edwin recommends that you do a mock IPPT before you start the training programme to get a sense of where you stand in relation to the IPPT scoring criteria. This means you do all three stations in one session under test conditions.
Use your results as a benchmark to work from as you begin your training. The training duration of 2 to 3 months is not a short time. Keeping your motivation while you build the habit to exercise would go a long way in being successful.
To help with this, you could enlist the help of a friend to embark on the IPPT plan together so you can encourage each other, or utilise social media to share your fitness goals with your friends and keep yourself accountable.
If you do, tag us @kydraofficial with #KydraIPPTGuide!
The IPPT Training Plan
Start every training session with dynamic warm-ups, and end them with proper cool down stretches to eliminate the likelihood of injuries and facilitate proper recovery.
Each week, you should have a mixture of the three types of training sessions: interval training, bodyweight circuit conditioning, and long runs.
Depending on the station you wish to focus on, you can swap the session around, but Edwin recommends using Long Runs as a low-intensity, active recovery activity in between the more intense Bodyweight Circuit Conditioning and Interval Training sessions.
Always listen to your body, and if you find yourself hitting a wall in terms of progress, that might be a sign you need to take more rest days.
You can do these training sessions virtually anywhere, but if you have access to them, public stadiums are the most conducive, since you’ll have access to a standard 400m running track and sit up corners.
Wherever you choose to train, be in your favourite pair of running shoes and comfortable clothes, wear a watch with stopwatch function, and bring along your water bottle to keep hydrated.
Interval Trainings aim to improve your fitness (commonly measured using VO2 max) to be able to run at your targeted pace for the duration of the 2.4km test.
As the name suggests, you run at high intensity and then jog (or walk) at a work-rest ratio of 1:2.
For example, running 400m (or one round around a standard track) at a targeted pace of 2 minutes, followed by 4 minutes of rest. Aim to repeat this over 6 to 8 times each session.
Goal: Build up your capacity to complete the recommended sets of 6 to 8 at progressively faster timings. Be sure to use a stopwatch to keep track of your running pace and rest times.
Bodyweight Circuit Conditioning helps build strength and improve muscular endurance, which is especially important for your two static IPPT stations of sit-ups and push-ups.
The stations in the circuit comprise of:
1) 20 x Push Ups
2) 20 x Sit Ups
3) 20 x Squats/Lunges
4) 400m sprint
Aim to complete 4 to 6 sets of the circuit, depending on your fitness level. Progressively, you can increase the total volume done every session by either increasing reps done per set or increasing the total number of sets you perform.
Goal: Track your progress and progressively overload to see strength and muscular endurance gains. For example, increasing the repetitions to 30, or 40, or 50 for each station.
Long Runs build up aerobic base endurance. For each session, run for 30 minutes. It’s that simple.
You can download useful fitness apps like Runkeeper or Strava to track your progress and aim to achieve a further distance each time you run.
Goal: As you build up your stamina, you should naturally be able to cover a longer distance for the same long run duration of 30 minutes. This would give you the confidence to take on the much shorter 2.4km distance.
If after a while you feel like you are not sufficiently challenged, or when you see yourself hitting a plateau in your run times or circuit repetitions, you can consider adding strength resistance weight training in the gym or other sports into the mix.
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