Many a times, it’s not how hard you train but rather hard smart you have been training that makes the key difference. After all, training is just like studying. For all of us who have been through school or at least some years of education, we would have wondered many a times why some of the kids in class who don’t seem to be mugging at their textbooks or memorising chunks of information downloaded by the professors actually score better grades than us!

That’s because these folks have long mastered the art of studying smart. Ok, slight digression here. Now if we were to use the same analogy when it comes to training, then it should also hold water.

Let’s face the hard truth now. As a guy, you either love the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) or you hate it to the core. If you love it, it’s because you know you can look forward to the monetary incentive ranging from $100 to $400 that comes with it after you have cleared the stations. If you hate it, it’s simply because you know you are going to fail again…with the possibility of Remedial Training (RT) looming alongside it. Whether you are a student waiting to enlist into National Service or a reservist, there’s no escaping the IPPT test that comes along with it.

In all honesty, wanting to pass the IPPT is no mean feat in itself, let along ace it. Let’s examine why this is so.

Test Item      Fitness Component(s)
Sit-Up
    Abdominal muscular strength and endurance
Standing Broad Jump
    Lower limbs extensor muscular power
Chin-Up
    Upper limbs muscular strength and endurance
4 X 10m Shuttle Run
    General speed, agility and co-ordination
2.4km Run
    Cardio-respiratory endurance and lower limbs muscular endurance

 

Comprising five different stations, each of the components has been designed to test the fitness, strength and agility of certain muscle groups. Just think of it as a mini IronMan.

You don’t enter an IronMan run without training for it. Likewise, you don’t take your IPPT without training for it. Now put that training smart. But then again, there are ways to ace your IPPT, if you know how to train smart.

Last week, one of my clients informed me that he was going to take his yearly IPPT on Monday. From his record on paper, it looked that he would be in for a tough time again. After all, his past records have been  a consistent fail all these years ever since he finished his National Service. It’s not surprising as most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle, with our Facebook, Youtube, I-phone and TV being our best companion. But because we had been training him for it, I was quietly confident he would at least get $100.

And just today, one schoolboy in his PE attire at the public gym approached me to ask how he could train a particular body part. I liked what this boy asked me as he’s one of those who are learning to train smart. In particular, he asked me how to train his lats.

When I asked him why he’s training his lats, or latissimus dorsi, he replied saying that’s because he’s working on clearing his chin-up station. Indeed, the chin-up station, contrary to popular belief, relies on the strength of your lats and NOT your biceps. I’ve seen so many people attempt to pull themselves using their biceps until they are almost going to burst and when they are still about to fail, do some frog kicks at the in one last attempt to get one’s chin above the bar.

And to let everyone in on a big secret, the fastest and most effective way to train your lats is to do your chin-up. And conversely, to ace your chin-up station, you need to train your lats. Period.

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