Photo credit: FACEBOOK/@MINDEF

Five tips to excel in your IPPT

From eating bananas to getting into the right mindset, here are five tips to do well in your IPPT!

Jeremy Na

Just like that Khalid song, Young, dumb and broke. Ok maybe not dumb but definitely the other two.

Published: 12 January 2021, 1:40 PM

With the Individual Physical Proficiency Test (IPPT) season upon us, some of you may be wondering how to increase your chances of acing the test. After all, a “pass with incentive” will net you a nifty two months off of your National Service (NS) term if you hold either PES A or B1 status. 

If you’ve already finished your basic military training, annual IPPTs will also award you with up to $500 for attaining a gold standard.

With that in mind, here are five tips to help you get the points you need to snag that coveted IPPT gold… or pass with incentive.

1. Practise with proper form

It might be easier to do half-hearted push-ups in practise, but it’s definitely a decision you’ll regret during the test itself. 

Ensuring that you practice with proper form means a lower chance of injury and, more importantly, fewer points deducted during the actual test.


Some test locations utilise the ELISS machine to ensure that you maintain a proper form. PHOTO CREDIT: FACEBOOK/@MINDEF


If your IPPT is coming soon and you feel like you haven’t been training with proper form, I’d suggest cutting your push-up or sit-up count by about 10 and training up again with the correct posture.

If your test location utilises the ELISS machine to measure your form, you might want to manage your expectations even more, as it has been known to count only half the number of push-ups done by first-timers.

So make sure you don’t slack off in terms of form during practice and you’ll find yourself in trouble during the actual test.

2. Vary your training routine

Instead of only incorporating the standard variations of the test components in your training, try switching it up to help improve your overall performance. After too many repetitions of the same activity, your muscles can begin to get used to the workload and you might find your progress plateauing.

To mix it up, try adding wide-arm push-ups, planks and short interval sprints into your routine to ensure steady progress as these exercises often work different muscle groups.

It might be a little tougher, but it’s definitely worth it.

3. Focus on your breathing

A key part of making sure you don’t accidentally faint during your 2.4km run is to ensure that you are breathing properly. While it may sound like a no-brainer to breathe during a run, newer runners can sometimes lose track of their breathing amidst a particularly difficult run.


Breathing is an often overlooked part of running – although it’s arguably one of its most important aspects. PHOTO CREDIT: JCOMP VIA FREEPIK


To remedy this, make sure you incorporate a breathing routine during your practice runs. You want to keep a consistent breathing pace that feels comfortable throughout your run. A common technique used is breathing in and out in counts of four, allowing your body to get rid of excess carbon dioxide.

Additionally, having to manually count your breaths can also help serve as a distraction from the fatigue you may feel, helping you break through your mental barriers. 

4. Stay relaxed

As much as you want to get “in the zone” and pump out as many sit-ups or push-ups as you can, it’s also imperative that you maintain a level head and stay focused. Getting too agitated can result in sloppy forms which in turn can end up pulling down your performance. 

For example, when trying your best to do as many sit-ups as possible, you may end up landing on your back too hard. This can result in you slowly knocking the wind out of yourself until you eventually gas out. 

Of course with that said, do try to maintain a sense of urgency.

5. Eat a snack before the test

Eating the right snacks before the actual test can give you a much needed energy boost. Just make sure it’s not too soon before the test or you’ll just end up with stitches during your run.

A good example would be snacks high in potassium to help give you that short term energy that you need. An ideal pre-test munch could consist of a banana and a small can of Redbull. 

While the efficacy of Redbull is debatable, many swear by it and claim that it has taken up to 30 seconds off of their 2.4km timing. Personally, I’ve always found myself doing much better after a can so perhaps it’s worth a try.

You might have also heard about carb-loading where you stuff yourself on carbohydrates in the days leading up to your test but I’d advise against it, as it’s more commonly used for long-distance endurance sports.

All that being said, the most important tip of all is to start training early. There is no shortcut that will cut your timing down by five minutes or magic cure that will somehow help you do an additional 30 push-ups.

At the end of the day, it all boils down to practice and dedication, so lace up your shoes and get yourself to the gym – it’s time to start now.

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