Photo credit: MINDEF

Singapore Army replaces 5BX warm up with new prehabilitation exercises, or PX

The Army has also introduced improved nutrition and additional rest time as part of their Strong Body Regime aimed at enhancing soldiers’ performance.

Brandon Leong

Compulsive playlist maker.

Published: 24 November 2021, 11:17 AM

The Singapore Army has replaced the current five basic exercises, famously referred to as 5BX, with a new set of prehabilitation exercises, otherwise known as PX. 

The 5BX, which started in the 1970s, was usually performed first thing in the morning to warm up soldiers’ bodies for their daily activities. The routine consisted of jumping jacks, the high jumper, crunches, push ups, and running. 

PX will instead consist of core-strengthening exercises and stretches aimed to reduce the risk of musculoskeletal (MSK) injuries and improve soldiers’ mobility. The programme was designed by physiotherapist and sports scientists at the Centre of Excellence for Soldier’s Performance (CESP). 

The programme was first trialled at the Officer Cadet School (OCS) over two years, during which MSK injury rates (typically affecting the knees, back, and ankles) fell from 6.3 percent to 2.6 percent among the 1,100 soldiers who participated in the test group.

Some of the new exercises included in the PX regime include mountain climbers, forward lunges, and alternate arm and leg raises. Army units will have the option to choose between two PX regimes, one with 14 exercises and the other with 15. Each exercise will be done for 30 seconds with a slow tempo. 

As part of their Strong Body Regime, CESP have also introduced a change in diet for soldiers by proposing nutritional supplements. The aim is to provide additional carbohydrate or protein rich snacks to soldiers, depending on their training activities. 

For example, if the unit has cardio intensive training that day, like fast marches or runs, they will be provided carbohydrate-rich snacks like sandwiches, oatmeal cookies, or bananas. If the unit was preparing for strength training like combat circuits, they would be given protein-rich snacks like protein bars, soya bean milk, or a packet of nuts. 

On top of that, the Singapore Army has introduced a mid-week rest extension by allowing soldiers to sleep more to improve recovery. This means having nine hours of sleep, two more than usual after any strenuous activity mid-week. 

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