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New Year Resolution for 2008: Swim faster, Run longer, maybe return to cycling.

Friday, February 17, 2006

IPPT doesn't cater to Triathletes

While general fitness and endurance has improved through constant (and progressive) triathlon training, it is usually the slow twitch muscles that are activated for long distances. The fast "booster" twitch muscles are left unattended since spurts of boosting energy is seldom called for in triathlon training. Without the proper development of fast twitch muscles, the IPPT (or the Individual Physical Proficiency Test) will be quite useless to the NSman who has been training for triathlons all this while!

There are 5 stations of the IPPT, namely the Chin-up, Shuttle Run, Standing Broad Jump, Sit-ups, and the 2.4km run.

Looking at the above, what are the stations that would benefit the triathlete?

  1. The Chin-up Station. Our arm muscles will be toned and built for general overall strength from all the swim training. Chin-ups shouldn't be a major problem.
  2. Shuttle Run requires massive bursts of energy. This is a fast-twitch station. Everyone generally does well in this station but I've seen test-takers screw up on this because they tend to 'micro-brake' on their expensive non-running shoes. These jokers screech alot. I have no problems with this station - usually my best but the score range is quite narrow. This is when 0.01 seconds means alot!
  3. SBJ. I hate this one. This is the station I'll rant about. For this station, one requires THAT sudden burst of fast-twitch action to leapfrog the distance. It has to be coupled with technique. It's a make-it-of-break-it station. I'm always at the borderline. Triathletes may not do well on this one.
  4. Sit-ups. This can be easily aced if the triathlete has been using his core muscles. Core muscles are essential in sustaining the long distances. Non-triathletes tend to use momentum in getting the required numbers, but I think triathletes can do it steadily and surely within the 1 minute time-frame.
  5. 2.4km run. In my opinion, time taken to complete this course will be reduced due to all the LSD training. However, speed is the crux of the matter. To complete the 2.4km run in gold standard timing (<10.15min>

In summary, the IPPT is not exactly catered to the triathlete lifestyle. Some of the tests do not favour the triathlete and is therefore not an indication of an NSmen's physical prowess.

So what can be done to ace the 'difficult' stations? There is nothing else better than spot training. It is already established that general health and fitness is there to at least pass or get a silver standard. What would a triathlete need to do to get that S$400 gold incentive reward?

  1. Work on the core muscles. Pilates should do the job. (sit-ups + chin-ups)
  2. Interval training. More time and mileage has got to be spent at the track to do fast sprints + slow recovery runs. (2.4km run)
  3. Fartlek training should help in cardiovascular and strength at the quadriceps and calf muscles (2.4km run + shuttle run + SBJ)
  4. Tuck jumps and vertical (stair) runs (SBJ and shuttle run)

Together with the above, there is a need to incorporate heart rate training for each specific type of spot training so that a form of progress monitoring can be done.

And now comes the reason why am I writing this. I did my IPPT at Maju Camp yesterday with FT, CW and Wayne.

My results (station/score/pts):

  • Chin-up/7/3
  • Shuttle Run/9.9s/5
  • Standing Broad Jump/212cm/2
  • Sit-ups/35/4
  • 2.4km Run/12:02min/3

Overall result --> Pass, Incentive.

WHAT?!?! All I needed was that 4cm for my SBJ to get a SILVER! This translates to S$200 incentive reward!

Actually, with the increasing exposure to multisports, perhaps MINDEF should review the IPPT standards. If a multisport athlete takes part in 3 or more endurance sports annually, then the athlete may be exempted from the IPPT and get monetary rewards directly?

3 comments:

Whelan said...

I feel the same way bout IPPT too.. Never able to get a gold.. Mus go train liao haha my window's open till august.. somehow mus try my best to get the 400 bucks hahaha can fund a pair of aerobars haha

Chelonia Munnster said...

yah bro... I can only afford the left (or right) side of my carbon strykes also. All the best in your quest for the $400 reward! You're still (10 years) younger than me! So you jolly well do us proud! Be warned: Most triathletes cannot do the bloody SBJ!!!!

cy said...

wow u are back at blogging...and with a vengence!!

as for IPPT...shitz no wonder i'm not a triathlete...my best SBJ is 235m. =P for girls that was an A+++++...

ok never mind you can laugh at me for a F----- for long-D running.