S'pore Army gets rid of 5BX, soldiers to do more stretching type workouts

Army keeping up with the science and times.

Belmont Lay | November 24, 2021, 03:27 AM

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The Singapore Army is replacing the current five basic exercises, famously known as 5BX, with "prehabilitation exercises", otherwise known as PX.

The army has begun rolling out the PX to the various units and training schools since April 2021.

The rollout is expected to be completed by December 2021, it was announced on Nov. 23.

No more 5BX ritual

This would mean that the Singapore Army is getting rid of the 5BX ritual that consists of jumping jacks, the high jumper, crunches, push ups and running -- a workout routine that has been in place since the 1970s to help soldiers to quickly ready their bodies for the day's activities in the morning.

According to Pioneer back in September 2021, PX had a successful two-year trial that started at the Officer Cadet School.

The programme was designed by physiotherapists and sports scientists at the Centre of Excellence for Soldier's Performance (CESP).

Injuries reduced

As a result of undergoing PX, soldiers' physical injuries sustained as a result of strenuous activity were reduced.

These injuries usually affect the knees, back and ankles.

The figures announced proved promising, as injury rates fell from 6.3 per cent to 2.6 per cent among 1,100 who participated in the experiment.

PX is shown to help improve soldiers' flexibility and mobility, as well as strengthen their core.

Exercises can be performed anytime

To exercise better, units are recommended to perform PX daily, first thing in the morning, allowing soldiers to warm up their bodies before starting the day's training.

The exercises can also be done anytime of the day.

How are exercises done

There are two PX programmes.

Army units have a choice of two exercise programmes for variety, one with 14 exercises and the other with 15 exercises.

Each exercise is to be done for 30 seconds with a slow tempo.

Programme 1:

Station 1 — Half squats, mountain climbers

Station 2 — Step lunge, static hamstring stretch

Station 3 — Single leg bridging, static hip flexor stretch

Station 4 — Sit-ups, stretching of iliotibial band (tissue outside of hip, thigh and knee) in side-lying position

Station 5 — Spiderman stretch (to stretch hips and back), knee-rolling stretch

Station 6 — Alternate arm and leg lifts, buttock stretch in sitting position

Station 7 — Stretching of the piriformis (muscle that moves the hip joint), high plank with alternate hip taps

Programme 2:

Station 1 — Single-leg or double-leg tip-toes on ground, upper calf stretch

Station 2 — Wall squats or buddy squats, six-point star hops

Station 3 — Burpees, sumo squats (to condition hips, inner thighs and butt)

Station 4 — Iliotibial band stretches in side-lying position

Station 5 — Clamshell exercise (to strengthen hip abductors), single-leg half squats

Station 6 — Static lunges, lower-calf stretch

Station 7 — Single-leg deadlift (to strengthen lower back, butt and core), side-plank hold

Station 8 — Squat jumps, seated hamstrings stretch

Diet also changed

The diet of soldiers has also been tweaked to adjust to the day's activities.

Pioneer reported that the CESP has introduced nutritional supplements to provide additional carbohydrate or protein-rich snacks to soldiers, depending on their training activities.

via Pioneer

For instance, if the unit has cardio training that day, such as fast marches or runs, they will be provided with carbohydrate-rich snacks. These could include sandwiches, oatmeal cookies or bananas.

Whereas if the unit was preparing for strength or hypertrophy training like combat circuits, they could be given protein-rich snacks. Examples of these are protein bars, soya bean milk and a packet of nuts.

More sleep as well

The Singapore Army is also introducing a mid-week rest extension by letting soldiers sleep more to promote passive recovery.

This means having nine hours of sleep -- two hours more than usual -- after the conduct of strenuous activity mid-week.

Top photo via MINDEF & Pioneer

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