So long, 5BX: Singapore Army rolls out PX exercises, more snacks and rest

·Editorial Team
·2-min read

SINGAPORE — The time-honoured five basic exercises or 5BX, performed by generations of Singapore Army soldiers as part of their morning routine since the 1970s, have been phased out in favour of a new set of exercises. 

Instead of jumping jacks, the high jumper, crunches, push-ups and running, servicemen will now do stretching and strengthening drills called Prehabilitation Exercises (PX) designed to improve mobility and flexibility. 

The new exercises include mountain climbers, forward lunges, and alternate arm and leg raises.

PX, approved for army-wide use since April, also aims to reduce common injuries in the knees, ankles and back, according to media reports. About 90 per cent of army trainers and units are already on board.

This follows a successful trial at the Officer Cadet School (OCS) in 2018 and 2019. While fitness test results were comparable between the control group and the test group, injury rates fell from 6.3 per cent in the control group that still engaged in 5BX to 2.6 per cent in the test group.

PX consists of two kinds of exercise programmes – one with 14 exercises and one with 15. Each exercise is to be done for 30 seconds at a slow tempo, and Army units have a choice of either programme. Workouts can last for either 15 or 30 minutes and can be done at any time of the day

It is one of three prongs under the army's Strong Body Regime, which aims to reduce the risk of injuries and enhancing soldier performance. The other two prongs are improved nutrition with snacks between meals and two hours' more rest time to promote recovery.

In this regard, carbohydrate-rich snacks are given before cardiovascular exercises while protein-rich snacks are provided after strength training. Such snacks are for soldiers engaged in at least two moderate or strenuous activities per day, alongside existing guidelines that provide night snacks for servicemen training at night.

On any day from Tuesday to Thursday, two hours more rest time is recommended for units with three or more strenuous activities, such as field training, in a week.  

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