Videos of SAF IPPT and celeb push-ups: Push-ups, how do I do thee? Let me count the ways

NSmen doing push-ups at Maju Camp.
Operationally ready servicemen at Maju Camp demonstrating push-ups, which is part of the new revised Individual Physical Proficiency Test.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Ah push-ups. The default method of punishment meted out by army sergeants, and now one-third of the new SAF IPPT. This simple exercise helps people build up their muscles in their arms and upper torsos, if the body aches I so clearly remember are anything to go by.

Back when I was in BMTC School One's Foxtrot company, under my crazy company commander Lieutenant L and equally crazy Platoon Sergeant D, push-ups were a way of life. It started in the morning, with our exercises (earlier, if we failed to fall in on time) and lasted all the way till night, where the Platoon Sergeant or one of the other section commanders would sometimes challenge us to push-up contests (they invariably won).

Looking back though, I start to wonder how many of the push-ups we did then (and trust, me, there were a lot of them) would have counted, if we go by the standards set by this very kind Fitness Specialist in Cyberpioneer's video.

Hey guys! Push-ups will soon become part of your annual Individual Physical Proficiency Test! Here's how to do a proper one to avoid the dreaded "no count!". Go for Gold!

Posted by cyberpioneer on Monday, September 1, 2014

Doesn't seem too tough, at least for the first seven or eight push-ups before fatigue sets in. But how do these other people doing push-ups stack up against the SAF's requirements?

US First Lady Michelle Obama seems to have gotten most of it right, with her back straight and feet set at the correct distance. Her hands are a little too far apart though, but seeing that she's the wife of the President of the most powerful country in the world, I think we can overlook that bit.

Ellen DeGeneres also seems pretty good at doing push-ups, though she gets a little chuffed after doing 20. No surprise that @FLOTUS "out-pushes-up" her, as she spends an hour and a half every day doing cardio workouts.

Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon also takes on Mrs Obama, travelling to the White House to help out in her "Let's Move!" initiative. You can see how he fares at the 1:17 mark... though it's hard to classify what he does, as a push-up.

And then there are the variants, which would probably have not really counted under those rules, but I don't think we'll see anyone quibbling with these tough guys over what's orthodox and what's not.

After all, would you want to tell Bruce Lee his two-finger push-ups don't count? Watch the second half of the video to see why it'll be a bad idea.

And here's Jackie Chan doing training for his Drunken Fist style of gongfu. In actual fact, his push-ups fulfill all the criteria set by the SAF, though I daresay the instructors would be more impressed with other facets of his exercise.

If you wanted more variations of the push-up, there's this fellow, Maxim Fainzilberg, showing you 50+ ways of doing the exercise. Doing push-ups on a beach is already difficult enough, what with the shifting sand, but this guy takes it all in stride, accomplishing what many others can only think of doing. (Plus, his "normal" push-ups do meet the SAF standards.)

And then there's this guy. 'Nuff said.