A prospective cohort study on the impact of a modified basic military training (mBMT) programme based on pre-enlistment fitness stratification amongst Asian military enlistees

Louis Y.A. Chai, Kian Chung Ong, Adrian Kee, Arul Earnest, Fabian C.L. Lim, John C.M. Wong

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: This study objectively evaluates the effectiveness of a 6-week Preparatory Training Phase (PTP) programme prior to Basic Military Training (BMT) for less physically conditioned conscripts in the Singapore Armed Forces. Materials and Methods: We compared exercise test results of a group of less fit recruits who underwent a 16-week modified-BMT (mBMT) programme (consisting of a 6-week PTP and 10-week BMT phase) with their 'fitter' counterparts enlisted in the traditional 10-week direct-intake BMT (dBMT) programme in this prospective cohort study consisting of 36 subjects. The main outcome measures included cardiopulmonary responses parameters (V̇O 2max and V̇O2AT) with clinical exercise testing and distance run timings. Results: Although starting offat a lower baseline in terms of physical fitness [V̇O2max 1.73 ± 0.27 L/min (mBMT group) vs 1.97 ± 0.43 L/min (dBMT), P = 0.032; V̇O2AT 1.02 ± 0.19 vs 1.14 ± 0.32 L/min respectively, P = 0.147], the mBMT group had greater improvement in cardiopulmonary indices and physical performance profiles than the dBMT cohort as determined by cardiopulmonary exercise testing [V̇O2max 2.34 ± 0.24 (mBMT) vs 2.36 ± 0.36 L/min (dBMT), P = 0.085; V̇O2AT 1.22 ± 0.17 vs 1.21 ± 0.24 L/min respectively, P = 0.303] and 2.4 kilometres timed-run [mBMT group 816.1 sec (pre-BMT) vs 611.1 sec (post-BMT), dBMT group 703.8 sec vs 577.7 sec, respectively; overall P value 0.613] at the end of the training period. Initial mean difference in fitness between mBMT and dBMT groups on enlistment was negated upon graduation from BMT. Conclusion: Pre-enlistment fitness stratification with training modification in a progressive albeit longer BMT programme for less-conditioned conscripts appears efficacious when measured by resultant physical fitness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-868
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of the Academy of Medicine Singapore
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Exercise capacity
  • Oxygen uptake
  • Recruits
  • Singapore

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