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Secrets to getting Gold for NAPFA

Secrets to getting Gold for NAPFA in Singapore

If you do not already know, there are 6 components for NAPFA(National Physical Fitness Award/Assessment) , they are sit-ups, standing broad jumps, sit & reach, pull ups/incline pull ups, shuttle run and 2.4 km run. The reason why these 6 components are chosen is that they can effectively determine how fit a person is based on how well he can perform the 6 exercises.

The NAPFA test period begins in April and can last up to 4 weeks, in most schools, the test period should end by the second week of April. In addition, there is a re-test period for those who failed their NAPFA during the first test to have another chance, it is also for those who passed the test the first time but want to improve their results. The re-test phase is usually in August so that there is enough time for those who failed the first time to retry and hopefully pass their napfa

Why is getting Gold for NAPFA important?

There are many reasons why you should aim for gold for NAPFA. On average, 72% of students in secondary schools pass their NAPFA while 82% of students in JC/CI pass their NAPFA test, however, the numbers could be significantly higher in some schools which focus more on fitness. Most people who pass usually get silver, to be above the crowd, you need at least a gold.

Moreover, getting gold also saves you 2 months of National Service during which those who got bronze and below have to train extra hard to close the gap with you. The requirements for the Gold, Silver and bronze award have been listed below.

It is not hard to get gold, your performance in the components tested will definitely improve as long as you put in effort. It is possible to go from fail to Gold in 6 months, but you have to spend a considerable amount of time exercising everyday. So my advice for you is to start early, preferable 6 months before the actual test. This not only reduces the amount of time you need to exercise each day, it saves you from all the worrying during the test period.

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Know your weakness

Apart from training early, you need to know what are your weaknesses so that you can work specifically on them, bear in mind them that all 6 components contribute to your final napfa score. Here are the 6 components described in detail.

In general, for secondary school, jc/poly students, the 2 components which most people have problems with are pull ups and standard broad jumps.

1. Pull-ups/incline pull-ups

  • Maximum number of Pull-Ups in 30 seconds (for males 15 years and above)
  • Maximum number of Inclined Pull-Ups in 30 seconds (for males below 15 years and all females)
  • Measure of upper limb muscular strength and endurance
  • Considered to be the hardest component, most people lost their gold award due to insufficient pull-ups


  1. Hang from the bar with an overhand grip with hands about shoulder width apart, elbows straight and feet clear off ground. This is the starting position
  2. Pull up till chin reaches the bar and return to starting position. One pull-up is counted when, and only when, the chin reaches over the bar
  3. Repeat, doing as many pull-ups as possible within 30 seconds or when no more complete pull-up is possible, whichever comes first. This is the performance score
  4. No kicking or swinging of body is allowed while attempting the pull-up
  5. Rest between pull-ups is permitted
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Training tips

  • Although the time specified is 30 seconds, most PE teachers do not time strictly, unless your time has exceeded by a large margin, you would not be penalized. As a result, you should take your time and pace yourself properly by not doing too quickly at the start
  • This component takes the most time to train, if you cannot do a single pull up and hope to get gold(>10) in 6 months, it is virtually impossible.
  • However, if you can already do a few, increasing your pull ups to more than 10 requires daily effort, the best way to train for pull ups is to do pull ups, all other exercises that works the same muscle group do not work them as well as pull ups.
  • In order to train for pull ups consistently, it is recommended that you purchase a pull up bar so that you can train at home any time you want.
  • Even if you’re already good at pull ups, start training at least 2 weeks before the test to accustom your muscles.
  • During the test, you should do some stretching or push ups to warm up your muscles before doing pull ups, it can make a difference.
  • You should check out the pull ups training program here.

2. Sit-ups

  • Maximum number of Bend Knee Sit-Ups in 60 seconds
  • Measure your anterior abdominal endurance and muscular strength


  1. Lying face up, with knees bent at right angle, feet shoulder width apart and firmly held down by partner at the ankle. This is the starting position
  2. With hands cupping the ear, curl up to simultaneously touch the knees with the respective elbows. Return to the starting position, making contact with the floor (or mat) with shoulders
  3. One sit-up is counted when the elbows touch the knees. Repeat, doing as many sit-ups as possible within 60 seconds
  4. Rest between sit-ups is permitted
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Training tips

  • Do crunches/sit ups at home, minimum 100/day for one month for significant results
  • You can do other ab exercises such as leg raises and high/low plank
  • To get band A, you should try using momentum when performing this exercise, placing your feet closer to your body tend to allow you to come up faster

3. Standing broad jumps

  • Better of two consecutive Standing Broad Jump distances
  • Measure of muscular power of lower body
  • Note that this exercise is special as a lot of technique is involved and your jumping distance depends only partly on your lower body strength


  1. Stand with feet about shoulder-width apart and toes just behind the starting line
  2. Prepare to jump forward by swinging the arms back and forth and rhythmically bending the knees to about 90 degree
  3. Jump as far forward as possible,taking off with both feet and landing with both feet. (Attempt is not counted if subject loses balance and falls backwards or forward, touching the area behind feet with any part of his/her body)
  4. The distance, to the nearest centimetre, between the take-off line and heel nearer to that line is the performance score
  5. The better of two valid attempts shall count
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Training tips

  • A lot of training is required to master this component as it is technique-based and you only have 2 tries on the actual day. Train at least 6 months earlier
  • Start increasing your lower body explosive power by doing squats, sprinting or burpees, weighted squats is advised for those who find squats easy
  • This component can be trained together with shuttle run as both work the same muscle group. Generally, those who are good at sprinting has an advantage in this component
  • Please note that doing long-distance running does not help in increasing your jumping distance as it works on your slow muscle fiber rather than your fast muscle fiber.

4. Sit and Reach

  • Better of two consecutive Sit and Reach distances
  • Measure of forward trunk flexibility, hip flexion and hamstring muscle stretch


  1. Sit with the head, back, shoulders and hips against the back-rest and place both feet, shoulder width apart, against the foot-rest
  2. Stretch out both arms in front of the body with hands together, palms down, thumbs interlocked and index fingers in contact with each other, middle fingers touching the tip of the sliding rule (zero point) and maintaining body position throughout. This is the starting position
  3. In one movement, reach forward as far as possible and hold the extreme position for at least 2 seconds.
  4. The furthest distance reached, to the nearest centimetre, is the performances core
  5. The better of two attempts shall count
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Training tips

  • Very few has problems with this component, many of those who cannot perform this component well are overweight
  • if you’re overweight, you should do some cardio exercises before training for this component, at the same time, you’re also training for your 2.4km run.
  • Another way to train for sit and reach is to reach for your legs in a standing position instead of sitting down.
  • The best time to train for sit and reach is at night, before going to bed.

5.  4 x 10m Shuttle Run

  • Faster of two attempts to complete a 4 x 10m Shuttle Run
  • Measure of general speed, agility and coordination


  1. Stand with toes just behind the starting line, facing the wooden blocks
  2. On command, Run across to pick up one block and return to place it behind the starting line; run back to pick up the second block and run towards and across the starting line
  3. Subject need not place the second block behind the starting line, just run through the finishing line
  4. The time,to the nearest one-tenth second, is the performance score
  5. The better of two attempts will be recorded
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Training tips

  • Get one friend to stand at the start line and time you
  • The trick is to stop 2 feet before where the blocks are and stretch your body to pick up the blocks
  • The faster you can accelerate after you have stopped to pick up the blocks, the faster your timing would be
  • Swing your arms to increase momentum to increase your speed, although the difference might be a fraction of a second, it usually separates the gold from the silver.

6.  2.4km Run/Walk

  • Minimum time taken to complete a 2.4km Run/Walk on a firm and level surface
  • Measure of cardiorespiratory endurance (or aerobic) fitness and lower limb muscular endurance


  1. On command, run or walk on a firm and level ground for 2.4km (1.5 miles) in the shortest time possible. A stadium track is recommended
  2. The time, to the nearest 1 second, is the performance score/li>
  3. Rest during run is permitted
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Training tips

  • This component could be the easiest for some as it requires the least technique
  • Training for this component is also the easiest,the longer you run, the better you will perform in your 2.4. it is recommended that you run for 4km during training if you’re aiming for gold
  • You should pace yourself well enough such that your last round should be your fastest
  • Do not do any exercise before this component as it will requires your maximum effort.
  • Try finding someone whose speed is a bit faster than yours and use him to pace yourself
  • Breathing is the most important factor in determining your speed, use your breathing to judge how fast you should run. If you find that you’re out of breath before the 5th round, slow down immediately.
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