In 2015, the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) introduced a new group-based training programme offering members to get the most bang for their buck. With an overwhelming increase in the popularity of group-based training, especially in the areas of high-intensity interval training and weightlifting, SSISA sought after the development of a programme which would allow for individuals with varying backgrounds, training experience, and movement skills to put a proper shift in during their workout. A major area of focus was to reduce the associated risk of sustaining an injury (acute or overuse) due to strength or mobility limitations. This resulted in the conception of ‘RIPT’ – which is an acronym for Researched Innovative Performance Training.
The practical application of scientific literature (a core value at SSISA) provided the blueprints for the design of the RIPT programme, and it is through this approach that the class instructor (qualified biokineticists or intern biokineticists) can urge members to push themselves to their max!
RIPT is a group-based training programme, whereby members attend weekly classes. Classes are spread out through the week, and they follow a three-day training structure (Day 1, 2, and 3). This training structure forms part of a training cycle, whereby the training focus of training cycles shifts from establishing a base, to developing strength, to maximising power. Thereby, RIPT follows a 10-week periodised design, whereby individuals are able to join at any point in the cycle, however, completion of a full 10-week cycle is expected to yield the most significant improvements in performance. These training cycles culminate in an ‘assessment week’, whereby members are able to see where they’ve managed to improve on their previous performance, and by how much.
“What I like about RIPT is that the biokineticists are all trained, and they’re athletes in their own right. So, they know how to push you and how to challenge you.” – Bradley Frank
A typical RIPT class will involve a warm-up and preparation period, led by the class instructor, to adequately prepare the members for the movements to follow, aptly referred to as the “Warm-up and Olympic Lift Prep.” The bulk of the work is done during the first half of the class, termed the “Primary Lifts”, whereby members perform the heavier and more complex lifts or movements. The second half of the class is predominated by the high-intensity interval training component of the class, known as the “MetCon”, which refers to metabolic conditioning work to be performed during this section of the class. The final bit of work to be done before the class is wrapped up is the “Finisher”, which in simple terms, is a challenging bout of work, thought up by the class instructor, to ensure that members empty the tank.
“It’s a lot of fun. Everyone here has each other’s back, so when you get here, everyone just helps each other, and it’s great. So, yeah, join!” – Bernard Meyer
Having a qualified or an intern biokineticist as the class instructor means that members are able to continue participating in the RIPT classes while carrying an injury or recovering from a previous injury (provided that they’ve been cleared for exercise by a qualified medical practitioner). Class instructors will be able to make modifications to any movements which may aggravate the injury, thereby ensuring that members who can’t perform certain movements are still able to work just as hard as the other members during the class.
“I started RIPT with my husband in October 2018 to improve my running, become stronger, and be challenged during workouts. When I found out that I was pregnant I was already attending RIPT 4 times a week (3 regular classes and 1 technique class) and running twice a week as I was training for the OMTOM half marathon. With my Ob/Gyn approval I continued to attend RIPT and run. As my pregnancy progressed the team of biokineticists made sure that the exercises for each class had modifications that are safe for me and my baby, but still challenged me. This support from the team as well as the other class members made me want to continue attending RIPT, as it made me enjoy the sessions even more and encouraged me to continue coming to classes. One of the highlights of my pregnancy journey so far was completing the OMTOM half marathon at 25-weeks pregnant, something that would not have been possible if I did not attend RIPT while running. I am currently 34-weeks pregnant and still attending RIPT 2-3 times a week – I’m hoping to continue to attend RIPT for the rest of my pregnancy.” – Zulfah Albertyn
Newcomers to strength training shouldn’t shy away from exercise classes because things seem too confusing or foreign to them. All individuals are required to be cleared by a class instructor during a RIPT Familiarisation session, whereby the pre-determined lifts are demonstrated by the class instructor and then performed by the prospective member. This is our way of ensuring that the individual is competent at performing certain movements without potentially hurting themselves (or others), and additionally, gives the individual an idea of whether they are ready (and/or interested) in this type of training. If an individual is not cleared by the class instructor facilitating the RIPT Familiarisation, but is keen on this type of training, they are able to join the ‘Go-4-It’ programme, which is another programme offered at SSISA, whereby they will work towards becoming competent and proficient in the pre-determined lifts, which will eventually allow them to join RIPT.