Commando sets national chin-up record

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23 May 2023 | PEOPLE

Commando sets national chin-up record

It was a battle of mind over body for the 48-year-old father-of-two who clocked 650 chin-ups in an hour.

Story by Thrina Tham / Photos by Amos Chew & courtesy of LTC Lee

LTC Lee completed 650 chin-ups in an hour, replicating his training in Afghanistan, where he did 1,000 chin-ups over 10 hours.

With blisters in his hands, he continued to literally pull through the pain as he lifted himself to reach his chin over the bar again and again. Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Robin Lee set the national record for the most number of chin-ups in an hour on 5 May.

He clocked a total 650 chin-ups in the span of an hour – a feat which made its mark in the Singapore Book of Records.

This meant an average of about 11 chin-ups a minute, done 60 times consecutively.

The 48-year-old Commando Regular wanted to test himself to commemorate his deployment to Afghanistan more than 10 years ago, where he performed a similar feat.

He was also inspired by his senior Commandos who achieved records showcasing their fitness and fighting spirit.

This included former Colonel (COL) Ang Yau Choon who was part of the Antarctica 2000 expedition, the first Singapore team to trek to the South Pole (and climbed Mount Everest); and COL Jack Lau and MAJ Leon Cheng who did Ultra-Ironman.

Recently, fellow commando LTC Joshua Toh also smashed the national record – running without sleep for over 50 hours, clocking 342km in a global ultramarathon race.

LTC Lee regularly trains at fitness corners or at home.

"There are seniors who have done something for themselves while trying to inspire the younger generation. I hope, in time to come, we'll have more young people also coming forward to take such challenges," said LTC Lee, who is from HQ Commando.

He set his record at a fitness corner in the Bishan East Park.

Pressing on

To meet the standards of the record, LTC Lee had to perform each and every chin-up spot on.

His chin had to rise clearly above the bar and his arms had to properly straighten as he lowered himself. There were, in fact, a number of chin-ups that were given a "no count".

LTC Lee setting his chin-up record at a fitness corner on 5 May.

He broke the feat down to one-minute-long sets, aiming to complete 12 chin-ups in each minute.

"The first 30 minutes were pretty straightforward, but fatigue started to set in the next 10 minutes, and I could feel my blisters. From the 40th minute, I had to take short breaks during the sets but continued to press on with 12 chin-ups per minute."

"From the 50th minute, my blisters became quite bad and I was only able to complete five chin-ups per minute," shared LTC Lee.

He only started focusing on chin-up training at the start of the year, and had the idea of setting a record in late April.

It is a similar undertaking to his fitness training during his deployment to Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011, when members of the coalition forces would regularly train together as part of cohesion building.

During an attempt to build his endurance in chin-ups, he performed 1,000 chin-ups – 100 for every hour over a period of 10 hours.

Soldier strong

LTC Lee enlisted in the Singapore Army in 1995 and signed on with the Commandos in 1999.

In 2004, he was part of the National Day Parade National Education Show Committee, doing coordination work for primary school pupils to watch the shows.

He was deployed to Operation Blue Ridge in 2010 to support the coalition forces in rebuilding the Afghanistan National Army.

"When the team was in deployment, we had to look out for one another, play our role and be flexible if any tension arose," he shared on his time there.

His Commando training taught him the importance of staying in shape and the father-of-two works out almost every day. After setting his gruelling chin-up record, he quickly got back to exercising with only a day's rest.

"Fitness is an enabler to healthier living. The idea of having both physical fitness and combat fitness was introduced to us when we enlisted," he said.

"I try to keep myself active at this age because it cuts down lethargy and keeps me healthy. And, of course, when durian season comes, I have more leeway!"

Watch LTC Lee in action!

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