The sit-up test is one of the standard tests used to assess abdominal, core and hip flexor strength and endurance during military (Army, Navy, Air Force), law enforcement (police and firefighter), and other common physical fitness tests.

These tips will help you learn how to do more sit-ups, increase your abdominal and core strength and endurance, and pass your next fitness test.

Review the Principles of Exercise Science

Before you begin your sit-up training workout, it’s helpful to understand the six principles that explain the science behind fitness training. With this knowledge, you’ll learn how to improve your fitness in a safe and systematic way. If you understand the concepts of overload, progression, adaptation, specificity, etc., you will be better able to train effectively.

Perfect Your Technique

Before you start cranking out multiple reps, you need to make sure your sit-up form is perfect. If you don’t already know how to do it properly, you need to start at the beginning.

Determine Your Baseline Repetitions

To find the number of repetitions you should perform in each set, do as many sit-ups as you can in two minutes and divide this number by three. This is your baseline repetition count. Each workout will generally include three sets of this number of repetitions.

Start With the Basic Sit-up Workout

Do your sit-up workout every other day (such as Monday, Wednesday, and Friday):

  1. Warm up with a slow jog, cycling on a stationary bike, or jumping rope.
  2. Perform your basic workout with three sets of repetitions with a 30-second rest between each set.
  3. Each week, add two to three sit-ups to your sets.

Retest yourself every four weeks and set a new repetition baseline.

Stretch It Out

End your sit up workout with a long, slow, prone back extension to release tension in the core.

Include a Variety of Core Exercises

There are endless numbers of ways to vary your abdominal workout. If your goal is to do more sit-ups, you’ll need to improve your overall core strength and endurance. Consider using a variety of different abdominal exercises in the early weeks of your training to build good core strength and stability, which will make the specific sit-up exercise easier in the following weeks. Some exercises to add to your workout include:

If you are looking for another way to prepare for the sit-up test without doing hundreds of sit-ups, use this quick core workout once a week to shake up your ab work.

Add Resistance

If you have access to an incline sit-up bench, this is a great way to add intensity to your sit-up exercise during one workout each week. Even if you perform just half of your regular reps during this workout, you’ll gain core strength fairly quickly.

Get Adequate Rest and Recovery

If you are performing sit-ups or other ab exercises to fatigue, you will need to allow at least one day of recovery between workouts. Practicing sit-ups every day can back-fire and result in a decrease in strength and endurance.

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