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How to Do More Situps


Updated May 22, 2014

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Caucasian woman working out on exercise mat
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The situp 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 situps, increase your abdominal and core strength and endurance, and pass your next fitness test.

Time Required: Weeks to months, depending upon your starting point

Here's How:

  1. Review the principles of exercise science.
    Before you begin your situp training workout, it's helpful to understand these 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.
  2. Perfect your situp technique.
    Before you start cranking out multiple reps, you need to make sure your situp form is perfect. If you don't already know how to do it right, you need to start at the beginning and watch this video.
  3. Determine your baseline repetitions.
    To find the number of repetitions you should perform in each set, do as many situps as you can in two minutes and divide this number by three. This is your baseline repetition count. Each workout will generally include 3 sets of this number of repetitions.
  4. Start with the basic situp workout.
    Do your situp workout every other day (such as Monday, Wednesday and Friday). Warm up with a slow jog, cycling on a stationary bike, or jumping rope. Perform your basic workout with three sets of repetitions with a 30-second rest between each set. Each week, add 2-3 situps to your sets. Retest yourself every four weeks and set a new repetition baseline.
  5. Include a variety of ab and core exercises.
    There are an endless number of ways to vary your abdominal workout. If your goal is to do more situps, 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 situp exercise easier in the following weeks. Some exercises to add to your workout include:
  6. Add resistance to your situps.
    If you have access to an incline situp bench, this is a great way to add intensity to your situp 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.
  7. Try this quick core workout.
    If you are looking for another way to prepare for the situp test without doing hundreds of situps, use this quick core workout once a week to shake up your ab work.
  8. Stretch it out.
    End your situp workout with a long, slow, prone back extension to release tension in the core.
  9. Get adequate rest and recovery.
    If you are performing situps or other ab exercises to fatigue, you will need to allow at least one day of recovery between workouts. Practicing situps every day can back-fire and result in a decrease in strength and endurance.
  10. Also See: How To Do More Push Ups.
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