In order to improve your sit-up technique, your main goal should be to focus on strengthening your core muscles. Yes, you do want to have strong abdominal muscles, however you also need to increase the strength of other muscles that come into play when performing a sit-up.
Military Test Requirements for Sit-Ups
The following are the standards that you need to achieve in order to pass the sit-up portion of the PT test.
Perform as many sit-ups as possible in a two minute time period
Males and females aged from 17-21 must perform 53 sit-ups to pass
Males and females aged from 22-26 must perform 50 sit-ups to pass
Improving Your Sit-Ups
While performing as many sit-ups as possible each workout is great you should begin taking the time to vary your routine. The following is an example of what you could do with your next training routine. We will assume that you will be working out with a focus on training for sit-ups three times a week.
Daily Sit-Up Routine
Have someone hold onto your feet or hook them under a solid object for stability. Then cross your hands over your chest and perform two sets of sit-ups with as many reps as possible.
Bring your body into as close of a vertical position as possible, otherwise they will not count. When moving into this position work on flexing your stomach muscles. You should raise your head and neck before moving your shoulders and back.
Goal: Aim for two sets of sit-ups at each workout. Pay attention to your form and make sure you are coming high enough up from the floor.
Alternate Exercise Routines to Improve Your Sit-Up Performance
The exercises you do here should focus on helping you build your core strength and your endurance. and improve your sit-up. Add some of the following exercises into your routine each day as well as your regular sit-ups. Feel free to mix and match.
If you have access to gym equipment you can perform an exercise known as the Captain’s Chair. You will need access to a vertical knee raise machine. This is an extremely effective exercise to do. Basically you start by having your knees dangling below you and then raising them up to your chest in a slow and controlled movement.
An alternate to the knee raise machine is to use a bench in an incline position. By performing the basic sit-up on an incline you are increasing your core strength. You will notice a marked improvement in a very short time.
To perform the Plank correctly your torso should be in a straight line from your ears to your toes. You need to control your body so that you do not sag or dip downwards. Ideally start at holding each Plank for 15 seconds and work up to 60 seconds.
When this becomes too easy increase the difficulty by holding one arm out in front of you. You can do the same with your legs by lifting each one up and holding in a steady position.
Planks may also be done on your side and this really helps increase your shoulder and hip strength. To increase the difficulty you simply place one leg on top of the other.
A V-Sit Up is another alternative sit-up that works on improving your hip flexor muscles. This type of sit-up is done from a sitting position. You then raise your legs to a 45 degree angle and reach towards your shins. At first you may not get very far however in time you should be able to perform this in an almost vertical position.
Don’t forget about the Bicycle Crunch this is a very effective sit-up that is done lying down on the floor. You position your arms behind your neck and bring your knees up to a 45 degree angle. Then simply go through the motion of pedalling your bike. Your goal is to touch your elbow to the opposite knee. The Bicycle Crunch is best performed in sets with 25 repetitions performed in each set.
Warming Up Routines that Help Your Abs
As with any exercise it is important to warm up first. Generally you should do a short run, perform jumping jacks or ride a stationary bike to get warmed up.
In order to improve your abdominal muscles there are some other great warm up exercises you can include in your routine. These include using a step to warm up, don’t forget to alternate your lead foot and set up from side to side.
Another great exercise is skipping! This is a wonderful and easy way to warm up. When you are skipping try to bring your knees up higher as this will work your abdominal muscles. Also skipping forwards for 10 to 15 steps and then turning around and coming back in the other direction uses more muscles and is a fantastic way to develop your abdominal muscles.
It is just as important to cool down after exercising and this includes stretching out your muscles. Because you will have used your core muscles it is important to stretch out your back muscles as well. A cool down routine should last for about 5 to 10 minutes.
To ensure that you pass your sit-up portion of your PT Test you want to concentrate on abdominal work three times a week.
Perform two sets of regular sit-ups doing as many sit-ups as possible, paying attention to form.
Include several alternative sit-ups to develop your core strength and build your endurance levels.
By following these guidelines you will improve your sit-up and your goal. Remember while you do need to perform the minimum amount of sit-ups to pass concentrate on your form so you don’t waste energy. There is no point in being able to do a 100 or more push-ups in two minutes if less than half of them will count!