Tips to Improve Sit-Ups in the Army

Tips to Improve Sit-Ups in the Army

The Army sit-up test is challenging, and for good reason. It's one of physical fitness tests that every basic training candidate needs to pass in order to graduate. Getting better at the sit-up test is important for anyone entering the Army. If you want to get better at the sit-up test, the first thing that you need to do is learn the rules of the test.

Rules of the Sit-Up Test

According to, the sit-up test is two minutes long, and the candidate must complete a required amount of repetitions in order to pass the test. The requirements differ for age:

  • A 22-year-old needs to complete at least 43 sit-ups. 
  • A 17-year-old needs to complete at least 47 sit-ups.
  • A 27-year-old needs to complete at least 36 sit-ups.
  • A 32-year-old needs to complete at least 34 sit-ups.
  • A 37-year-old needs to complete at least 29 sit-ups.

According to the Army Physical Readiness Training handbook, there are certain requirements for sit-up form that you have to adhere to:

Tips to Improve Sit-Ups in the Army

Tips to Improve Sit-Ups in the Army

Lie on your back with your feet at a 90-degree angle. Your feet can be together or up to 12 inches apart. Someone will hold your feet down with their hands. Your heel has to be in contact with the ground. Your fingers must be interlocked behind your head, and your hands must be touching the ground.

On the "go" command, raise your upper body up toward your legs until your head is directly over your hips. Then, lower your upper body down until your shoulder blades are on the ground. You are not allowed to bend your knees more than 90 degrees, and your butt is not allowed to leave the ground during a rep.

Improving Your Sit-Up

The sit-up is a test of endurance for your abs and hip flexors. If you want to get better at the sit-up test, you'll need to get more endurance in those areas. Performing the test itself is the best way to train, so try to perform the test at least once per week.

In addition to performing the test, you can strengthen your abs and hip flexors, the two main muscle groups involved in the movement.

Single-Leg Sit-Up

This exercise targets your ab muscles more than the regular sit-up because it takes away your ability to use your hip flexors to pull your torso up.

Perform eight repetitions with each leg bent.

Lie on your back on the ground. Plant one foot on the ground near your butt, so that your knee is bent. Your other leg should be straight.

Reach your arms up toward the ceiling until your elbows are straight.

Perform a sit-up, getting your chest as close as possible to your bent knee. Try to reach your arms up towards the ceiling instead of throwing them forwards to give yourself momentum.

Lie back down on the ground slowly and under control. That marks the completion of one repetition.

Banded Hip Flexion

The standing banded hip flexion strengthens your hip flexor muscles. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.

Put a miniature resistance band around both of your feet in the forefoot area.

Either lie down on your back with your legs straight or stand with good posture and use something like a railing to hold for balance.

Pull your left leg straight up beside your right leg, keeping your toes pointed up towards your shins. Keep going up until your left foot touches the side of your right knee, then go back down.

Repeat for 10 repetitions total and then switch sides.


It's important to have the proper amount of flexibility in your back; in order to complete one rep, your head has to go past your hips. A good test to see if you are flexible enough is to perform a standing toe touch. In a toe touch, your head will go below your hips, which means that it requires about the same amount of flexibility in your back that a sit-up does.

If you can't touch your toes, work on it by reaching for your toes while keeping your knees straight. When you feel like you have gone as far as possible, back off a little and take a deep breath in through your nose. When your lungs are filled with air, breathe out through your mouth as you reach further down towards your toes. Complete five breaths, reaching further every time. Practice this every day until you can touch your toes.