President's Challenge Curl Up Test
There are two variations of the curl up test used in testing for the President's Challenge - the 'curl-up test' and the improved 'partial curl-up'. These tests measure the muscular strength and endurance of the abdominal and hip-flexor muscles. Abdominal muscle strength is important for core stability and back support.
The following information describes the procedures for the sit up test as used in the President's Challenge Fitness Awards. See the general guidelines for Abdominal Endurance Tests. There is also a similar simple sit up test that you can do at home, or the 2-minute sit up test performed in the US Army and US Marines and US Navy.
- purpose: The curl up test measures abdominal strength and endurance, important in back support and core stability.
- equipment required: you need a flat, clean, cushioned surface, stopwatch, recording sheets, pen, and for the partial curl up test a metronome (or audio tape, drums). A sit up beep test mp3 with the same cadence is also available.
- curl up procedure: The subject lies on a cushioned, clean surface with knees flexed and feet approximately 12 inches from their buttocks. A partner assists by anchoring the feet to the ground. The arms are held flat across the chest, with the hands placed on opposite shoulders. The subject raises the trunk, keeping the arms in position, curling up to touch their elbows to thighs and then lowers back to the floor so that the shoulder blades (upper back) touch the floor. The maximum number of sit ups performed in one minute is recorded.
- partial curl up procedure: The partial curl up test improves on some of the flaws of the curl up test. In this test the feet are not anchored - the partner sits behind the subject and cups the subject's head in their hands. The starting position is also different, with the arms fully extended with fingers resting on the legs and pointing toward the knees. The subject curls up slowly, sliding the fingers along the legs until the fingertips touch the knees, then back down again, until the head touches the partner's hands. One complete curl-up is completed every three seconds, and are continued until exhaustion (e.g. the subject cannot maintain the rhythm or has reached the target number for the test). See the similar CT Partial Curl Up Test.
- scoring: The completion of one complete curl up counts as one. Make sure that the subject does not "bounce" off the floor - only correctly performed curl ups should be counted. The timer begins the test by calling out the signal "Ready? Go!". The stop watch is started at the same time, and at the conclusion of one minute the timer calls out "Stop" at which counting and the subject stop.
- advantages: this test is simple and quick to perform requiring minimal equipment, and large groups may be tested at once.
- disadvantages: a curl up with the feet held increases the involvement of the hip flexor muscles, making the test less valid as a measure of abdominal strength. The partial curl up test, in which the feet are not supported, is therefore a better measure of abdominal strength and endurance.
- comments: The partner may assist by counting aloud the number of repetitions. It is important that the correct technique is used as described for accurate comparison to the norms. If using a variation of the test, the actual technique and procedure should be recorded with the results, and appropriate norm tables consulted.
- guidelines: before conducting any fitness test, you should review each person's medical status to identify medical, orthopedic or other health problems that should be considered. Before starting, make sure the correct techniques for all tests are explained. (see the Fitness Testing Guidelines for more info)
- About Abdominal Testing
- See the similar Partial Curl Up Test used in the Connecticut Physical Fitness Test.
- General Abdominal Endurance Test description
- Videos of Sit Up Fitness Tests
- President's Challenge Fitness Awards
- simple sit up test that you can do at home
- sit up tests procedures for the US Army and US Marines and US Navy
- sit up exercise at the beach or at home
- all fitness test list
- Sit Up World Records