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You Asked For It - The Situp - Push (14 Days til Better Situp Scores)

Stew smith

Ten Days of Daily Situps - 3 Days Rest (no core)
& Day 14 Test

The Situp-Push Program 

Learn From This Mistake (PACE) But You Should Practice and Build Strong Hips too...

Where most people go wrong on two-minute timed situps tests is that they start off too fast in the first 30 seconds and usually cannot match their reps in the next 1:30. So if your goal is 80–100 situps in 2 minutes, you need a pace of 20–25 in 30 seconds, 40–50 situps in 1 minute and 60–75 situps in 1:30, and 80–100 in 2 minutes. This takes practice at not just mastering the goal pace, but building up your endurance in order to maintain the pace for longer than you previously could. We do this with smaller but timed sets of situps throughout a workout.

In a nutshell, you will get better at situp tests by taking more situp tests and increasing your endurance by increasing your situp volume BUT at your goal pace for situps. In the future, once you master the 100 reps in 2 minute pace, you can do more situp sets every OTHER day but focus on 1 situp per second to help you maintain a pace of 100–120 situps in 2 minutes if you want to really max this test.

  • Note if your situp test is the 1 minute test.  Start off at a goal pace of 40–50 in 1 minute and build up to 1 per second or faster to get the above average scores of 60+ in 1 minute score. 

  • Remember – do not forget to work the lower back to balance out all the extra abdominal work you are doing. If you neglect the back of your torso, you will likely suffer a lower back injury regardless of how many situps you are doing daily. Planking and the PT RESET (below) are great ways to balance out the situp exercise and strengthen the entire core system and not just the hip flexors and abs section.

  • Plus most regular military branches of service have traded situps with planking for the core test. However, none of the Special Ops Units have and appear to have no intentions of making that change in the foreseeable future.

Here is how you do this 14-day improvement challenge

Mark your current maximum score for your test (ie. 50 in 2 minutes). Do the type of exercise you will be tested:  Situps — hands behind head with elbows touching knees, curl ups — hands crossed on chest with elbows touching knees, or crunches — hands crossed on chest with elbow toughing lower thighs.

NOTE – If your situp test is only 1 minute, the process is the same BUT your pace can be faster than in the 2 minutes test.

Take your max score and multiply by three (50x 3 = 150) and do this number (or rounded up to nearest 10) for 10 straight days.

– Day 1–4:  Do 150 situps in thirty-second sets BUT shoot for 20 situps in 30 seconds so for days 1–4 you will do 150 situps in timed sets of 30 seconds for four days straight.  Your goal is to get 20 situps in that time so for this workout, you will do roughly 8–9 sets of 20 situps in 30 seconds.  Spread these 30 seconds sets throughout your existing workout however you desire. I personally like to “rest with abs” in between sets of pullups or weighted exercises or even running /​ swimming intervals. This pace will set you up for 80 situps in 2 min. Go to 25 in 30 seconds if you want to strive for 100 situps in 2 minutes. But start with 80 first if you are stuck at 50 or below for your current max. 

* Note if you are having trouble keeping the goal pace for 30 seconds, try it for 15 seconds and shoot for quick timed sets of 10–12 repetitions for 15 seconds.  The first 15–20 seconds of a 2 minute situp test is where people start off too fast, so it is a good idea to practice the start of the test regularly.

– Day 5–8: You change the timed sets and shoot for 40–50 situps in 1 minute sets. Do 150 situps in 1 minute sets with a goal of 40–50 situps per minute.  This should take you 4–5 sets done through your workout for four days straight.

– Days 9–10:  You change the timed sets to 2 minutes focused on the same pace as above.150 situps should be completed in 2–3 sets for two days straight. 

– Daily BACK Balance – Just working the front side of the body is where many go wrong. For every situp repetition you do in your daily workout, you have to get in the plank pose for the same number of seconds (150 seconds or roughly three minutes). Somewhere in your daily workouts for Day 1–10 you have to get a total of three minutes in the plank pose or mix in the PT RESET as well.  Mix in the following back-side core exercises as well. 

Rev Pushups -20 
Birds -20 
Arm haulers-20 
Swimmers 1 min 
Side plank 1 min (right)
Plank 1 min
Side plank 1 min (left)

– Stretch the hip flexors, thighs, lower back, and stomach after each day of the 10 day situps program.

— Days 11–13:  Time to recover   Rest your core - the entire system. 
Take 3 days off from any core exercises. You can still run, swim, and PT but skip the ab exercises and lifting free weights for this period of 3 days.

– Day 14:  TEST Day – Give yourself a 1–2 minute test (whichever your test requires) and focus on the goal pace you mastered.  

As you start to fatigue and think you cannot do any more situps, slide your butt about 4-6 inches away from your feet. This will create a different angle between your stomach muscles and hips and you should be able to crank out 5-10 more situps in your last 20 seconds.

Let Gravity Do Half the Work

To conserve abdominal stamina in the situps test, only exert yourself on the “up” portion of the exercise and let gravity take you down so your shoulder blades touch the floor. Many times people keep their abs flexed while descending and waste too much energy. This error and lack of pace are the two biggest culprits for performing well on the curl-ups or sit-ups test. Of course, a lack of specific and consistent training will prevent you from doing better in the physical fitness test as well.

For more information on programs that will help you pass any physical fitness test, check out the Store and of course email Stew Smith at for more info or answers to any questions.

There is More To than a You May Know

Who is Stew Smith CSCS? Coach, Trainer, Writer, PodcasterI'm the former Navy SEAL that tactical candidates go to for books, eBooks, local and online coaching to prepare themselves to get to and through intense tactical assessment and selection programs and qualify for service in their chosen tactical profession.  See More at

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