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The Proper Technique for Curl Ups
This week’s article deals with a portion of the physical fitness test found in every branch of service. This is one element of the test that many people either barely pass or just fail. The sit-up or curl-up is also the easiest exercise to score maximum points for, but you must practice this exercise several times a week to reach that achievement. Here is a question from an Army Recruit getting ready for Basic.
I have a question about situps. Can you explain the proper technique that will produce the most efficient results?
The answer to this one is simply work SMARTER - not HARDER!
In the Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard you have to cross your arms over your chest and touch your elbows to your knees when in the “up” position, and drop your shoulders blades to the floor in the “down” position. You can only rest while in the “up” position. BUT, in the ARMY, place your legs at 45 degree angle, fingers interlocked behind the head, all the way up until the neck surpasses base of the spine (beyond vertical torso). To get good at Army Situps - you have to do Army Situps...but the workouts and pace still apply.
Place your feet flat on the floor and raise your knees. It is best to start out with the heels of your feet about 12-18 inches from your rump.
Situps or curlups - Lie on your back with your arms crossed over your chest, keeping your knees slightly bent. Raise your upper body off the floor by flexing your abdominal muscles. Touch your elbows to your thighs and repeat. During the PFT, someone will be counting and holding your feet for you.
The most important thing is to pace your situps. Too many times people start out too fast and do about 30-40 in the first 30 seconds and not being able to get 30-40 in the next 1:30 in a 2:00 test. That tells me that you started out too fast. If your goal is 80-100 in a 2:00 period, you should pace yourself at 20-25 in 30 seconds and 40-50 in 1:00.
The way I do this is train with the clock when doing abs in my workout.
Try 2-3 sets of timed situps at 1:00 - find the pace that matches your goal score.
Then try 4-5 sets of 30 seconds timed situps. Try to maintain pace each time.
As you start to fatigue and think you cannot do any more situps, slide your rump about 4-6 inches away from your feet. This will create a different angle between your stomach muscles and legs and you should be able to crank out a 5-10 more situps in your last 20-30 seconds.
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 from performing well on the curl-ups or sit-ups test. Of course, lack a proper training 4-5 times a week will prevent you from doing as well as you could in the physical fitness test as well.
For more information on programs that will help you pass any physical fitness test, check out the StewSmith.com Fitness eBook store and of course email Stew Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org for more info or answers to any questions.
Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author
certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National
Strength and Conditioning Association. If you are interested in starting a
workout program to create a healthy lifestyle - check out the StewSmith.com
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Complete Guide to Navy SEAL Fitness (Book / DVD)
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Clinic DVD for Navy SEAL PST
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The Complete List of Stew Smith's eBooks:
Fitness for All Levels of Fitness
The 90 Day Beginner Guide to Fitness
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The Special Forces Physical Fitness Workouts
Navy SWCC Workout
Air Force PJ / CCT Workout
The OCS, ROTC, Service Academy, & Bootcamp Workouts
The USMC IST and PFT Workout
The Service Academy Workout (West Point, Navy, Air Force Academy)
The Navy, Air Force, Marine Corp Bootcamp Workout
The PFT Bible - Military / Police Standard PFT
The Law Enforcement Physical Fitness Test Workouts
The Fire Fighter Workout