5 Ways to Improve Your Sit Ups on the APFT

Today, I want to share some helpful tips about how to improve your sit up score on the APFT.  Other than the 2-mile run, I’ve found that lots of Soldiers struggle to pass the sit up event.   Therefore, I want to share some five simple things you can do to improve your score and get the results you want.  Let’s get started.

# 1 Don’t Do Sit Ups Every Day

One of the worst things you can do is to do sit ups every single day.  If you do sit ups too often, you will tire out your abs and plateau.  I’d recommend you do abdominal exercises no more than 3-4 days per week.  You need to give your abs and hip flexors a chance to rest.

# 2 Add Resistance To Your Sit Ups

When you practice sit ups, use resistance.  You can use an incline sit up bench, a medicine ball, or have a buddy assist you.  When you go up and do, go slow and hold it.  Make your abs work hard.  I’ve found that doing sit ups slowly is much more effective than doing them quickly.  Doing lots of reps is great, but you will get a better workout if you go slow and use resistance.

# 3 Do a Variety of Ab Exercises

One of the best things you can do to improve your sit up score on the APFT is to do a variety of abdominal exercises.  Sure, you should do lots of sit ups, so you are prepared for the test.  But you should also do the captain’s chair leg raise, ball crunch, or vertical leg crunch.  If you do a quick search online, I’m sure you will find 10-20 alternate ab exercises.

# 4 Warm Up and Stretch First

When it comes to doing sit ups make sure you take the time to warm up and stretch first.  Try jogging on a treadmill for 5-10 minutes to warm up your muscles.  Once you do that, spend a few minutes stretching.  The last thing you want to do is get injured doing sit ups.

#5 Lose a Few Extra Pounds

Let’s face it, that muffin top might be holding you back from achieving a high sit up score.  If you are slightly overweight, try losing five to ten pounds (or more if needed) of excess body fat in your stomach.  I know that when I was overweight it was always harder for me to do more sit ups than when I was lean.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for reading my five tips on how to improve your sit up score for the Army Physical Fitness Test.  By following the advice in this article, you should be able to improve your score significantly.

Do you have any other tips for improving the sit up score? Do you have any questions? Please post them below. Thanks.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)
Publisher, Part-Time-Commander.com
Email: mrchuckholmes@gmail.com

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5 thoughts on “5 Ways to Improve Your Sit Ups on the APFT”

  1. I simply do lots of sit-ups to train for the APFT. I’ve tried doing crunches and other ab exercises, but they never helped me improve my score very much.

  2. I’m not in the Army, but these physical fitness tips are really great. I’m a bit out of shape myself, but I think I will follow some of your advice to get back in shape. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Sit ups were always my Achilles Heel on the APFT. I’d score an 85 for my push ups, 95 for the run, but I’d be lucky to make the 60 on the situps. It’s odd because sit ups seemed to be the easiest for most people.

    To this day, even though I’m out of the military now, I still struggle with doing situps. This article offers some good advice as to how to get better at them so I’ll actually be trying this out in the coming days. Thanks for the information.

  4. Some additional suggestions for #3: My old karate instructor had us do a variety of crunches. The trick is varying your leg position. In addition to crunches in the normal sit-up position, you should
    – elevate your feet so that your calves are parallel to the ground and your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle
    – in the same position, put your feet together sole-to-sole
    – in the normal sit-up position, put your feet together sole-to-sole
    – in the normal sit-up position, cross the right leg over the left, and then vice versa
    These different positions will focus more resistance on certain muscle groups.

    1. This sounds like a tough ab exercise, Daniel. I’ll have to add it into my ab routine and see how it works out. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

      Chuck Holmes

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