The new Air Force PT Standards are higher for each and every airman. Being able to pass the fitness test requires that you do at least 42 perfect sit-ups in one minute. This means that you need to not only do sit-ups fast, you need to be able to do them with perfect form each and every time. Here are five tips to help you improve your sit-up form and ability and get you excelling through your Air Force fitness test.
First things first, unless you have just finished running – you need to warm-up and stretch. Abdominal muscles can be hard to stretch, but there are a few standard stretches that will get you started. Use the Air Force PT Calculator to see how many sit-ups you need to complete. Make sure that you also stretch or warm up auxiliary muscles that you’ll use during your sit-ups like hip flexors and your lower back. By stretching and warming up, you’ll greatly reduce your risk of injury.
Now that you’ve stretched, you need to start with good form. A good sit-up will start with you laying on your back on a flat, firm surface. Have a spotter hold your feet to the ground and keep your knees bent at 90 degrees. For the Air Force fitness test, you’ll need to have your arms crossed over your chest and your hands on opposite shoulders. You’re now ready to start your sit-ups.
Start your sit-ups by keeping your arms crossed over your chest, and your hands on opposite shoulders. Using your abdominal muscles, start raising your head and neck, then shoulders and back off of the ground. As your upper body moves closer to vertical, continue to concentrate on keeping your abdominal muscles flexed and your body moving up to your knees. For a sit-up to count on your fitness test, you’ll need to get your body very close to vertical, so making sure you have full range of motion is one key to passing your fitness test. You could do 100 sit-ups in the minute given, but if only a third of them count, you’ll still fail.
When you are building your sit-up endurance, make sure that you don’t work the same muscle groups too often. You can actually delay muscle growth and strength by exercising the same muscles too often. By spreading your workout over a few days and giving each muscle group at least 48 hours to recover from its last workout, you’ll get quicker results and find yourself building strength faster. Finally, when you’re training for the strength portion of your Air Force fitness test, whether it’s the push-up or sit-up segment, make sure that you don’t do too much too fast. You can seriously injure yourself by improperly performing any exercise. Keeping yourself physically fit and fit for duty are the end goals, an injury will take you out of the game and delay your progress.
Don’t just pass with an average score – exceed the Air Force PT Standards. Make sure you excel by training properly and keeping a high level of fitness throughout the year. Hold yourself to a high personal standard and take responsibility for your own fitness.