For some parts of the military Physical Fitness Test -- often referred to as PT or PFT -- women's standards are slightly lower than men's standards. However, the situp portion of the test is not one of them. To pass basic training, both men and women must be able to do 47 situps in two minutes, if they're ages 17 to 21; if they're ages 22 to 26, it's 43 situps. While the situps are a challenging portion of military training, you should be able to meet the goal with plenty of practice.
Lie down on the floor on your back with your knees bent at less than a 90-degree angle, and your feet touching the floor. According to Army.com, your feet can be 12 inches apart, but no farther. Interlock your fingers and place them behind your head, with the backs of your hands touching the ground. During the test, the proctor will announce "Get set;" this is the indication that you should get into the floor position.
Have a friend place her hands on your ankles -- one hand on each ankle. This is the regulation position for the test, so it's best to start practicing it now.
Have your friend say "Go."
Lift your upper body toward your knees, engaging your abdominals and back muscles and keeping your hands interlocked behind your head. A regulation situp is performed when the body is in the "vertical position." You'll know that you're in the vertical position when you're in the "up" portion of the situp and your neck is more forward than the base of your spine. When you reach the vertical position for the first time, have your friend check your form to ensure that your neck is closer to your knees than your spine. If you don't have the correct position, the situp will not count.
Lower yourself back to the starting position and touch your lower shoulder blades to the ground. You must touch your shoulder blades to the ground in order for the situp to count.
Perform as many situps as you can, until your abdominals become exhausted and you can't do any more. Work on this skill daily, and then begin timing yourself to start working toward your PT goal.
- Keep your hands interlocked and do not arch your back or lift your butt off the ground during the situps. Doing any of these things incorrectly will result in the situp not counting toward your test.
Nicole Vulcan has been a journalist since 1997, covering parenting and fitness for The Oregonian, careers for CareerAddict, and travel, gardening and fitness for Black Hills Woman and other publications. Vulcan holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism from the University of Minnesota. She's also a lifelong athlete and is pursuing certification as a personal trainer.