The Half Sit-Up Test

One of the most frequently measured muscle groups is the abdominal (stomach) muscles. Several tests (for example, sit-up and curl-up tests) have been developed to measure mainly abdominal muscular strength and endurance. We are going to use an abdominal muscular strength and endurance test called the “YMCA Half Sit-Up” test, which is a curl-up test since you lift your trunk only partially off the floor.

The Half Sit-Up Test

Equipment/Test Setting

  • Mat or rug,
  • Stopwatch or watch with a second hand,
  • Four strips of tape to place 3.5 inches apart on mat or rug to provide start and end position for the curl-up.

Prepare the mat or rug with the tape strips as shown in the picture. You need to be able to feel the tape as your fingers move across the mat or rug from the starting and ending positions. We recommend that you do the test with a partner.


  1. Lie face-up on mat or rug with knees at a right angle (that is, 90º) and feet flat on the ground. The feet are not held down.
  2. Place hands palms facing down on the mat or rug with the fingers touching the first piece of tape.
  3. Flatten your lower back to the mat or rug, and half sit-up so that your fingers move from the first piece of tape to the second. Then return your shoulders to the mat or rug and repeat the movement as described. Your head does not have to touch the surface. Keep your lower back flat on the mat or rug during the movements – if you arch your back, it can cause injury.
  4. Your partner will count the number of half sit-ups performed in one minute. Pace yourself so you can do half sit-ups for one minute.
  5. Record your results.

* The half sit-up test is re-printed from the YMCA Fitness Testing and Assessment Manual, 4th edition, 2000, with permission of YMCA of the USA, 101 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL 60606.

Last Updated on by Adam Smith