Abdominal Curl Test

Abdominal Curl Test

Do you want to put your abdominal strength to the test? The curl-up abdominal test is a great way to assess abdominal strength and endurance and it requires little to no equipment.

If you are an athlete who wants to test your abdominal muscles or someone who is preparing for the military, the curl-up test is a viable method for evaluating performance, tracking progress over time, and increasing abdominal strength.

The test can be done at regular intervals, such as once a week or once a month. It can also be done by anyone of any fitness level.

So, if you want to try the test, this guide will explain what you need to know, specifically how to do a curl up with optimal form, what equipment you need to do the curl up test, and step-by-step instructions for how to do the curl-up test.

What Is A Curl-Up?

A curl-up is a lying abdominal exercise that engages the core muscles, including the abdominal and erector spinae muscles. It is the same exercise as a “crunch” but with an alternative name.

A curl up is done from a lying position with the knees bent and the feet placed flat on the floor. The curl up involves bringing the torso off the ground, leading from the core muscles, to initiate a contraction of the lower and upper abdominals.

Curl ups or crunches can be performed with the arms by the side or behind the head. In any case, the arms should not provide assistance or forward momentum during the exercise.

One rep (repetition) of a curl up requires a good contraction of the abdominal muscles, holding the top phase of the exercise for at least one second, before returning to the starting position.

What Is The Difference Between Curl Ups And Sit Ups?

Curl ups, also called crunches, are not the same as sit-ups — despite the names of the two exercises being used interchangeably. Both exercises require lying on the floor with bent knees.

Curls ups and crunches involve a smaller range of motion, focusing on contracting the abdominal muscles with greater intensity. Sit ups, on the other hand, involve bringing the torso up into a seated position while maintaining bent knees.

What You Need To Do A Curl Up Test

What you will need:

  • comfortable, flat floor surface
  • yoga mat or exercise mat
  • metronome (or guided audio track)
  • assistant (optional)

To do the abdominal curl-up test, all you need is a flat space where you, or the testee, can perform the curl ups comfortably. This is easily accomplished with a yoga mat or gym mat, but you can also lay a blanket on the floor as an alternative method.

You will need a metronome that can count 20 beats per minute (BPM), although an audio track providing this is possible to find online using a search engine.

An assistant or friend is optional, as this test can be performed solo. If desired, the assistant can provide head support or extra stability during the exercise by holding the testee’s feet in place.

How To Do A Curl-Up Test

Here is a simple step-by-step guide for how to do the abdominal curl-up test. The curl-up test is not a timed test, but a test that involves performing repetitions in time with a metronome until muscular failure.

Before performing the test, however, make sure that you, or the athlete, has sufficiently warmed up (with stretching and light aerobic exercise). This is important for improving performance as well as reducing cramps or injury.

  1. Find a flat space and a comfortable mat to lie down on.
  2. Get into position, with the knees bent and the back flat on the floor.
  3. Start the metronome and perform the first abdominal curl.
  4. Keep performing a single abdominal curl in time with the metronome.
  5. Count each curl-up. The test ends when the abdominal curls can no longer be executed in time with the metronome.

The total amount of curl-ups performed is the final result of the test.

Assessing Abdominal Curl Test Results

The total amount of curl-ups performed in time with the metronome is the final result of the test, which we can assess to gauge the overall abdominal strength and endurance of the person who was tested.

Below, find the appropriate gender and age, followed by the number of curl-ups performed and the assessment (from poor to excellent). 

  • For males under 35: 15 poor, 30 fair, 45 good, 60 excellent
  • For males between 35 and 45: 10 poor, 25 fair, 40 good, 50 excellent
  • For males over 45: 5 poor, 15 fair, 25 good, 40 excellent


  • For females under 35: 10 poor, 25 fair, 40 good, 50 excellent
  • For females between 35 and 45: 6 poor, 15 fair, 25 good, 40 excellent
  • For females over 45: 4 poor, 10 fair, 15 good, 30 excellent

Using these results, the abdominal test can be performed regularly, such as once a week or once a month, to increase abdominal strength and track progress over time.

What Are The Benefits Of Curl Ups?

Curl-ups, also called crunches, increase abdominal strength and core strength. This includes the lower and upper abdominal muscles, in addition to the erector spinae muscles of the lower back. The gluteal muscles are also engaged during curl-ups. 

Curl-ups help to build visible abs and improve cardiovascular endurance. As a core exercise, curl-ups can also help to correct improper posture or alleviate lower back problems caused by sedentary working conditions or prolonged sitting down. 


The curl-up test is a simple test for evaluating abdominal strength and endurance. The test requires little to no equipment and can be performed on any flat, comfortable floor surface with or without assistance.  

The results of the abdominal curl test can be used to determine the overall abdominal strength and endurance of the person tested, who can then use these results to track progress and improve over time.

Before performing any physical activity, however, always make sure to stretch and warm up to reduce the risk of pain, soreness, or injury.

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