Sunday, 23 Jun 2024

The President’s Challenge Partial Curl-Up Test

Curl-up Test

The President’s Challenge fitness award program, although now largely replaced by the FitnessGram Program, provided valuable fitness tests. One of these tests was the curl-up test, which had two variations: the ‘curl-up test’ and the improved ‘partial curl-up’. In this article, we will focus on the partial curl-up test and how it measures abdominal strength and endurance.

Purpose of the Partial Curl-Up Test

The partial curl-up test is designed to assess abdominal strength and endurance, which are crucial for core stability and back support. By performing as many curl-ups as possible at a rate of 1-in-3 seconds, participants can determine their level of fitness in these areas.

How to Perform the Partial Curl-Up Test

To conduct the partial curl-up test, you will need a flat, clean, cushioned surface, a stopwatch, recording sheets, a pen, and a metronome (or an audio file with a drum beat). The subject should lie down on the surface with their feet unanchored. A partner should sit behind the subject and cup their head in their hands. The arms should be fully extended with the fingers resting on the legs and pointing towards the knees.

The subject should then curl up slowly, sliding their fingers along the legs until the fingertips touch the knees. They should then lower themselves back down until their head touches the partner’s hands. Each complete curl-up should take three seconds to complete. The subject should continue performing the curl-ups until they can no longer maintain the rhythm or reach their target number.

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Scoring and Interpretation

The scoring for the partial curl-up test is based on the maximum number of correctly performed curl-ups at the desired rate. Only curl-ups that are executed correctly, without “bouncing” off the floor, should be counted. This test is simple and quick to administer, requiring minimal equipment. It is also suitable for testing large groups of individuals simultaneously.

Guidelines for the Partial Curl-Up Test

Before conducting the partial curl-up test, it is essential to review each participant’s medical status to identify any health issues that should be considered. Make sure to explain the correct technique for performing the curl-ups to all participants.


1. Can the partner assist during the test?

Yes, the partner can count aloud the number of repetitions to assist the subject.

2. What happens if a variation of the test procedure or technique is used?

If any variations of the test procedure or technique are employed, it is crucial to record the actual technique and procedure used and consult appropriate norm tables for accurate comparison.

3. Are there any similar tests to the partial curl-up?

Yes, there are similar tests such as the President’s Challenge Curl-Up Test and the Partial Curl Up Test used in the Connecticut Physical Fitness Test. A simple sit-up test that can be performed at home is also an option.


The partial curl-up test is a valuable assessment tool for measuring abdominal strength and endurance. By performing this test correctly and following the guidelines, individuals can gain insights into their core stability and back support. Incorporating this test into a fitness routine can help individuals track their progress and work towards their fitness goals.

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