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Muscular endurance is a muscle's ability to perform repeated contractions over time without rest. Although muscular strength is the more frequently tested and celebrated, muscular endurance is a critical ability in many sports and jobs such as basketball and firefighting. The pushup test measures the endurance of the chest and triceps muscles, while the crunch test measures the endurance of the abdominal muscles. If you are testing for an organization, it will have standards you must meet to pass the test, such as completing at least 30 pushups in one minute. Otherwise, measure your own improvements by retesting yourself every four to eight weeks.
Set your stopwatch for one minute. Lie on your back on a mat with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Rest your arms along your sides. Place a piece of tape on the mat at the tip of your middle finger on each hand.
Measure 4 inches from the piece of tape forward, toward your feet, and place another piece of tape at this point. Repeat for the other side.
Lie on your back on the mat and reposition yourself so your middle fingers touch the first piece of tape. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor.
Start the stopwatch. Exhale and curl your torso so your shoulder blades lift off the floor. Keep your lower back in contact with the floor and maintain a space between your chin and chest to keep your neck in neutral alignment. Continue curling until your fingers touch the second piece of tape.
Inhale and lower your torso back down to the floor, returning your fingers to the starting position. Repeat at a quick pace, but maintain proper form. Count the total repetitions you complete in one minute.
Set your stopwatch for one minute. Kneel on a mat and place your hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
Lift your knees off the floor and balance your weight on your hands and feet in a traditional pushup position. Start the stopwatch.
Inhale and lower your torso to the floor by bending your elbows, allowing them to flare out to the sides. Keep your body in a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Do not allow your hips to sag or rise.
Continue lowering your body until your upper arms are parallel to the floor, and your elbows are bent 90 degrees.
Exhale and press back up until your arms are fully extended. Repeat at a quick pace, maintaining proper form. Count the total repetitions you complete in one minute.
- Beginners can do bent-knee, or modified, pushups instead of full push-ups.
- For a more standardized pushup test, lower your body until your chin touches the floor. If you are unable to lower yourself this far, you can also place a medicine ball, rolled towel or yoga brick under your chest and lower until your chest touches the object. This guarantees that you will complete each repetition the same, ensuring more accurate results if you retest yourself at a later date.
- Although the pushup and crunch are the most popular endurance tests, you can use other exercises to test muscular endurance, such as squats.
- Organizations, including the military, use timed, one-minute tests for consistency and order. However, you can also test your muscular endurance by performing as many repetitions of the exercise as possible with no time limit. Stop the test when you are unable to do any more repetitions with good exercise form.