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Curl-Up Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made. In the analysis, we need to bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.


The Curl-Up Test's objective is to assess the endurance of the athlete's abdominal muscles.

Required Resources

To conduct this test, you will require:

  • Flat non-slip surface
  • Mat
  • Metronome
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

This test requires the athlete to complete as many curl-ups as possible at a rate of 20/minute.

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The assistant sets the metronome to 20 beats per minute (BPM)
  • The athlete lies on the mat with their knees bent, feet flat on the floor and their hands resting on the thighs
  • The assistant, using their hands, supports the athlete's head - see Figure 1
  • The assistant gives the command “GO” and the athlete curls up sliding their hands up their thighs until the fingertips touch the top of knee caps (see Figure 2) and then returns to the starting position (see Figure 1) in time with the 20 BPM metronome
  • The athlete is to perform as many curls as possible until they are unable to keep in time with the metronome
  • The assistant is to count and record the total number of curls which is then used to assess the athlete's performance
Curl Up
Figure 1

Curl Up
Figure 2


The following normative data is available for this test:

The following table, adapted from McArdle et al. 2000)[1], is for Male Athletes.

Classification <35 35-45 >45
Excellent 60 50 40
Good 45 40 25
Fair 30 25 15
Poor 15 10 5

The following table, adapted from McArdle et al. 2000)[1], is for Female Athletes.

Classification <35 35-45 >45
Excellent 50 40 30
Good 40 25 15
Fair 25 15 10
Poor 10 6 4

To evaluate the athlete's performance, select the age group and gender, enter the number of curls and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Age   Gender   Number of Curls


Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's core strength.

Target Group

This test is suitable for active individuals but not for those where the test would be contraindicated.


Test reliability refers to how a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides various factors that may influence the results and therefore, test reliability.


Test validity refers to the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor training on the athlete's physical development.


  • Minimal equipment required
  • Simple to set up and conduct
  • Can be conducted almost anywhere


  • Specialist equipment required - Metronome
  • Assistant required to administer the test


  1. McARDLE, W.D. et al. (2000) Training muscles to become stronger. In: McARDLE, W.D. et al., 2nd ed. Essentials of Exercise Physiology, USA: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, p. 417

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2005) Curl-Up Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed