Pushups and situps are fundamental exercises that are part of many military workout routines and fitness tests. Pushups work muscles throughout your body, while targeting your upper arms, shoulders and chest. Situps primarily work your core and abdominal muscles. Even if you're not in the military, following a military workout program is a good way to increase your fitness level.
Many military fitness tests include pushup and situp requirements. In the U.S. Army, for example, an 18-year-old recruit can score a maximum of 100 points on the service's physical fitness test by performing at least 78 situps in two minutes. The required number of situps to score 100 points rises to 82 for 27- to 31-year-olds, then drops gradually, to 63 for soldiers at or above age 62. The standards are the same for men and women. To score 100 on the pushup test a 17- to 21-year-old must perform 71 pushups in two minutes. The pushup number rises to 77 for soldiers from 27 to 31 years old, then drops to 50 for ages 62 and above.
The U.S. Army devised an eight-week program to help improve situp performance for the Army's physical fitness test. The plan includes three situp workouts per week with at least one full day of rest between workouts. Begin by doing three sets of 15 situps each, then resting, then doing two more sets of 15 situps on the first day. Perform four sets of 10 incline situps on the second workout day, then do three sets of as many situps as possible on the third day. Increase the first- and second-day sets each week, with a goal of reaching 40 situps per set on the first workout day in week eight, plus 30 incline situps on the second day. Your maximum situps on the third day should also increase steadily throughout the eight weeks.
The Army's eight-week pushup improvement plan includes four workouts per week, with the last two on consecutive days. Perform three sets of five pushups each, then take a 10-minute rest, followed by two sets of five pushups on day one. After resting for one day, do five sets of five pushups in the second workout of your first week. Take another day off, then do three sets of as many pushups as possible in your third workout, followed by a repeat of day one the next day. Work up to 40 pushups per set for each workout by week eight, except for your maximum workout day, in which you'll still do as many pushups as possible for three sets.
Supersets include a series of exercises performed consecutively without rest. On the Military.com fitness site, former Navy SEAL Stew Smith suggests a six-exercise superset to help improve your pushup and situp ability. Each superset includes 10 standard pushups and 10 standard situps, followed by 10 wide pushups, 10 reverse crunches, 10 triceps pushups and 10 double crunches. Repeat the superset at least five times, until you can't perform any more pushups or situps.