Passing the Australian Defence Force PFA test requires applicants to show a minimum level of strength and endurance in the main areas of the body to ensure they are ready for the initial military training. Performing sit-ups to military standards are part of this test and it's essential that you know the correct technique and able to meet the criteria to pass your PFA.
Core strength is part of what we call tactical strength. It gives an individual power, agility and speed. Having a strong core also minimises the risk of injuries. All of these factors play a huge role in combat, and therefore, military personnel are required to keep up with their training to improve their core strength.
The ADF requires that both males and females do a set of 45 sit-ups on their assessment. There is a certain way to complete each sit-up, and a training instructor will confirm whether you are performing it the right way.
What is a military sit-up?
The military style sit-up requires that a 90-degree angle be formed at the knee between lower and upper legs. The feet should be firmly placed on the ground, and your back should be resting fully on the ground as well. Your palms must be placed flat on your thighs. Make sure that your head is resting on the ground in this position. Your arms should be held straight. The elbows should not be bent.
A sit-up is counted as completed when your chin reaches your chest and your wrists reach the knees. The standard is to perform one sit-up every 3 seconds. Note that your sit-up will not be considered as completed under the following conditions.
Remember that if you perform more than three incorrect movements, you will be disqualified from the test. So, it is important to get your sit-ups mastered before the assessment day.
While the test itself doesn't sound too tough, completing 45 sit-ups in the exact manner described above with less than 3 failed moves needs preparation, conditioning and strength. Besides doing the sit-ups regularly, it's important that you perform other exercises to strengthen your muscles around your midsection. Here are 3 efficient core exercises that can help you with that.
1. plank with single leg extensions
This is a very advanced and effective workout for building your core strength. The exercise starts with a simple front plank. Once you have corrected your posture, start by moving your right leg up and down. Perform 12 repetitions and then switch to the other leg.
Hold the plank position for 3 minutes at a time and try to complete at least 2 to 3 sets of the same exercise. Remember to keep breathing throughout.
2. side plank with hip abduction
A side plank involves lying on your side and then lifting your entire body on one elbow with your forearm resting firmly on the ground. Your legs should be straight, and your hands should be placed on your hips. It's important that your elbows, shoulders, hips and ankles are all in line.
Hip abductions involve raising the top leg and then bringing it down in a controlled fashion. Perform the hip abductions for about 30 to 60 seconds then switch to the other side and repeat. Perform 3 rounds.
3. Hanging Bicycles
Another advanced technique for building your core strength is to hang while performing a variety of execises; hanging bicycles is one of them.
Find a pull-up bar, get a grip and hang by lowering your hips. Lift your legs off the floor and bend your knees. This is your start position. Cycle your legs as you would be when pedalling a bike for 30-60 seconds. Perform the motion in both forward and reverse manner without pausing. Repeat the exercise 1 to 3 times. Remember to focus on your breathing, engage your core to hold the correct posture. Clue: if you are swinging, your core is not in full control.
How often should you train your core?
Like with other parts of the body, your core strength will improve via repetion and consistency. Aim to train your core 3 to 6 times a week for 10 to 15 minutes. This will not only make your midsection stronger, but also improve muscle endurance so you can pass the ADF fitness test easily.
On a sidenote, the stronger your core is, the better your push-up technique will become, which is also a requirement to pass your PFA.
Remember, core strength is not just about building your abs. The ADF focuses on testing your stamina, your posture and your endurance. Functionality and agility are the most important factors during training and combat, and this is exactly what the ADF test will try to establish for each person.
Have you just realised you need to up your game to meet the application requirements? Check out our resources for further help or get in touch to have a goal setting chat with one of our coaches.
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