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How to Measure Muscular Endurance

author image Michelle Matte
Michelle Matte is an accomplished fitness professional who holds certifications in personal training, pilates, yoga, group exercise and senior fitness. She has developed curricula for personal trainers and group exercise instructors for an international education provider. In her spare time, Matte writes fiction and blogs.
How to Measure Muscular Endurance
A man doing push-ups outside. Photo Credit Guasor/iStock/Getty Images

Muscular endurance refers to the ability to repeat a series of muscle contractions without fatiguing. Two of the most commonly used assessments for muscular endurance are the pushup test and the partial curl-up test. While there are norms tables available for both assessments that establish optimal repetitions according to age and gender, the assessments are most useful for evaluating the effectiveness of your individual exercise program by comparing your progress against your baseline. Be sure to do a brief warmup before you begin.

Pushup Test

Step 1

Lie on the floor and place your hands next to your shoulders. Exhale and extend your elbows, maintaining a rigid posture from your toes to your shoulders. Do not allow your hips to pike or sag, and keep your neck aligned with your spine. If you cannot perform a full-body pushup, perform the assessment with your knees on a mat.

Step 2

Inhale and lower your body until your elbows reach 90 degrees. Maintain your rigid body position. Move slowly, controlling your movement against gravity.

Step 3

Repeat the upward and downward cycle, counting repetitions. Continue until you can no longer perform another repetition with good form. Record your results and use them to compare against future results.

Partial Curl-Up Test

Step 1

Set up the test: Place two strips of tape 10 centimeters apart on the floor next to your mat at mid-point. Set your metronome at 50 beats per minute.

Step 2

Lie on your mat, knees bent at 90 degrees, palms down with your fingertips touching the first tape. On beat one of the metronome, exhale and curl up, lifting your shoulder blades off the mat until your fingertips reach the second piece of tape. On beat two, return to your start position.

Step 3

Perform as many repetitions as you can with good form, keeping time with the metronome. If possible, continue until you complete 25 repetitions, which is the maximum requirement for the assessment. Use the result to measure future fitness progress.

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