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Measuring Your Abdominal Strength

The strength of your abdominal muscles is usually measured by a crunch test. (This test isn't recommended if you have lower-back problems.)

Place two pieces of masking tape about halfway down the length of a mat, one directly behind the other, about 2-1/2 inches apart. Lie on your back on the mat with your arms at your sides and your fingertips touching the rear edge of the back piece of tape. Bend your knees and place your feet flat on the floor. Curl your head, neck, and shoulder blades upward, sliding your palms along the floor until your fingertips touch the front edge of the front piece of tape. Return to the starting position and keep going until you're too tired to continue or you can't reach the tape. Don't cheat by sliding your arms without moving your body or by moving only one side of your body.

Use Tables 3 and 4 to gauge the results of your crunch test.

Table 3: Crunches — Men

Age:

Under 35

36-45

Over 45

Excellent

60

50

40

Good

45

40

25

Marginal

30

25

15

Needs work

15

10

5

Table 4: Crunches — Women

Age:

Under 35

36-45

Over 45

Excellent

50

40

30

Good

40

25

15

Marginal

25

15

10

Needs work

10

6

4

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