My boyfriend Adam is a Navy officer. Naval officers, like all other military officers, have to undergo periodic fitness tests to see that they are maintaining physical abilities. It's pretty simple, akin to what they made us do in junior high - run 1.5 miles for time, do as many sit ups as you can in 2 minutes, and do as many push ups as you can in 2 minutes. There are also bodyfat/weight measurements and requirements. There are minimum scores to reach or you fail your fitness test. Some people try to "max out" the fitness test by getting the highest possible score. For females age 20-29, max scores are: 105 sit ups, 48 push ups, and run 1.5 mi in 9:47.
Incidentally, that is why I was training to do 50 push ups in a row and 105 sit ups before my surgery!! I just wanted to see if I could theoretically max out the fitness test. I had gotten up to 50+ push ups and hadn't worked too much on the sit ups. I was about to start training for pull ups - I wanted to do at least 10 in a row from a dead hang (and going all the way back down in between). I could do 6. Now I can do one (or last Wednesday I did one... well, I did three, but one at a time!!)
If you fail the Navy fitness test - (for men that means fewer than 46 sit ups, 37 push ups and slower than 13:30 on the run; females it's fewer than 46 sit ups, 16 push ups and slower than 15:30 run) - you have to go to training sessions until you can pass. (Standards are here.)
This week, Adam will be leading one of these training sessions!! He always max-es out the test and his commander "volun-told" him to be a fitness coordinator for the fitness test. He says it's more a burden they stuck a junior officer with than an honor, but they wouldn't have given it to someone not in great shape, I told him!!
I was helping him come up with some functional training ideas to help with sit ups and push ups. Core strength is really important for both, so I recommended bodyweight squat variations like one-legged squats (no equipment will be available), the plank and variations, and burpees. As for any exercise, at the end of the day, you get good at the exercises you train for, so that just means doing a ton of push ups and sit ups!!! By the way, Alwyn Cosgrove has a great article on the Top 10 Tips for Athletic Conditioning.
Wish I could join in the fun, but I'll be radioactive!!