A physical model testing method to determine the hydrodynamic force coefficients of an object is proposed and applied to an articulated concrete mattress placed on a flat surface under steady current condition. The test setup, which comprises of a pulley system that is able to pull the concrete mattress in either direction relative to the flow (e.g., with the flow direction or against the flow direction) and one load cell to measure the force required to pull the mattress, is simple and straightforward. Writing the equations of load balance for two different pulling directions allows the force coefficients to be deduced. The novelty and advantages of the method are that it completely removes the difficulties associated with measuring forces on individual concrete blocks and isolating the mattresses from contacting the solid surface, which were common in conventional test methods for measuring hydrodynamic forces on structures founded on a solid surface. A series of flume tests have been conducted to demonstrate the validity of the proposed method. It is expected that the proposed testing method is applicable to a wide range of structures, bed surfaces and flow conditions.