The Wheelchair Beep Test

The Wheelchair Beep Test is a modification of the running beep test, though to assess the aerobic capacity of wheelchair users (Vanderthommen et al., 2002). Participants are required to push the wheelchair continuously around a 15m square course in time to progressively faster audio signals.

Equipment Required: flat hard non-slip surface, tape measure, marker cones, audio file (specific to this test), audio player, speakers, recording sheets and pen.

Preparations: Make sure the participants are adequately prepared: well-rested, hydrated and fueled, and familiar with the test procedure and motivated to perform maximally. Give clear instructions about the test and what is expected of them.

Course layout: An octagonal course is marked out using cones (see diagram). The course is basically a 15 x 15 meter square, with each corner modified to create a 2.83 m long turning zone. The four main sides of the octagon are 11 m long. The corner zones avoid the necessity to make a sharp 90 degree turn.

Procedure: Participants should start in one of the corner zones. Up to four people can be tested at once if placed at different corners to start. The subjects are allowed to use their own personal wheelchair and are free to choose the direction of rotation for the test (clockwise or counterclockwise). The participants begin when instructed by the audio recording, aiming to be at each corner turning zone in time to audio beeps. Each stage lasts approximately one minute. The athletes continue in time with the audio signals with no rest period. They must continue for as long as they can - the test is ceased when the athlete falls two or more meters short of a turning zone, or when the subject feels they cannot continue. Strong verbal encouragement should be given to provoke maximal effort.

Test Timing: The initial wheeling velocity is 6 km/hr, which is increased by 0.37 km/hr in one minute stages.

Scoring: The athlete's score is the distance covered before they were unable to keep up with the recording.

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