How to Conduct the Beep Fitness Test

The beep test is an aerobic fitness test, which involves running between markers 20 meters apart, following audio cues which dictate the running speed required. At regular intervals, the required running speed increases. The test continues until the participants are no longer able to keep up with the required pace.

Equipment Required: (see more)

Course layout: Cones or tape is used to mark out the desired course. Two lines are required, 20 meters apart.

Preparations: Make sure the participants are adequately prepared: well-rested, hydrated and fueled, and familiar with the test procedure and motivated to perform maximally. (see preparing for the beep test for more details). Give clear and standardized instructions about the test and what is expected of them (see an example instruction), including the importance of keeping in time to the recording and completing the full 20m run.

Starting the Test: All participants should line up along the starting line. The athletes start with a foot behind the line, and begin running when instructed by the audio recording. The athlete turns when signaled by the recorded audio beep at the line 20 meters away, and returns to the starting point, where they turn again. The athletes continue running in time with the audio signals with no rest period.

During the test: The participant continues shuttling back and forth between the two lines 20 meters apart, in time to the audio cues. The athlete must not start running early, must run the complete distance, and reach each line before or in time with the recording. At regular intervals, the time between the audio signals will reduce, and consequently the required running speed will increase. The starting speed for the commonly used version is 8.5km/hr, and increases by 0.5km/hr approximately every minute. For more details see the table of speeds and distances.

Finishing the test: The participants must continue for as long as they can. Some of the athletes will choose to stop when they have reached their physical limit. For others, you will need to give a warning as they drop behind the required pace or make one of the errors listed below. On the second infraction you pull them out of the test.

You give a warning when the participant ...

Scoring: the participant's score is the level achieved plus the number of the last complete successful shuttle. There is a scoring sheet to keep track of athlete scores during the test. See more about scoring.

Interpretation: You can use the table of norms to work out a fitness rating based on the beep test score. There is also a beep test calculator to work out VO2max and get a fitness rating, and a conversion table to estimate VO2max for each result.

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