The Beep Test
The Beep Test was invented in Canada during the early 1980s, and was first performed at The University of Montreal.
The beep test, often also called the multi-stage fitness test or shuttle run is a fitness test that’s fantastic for gauging and improving your cardio conditioning and testing your maximum oxygen uptake (known as your VO2 max). The beep test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 meters apart (also found in 15 meters). These runs are synchronised with a pre-recorded audio tape, CD or laptop which plays beeps at set intervals. As the beep test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep reduces, forcing the athlete to increase velocity over the course of the beep test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording.
There’s no messing around with the beep test, it’s all or nothing. You run until you’re done.
You see, the beep test is designed to take you to that absolute maximum level. Other forms of cardio are damn well effective, but if stoking the metabolism’s fire is the goal, how could anything else be even better. It can’t. In the beep test, you run until you physically cannot reach your target any more – its that simple.
Benefits Of The Beep Test
The beep test has a number of great benefits, hence why it’s so often used as a method of increasing cardio endurance and a level of testing for physically demanding sports and jobs…
- Test & Increase VO2 max
- Realistic Measure Of An Individuals Fitness
- Burn Calories
- Pushes You To The Brink (Tests Grit & Increases Mental Fortitude)
Beep Test Levels
To put these scores into perspective:
- The Australian Army require a minimum of a 7.5
- The Royal Australian Airforce requires a mnimum of 6.5
- The Australian Navy requires a minimum of 6.1
- Fire Brigades require a minimum of 9.6
- The Australian Police Force require a score between level 9 and 10
Now for a primer on these levels so the above table makes sense…
Each level is just over 60 seconds in duration.
The level one speed is 8.5km per hour, each following level your speed increases by half a kilometre per hour until you reach the end of the line, level 21.
At least 21 you’re gunning it at 18.5km per hour.
The 20m shuttle time for the first level is 9 seconds per shuttle; the shuttle time for level 21 (while running 18.5km per hour) is sub 4 seconds!
- When you reach level 5 you will have been running for 5 minutes and 14 seconds.
- When you reach level 10 you will have been running for 10 minutes and 32 seconds.
- When you reach level 14 you will have been running for 14 minutes and 45 seconds.
How To Perform The Beep Test
Now it’s your turn… here’s how to set up your beep test the right way:
- Measure out a 20 metre distance and mark out the start and end point with a cone or similiar marker.
- Perform a basic dynamic lower body warm-up routine and jog a couple of practise shuttles.
- Time to get to it!
- You must place one foot on or beyond the 20 metre cone at the end of each shuttle.
- If you arrive at the end of a shuttle before the beep, you must wait for the following beep and then continue running, no jumping the proverbial gun here.
- Keeps running for as long as possible until you’re unable to keep up the pace of the beep shuttle intervals.
- If you fail to reach the end of the shuttle before the beep you’re allowed 2 more shuttle rounds to attempt to regain the required pace.
- Once you’ve hit failure and can’t keep up the pace after an additional 2 shuttle rounds record the level and number of shuttles performed on that level.
- Check out how your score holds up compared to the table and defence force requires in the table above!
- Perform the beep test every now and then as a means of measuring your cardio conditioning and progress increasing your VO2 maximum.