The multistage fitness test is a commonly used maximal running aerobic fitness test. It is also known as the 20 meter shuttle run test, beep or bleep test among others. For more information, the complete guide to the beepcan be found here
equipment required: Flat, non-slip surface, marking cones, 20m measuring tape, cd or pre-recorded audio tape, cd or tape recorder, recording sheets.
description: This test involves continuous running between two lines 20m apart in time to recorded beeps. For this reason the test if also often called the 'beep' or 'bleep' test. The test subjects stand behind one of the lines facing the second line, and begin running when instructed by the cd or tape. The speed at the start is quite slow. The subject continues running between the two lines, turning when signaled by the recorded beeps. After about one minute, a sound indicates an increase in speed, and the beeps will be closer together. This continues each minute (level). If the line is not reached in time for each beep, the subject must run to the line turn and try to catch up with the pace within 2 more ‘beeps’. Also, if the line is reached before the beep sounds, the subject must wait until the beep sounds. The test is stopped if the subject fails to reach the line (within 2 meters) for two consecutive ends. There are several versions of the test, but one commonly used version has an initial running velocity of 8.5 km/hr, which increases by 0.5 km/hr each minute (more on test variations
scoring: The athletes score is the level and number of shuttles (20m) reached before they were unable to keep up with the recording. This score can be converted to a VO2max equivalent score using this
target population: this test is suitable for sports teams and school groups, but not for populations in which a maximal exercise test would be contraindicated.
validity: There are published VO2max score equivalents for each level reached The correlation to actual VO2max scores is high.
reliability: Reliability would depend on how strictly the test is run, and the practice allowed for the subjects.
advantages: Large groups can perform this test all at once for minimal costs. Also, the test continues to maximum effort unlike many other tests of endurance capacity.
disadvantages: Practice and motivation levels can influence the score attained, and the scoring can be subjective. As the test is often conducted outside, the environmental conditions can affect the results.