Multi-stage fitness test
The multi-stage fitness test, also known as the bleep test, beep test, pacer test, Leger-test or 20-m shuttle run test, is a series of stages that have different tasks sometimes used by sports coaches and trainers to estimate an athlete's VO2 max (maximum oxygen uptake).The pacer test is "progressive aerobic cardiovascular endurance test". The test is especially useful for players of sports such as rugby, football, Australian rules football, Gaelic football, hurling, hockey, netball, handball, tennis, squash, and fitness testing in schools and colleges plus many other sports; employed by many international sporting teams as an accurate test of cardiovascular fitness, one of the more important components of Fitness. The test was created in 1982 by Luc Leger, University of Montreal and published in 1983 with a starting speed of 8 km/h and stages of 2 min duration. The test was re-published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology in 1988 in its present form with a starting speed of 8.5 km/h and 1 min stages under the name "The multistage 20 metre shuttle run test for aerobic fitness". Result equivalences between slightly modified versions are well explained by Tomkinson et al. in 2003.
The test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 meters apart from side to side. These runs are synchronized with a pre-recorded audio tape, CD or laptop software, which plays beeps at set intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep decreases, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording (or, in rare occasions, if the athlete is able to complete the test). Many people who test people using the multi-stage fitness test allow one level to beep before the person makes the line, but if the person being tested does not make the next interval then the most recent level they completed is their final score. The recording is typically structured into 21 'levels', each of which lasts around 62 seconds. Usually, the interval of beeps is calculated as requiring a speed at the start of 8.5 km/h, increasing by 0.5 km/h with each level thereafter. The progression from one level to the next is signaled by 3 quick beeps. The highest level attained before failing to keep up is recorded as the score for that test.
|Organization||Type of organization||Country||Minimum level attained||Comments|
|Western Australian Rugby Union Referees||Sport||Australia||10.5 (Premier Grade), 9.5 (Reserve Grade)|
|Rugby Football referee||Sport||England (RFU)||10.4 for development squads, 12+ for elite referees||Source: |
|British Army Officer||Military||UK||10.2 (male), 8.1 (female)||Source: |
|Royal Air Force||Military||UK||9.10 (male), 7.2 (female)||Source: |
|Royal Marines||Military||UK||13||Source: |
|Parachute Regiment||Military||UK||13||Source: |
|Airservices Australia||Aviation rescue and fire fighting||Australia||9.6||Source: |
|Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Melbourne)||Fire/emergency response||Australia||9.6||Source: |
|Fire and Rescue NSW||Fire/emergency response||Australia||9.6 (Permanents) 8.7 (Retained/Part Timers)||Source: |
|Royal Military College of Canada||Military||Canada||9.5 (male), 7.5 (female)||Source: |
|Scottish Police||Police||UK||9.2 (male), 7.3 (female) (aged 18–29) - 15 Metre shuttle only||Source: |
|South Australia Police||Police||Australia||9.04 (male), 6.10 (female)||Age 18-29. Varies by age |
|Queensland Fire and Rescue Service||Fire/emergency response||Australia||8.7||Source: |
|Western Australia Police||Police||Australia||8.1 to 10.1+ (male), 6.1 to 7.1 (female)||Source: |
|Australian Army||Military||Australia||7.5||Preliminary Fitness Test Standard required prior to enlistment.|
|Australian Special Forces||Military||Australia||10.1||Preliminary Fitness Test Standard required prior to direct recruitment scheme.|
|Royal New Zealand Navy||Military||New Zealand||7.1||Minimum Fitness Level. Source: |
|French Foreign Legion||Military||France||7||Source: |
|Royal Australian Navy||Military||Australia||6.9 to 7.4||Source: |
|Royal Australian Air Force||Military||Australia||6.5||Source: |
|Australian Federal Police||Police||Australia||6.5||Source: |
|Ontario Provincial Police||Police||Canada||6.5||Source: |
|Queensland Police Service||Police||Australia||6.3 to 9.4 (male), 5.1 to 7.5 (female)||Source: |
|Canadian Forces||Military||Canada||6.0 (male), 4.0 (female) (under 35)||Replaced in 2013 by FORCE Evaluation|
|English and Welsh Police||Police||UK||5.4 (general roles) to 10.5||Source: |
|Victoria Police||Police||Australia||5.1 (updated 23/7/2012 to new standards)||All ages|
|New South Wales Police Force||Police||Australia||7.1||7.1 initial entry, various specialist units have higher requirements. Source: |
|Royal Canadian Air Cadets| Paramilitary Youth Program||Paramilitary Youth Program||Canada||Depends on age||Part of the new 'Fitness and Incentive' program. Used to track improvements in fitness level. Fitness badges may be earned.|
|Royal Canadian Army Cadets| Paramilitary Youth Program||Paramilitary Youth Program||Canada||Depends on age||Part of the new 'Fitness and Incentive' program. Used to track improvements in fitness level. Fitness badges may be earned.|
|Royal Canadian Sea Cadets||Paramilitary Youth Program||Canada||Depends on age||Part of the new 'Fitness and Incentive' program. Used to track improvements in fitness level. Fitness badges may be earned.|
|Blue Bulls Rugby Referee Association||Rugby referee training program||South Africa||9.9 for entry level qualification||minimum level increases as a candidate move up in the ranks to ensure that a proper levellof fitness is maintained|
The original beep test was first only available on audio tape format. A problem with the tape was that it could stretch over time, or the tape player did not play at a consistent speed, therefore making the timing between beeps inaccurate. On most versions of the tape there was a one minute recorded interval for calibrating the tape and tape player. Digital audio formats are now used predominantly. Calibration checks are still required on the CD/MP3 due to some tone controls affecting the playback speed.
Inexpensive PC Beep Test Software is very popular due to the advantage of having no timing errors/accurate to 1/100th of a second, as used by the top team coaches. This generally runs on a Laptop, making the beep/bleep test easier to organise for teams/groups and also tracks player fitness over the season.
These following table is based on the nowadays used form starting with 8.5 km/h and stages of 1 min as described in Leger's and Lambert's paper of 1988.
|average boy to complete||average girl to complete|
- TESTING PHYSICAL FITNESS, EUROFIT Experimental Battery PROVISIONAL HANDBOOK, STRASBOURG 1983 http://www.bitworks-engineering.co.uk/linked/eurofit%20provisional%20handbook%20leger%20beep%20test%201983.pdf
- Léger, L.A.; Mercier, D.; Gadoury, C.; Lambert, J. (1988). "The multistage 20 metre shuttle run test for aerobic fitness". J Sports Sci 6 (2): 93–101. doi:10.1080/02640418808729800. PMID 3184250.
- Tomkinson, GR, Léger, L., Olds, TS, Cazorla, G., Secular trends in the performance of children and adolescents (1980-2000) An analysis of 55 studies of the 20 m shuttle run in 11 countries. Sports Medicine, 33:285-300, 2003. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12688827
- A D Flouris, G S Metsios, Y Koutedakis, (2005) Enhancing the efficacy of the 20 m multistage shuttle run test. Br J Sports Med 39:166–170.
- Léger, L.; Mercier, D. (1984). "Gross energy cost of horizontal treadmill and track running.". Sports Med 1 (4): 270–7. doi:10.2165/00007256-198401040-00003. PMID 6390604.