Multi-stage fitness test

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The multi-stage fitness test (MSFT), also known as the beep test,[1] bleep test,[1] PACER (Progressive Aerobic Cardiovascular Endurance Run), PACER test, FitnessGram PACER test, or the 20 m Shuttle Run Test (20 m SRT), is a running test used to estimate an athlete's aerobic capacity (VO2 max). The test requires participants to run 20 meters back and forth across a marked track keeping time with beeps. Every minute or so, the next level commences: the time between beeps gets shorter; participants must run faster. If a participant fails to reach the relevant marker in time, they are cautioned. A second caution ends the test for that runner. The number of shuttles completed successfully is recorded as the score of that runner. The score is recorded in Level.Shuttles format (e.g. 9.5).

The test is used by sporting organizations around the world along with schools, the military, and others interested in gauging cardiovascular endurance, an important component of overall physical fitness.[2] The multi-stage fitness test is also part of most health-related fitness test batteries for children and adolescents, such as Eurofit,[3] Alpha-fit,[4] FitnessGram[5][6] and ASSOFTB.[7]

The multi-stage fitness test was first described by Luc Léger[8] with the original 1-minute protocol, which starts at a speed of 8.5 km/h, and increases by 0.5 km/h each minute. Other variations of the test have also been developed, where the protocol starts at a speed of 8.0 km/h and with either 1 or 2-minute stages, but the original protocol is nevertheless recommended.[9] The test appears to encourage maximal effort by children. Additionally, the test's prediction of aerobic capacity is valid for most individuals, including those who are overweight or obese.[10]

Procedure[edit]

Multi-stage fitness test track.png

Prior to the test commencing, runners line up at the 0m marker, facing the 20m marker. Following a countdown, a double beep or voice cue signals the start.

  1. Runners commence running towards the 20m marker
  2. At or before the following beep, runners must reach the 20m marker. Touching with a single foot is acceptable
  3. At or after, but not before, the same beep, runners commence running back to the 0m marker
  4. At or before the next beep, runners must reach the 0m marker
  5. At or after, but not before, the same beep, runners start the next circuit (i.e. back to Step 1)

Every minute or so, the level changes. This is signaled, usually, by a double beep or, possibly, a voice cue. The required speed at the new speed level will be 0.5 km/h faster.

Notes: The distance between the "start" and "turn around" markers is usually 20m; however, the test can also be carried out using a 15m track. Shuttle completion times are modified in proportion.

Leger specified a 1-minute protocol: that is, each level was meant to last approximately 1 minute. However, because speed changes mid-shuttle confuse matters, the algorithm for a change in level is as follows: "the next level commences on completion of the current shuttle when the absolute difference between the time spent at the level and 60 seconds is the least".

Scoring[edit]

A runner who fails to reach the relevant marker in time is cautioned; if they want to continue, they must touch the marker before turning back. Two consecutive failures terminates their attempt. Their most recent successfully completed shuttle is marked as their score.

Scoring is usually done using "Level.Shuttle" terminology; for example, 10.2, which means "completed 2 shuttles at level 10".

Test Details[edit]

The tables below describe the specifics of each of the 20m and 15m test.

20 Meter Test[edit]

Level Laps Cumulative

Laps

Speed

(kph)

Speed

(mph)

Lap

Time (s)

Level Time

(s)

Level

Distance

(m)

Cumulative

distance

(m)

Cumulative

Time

(mm:ss)

1 7 7 8.5 5.3 8.47 59.3 140 140 00:59
2 8 15 9.0 5.6 8.00 64.0 160 300 02:03
3 8 23 9.5 5.9 7.58 60.6 160 460 03:04
4 8 31 10.0 6.2 7.20 57.6 160 620 04:02
5 9 40 10.5 6.5 6.86 61.7 180 800 05:03
6 9 49 11.0 6.8 6.55 58.9 180 980 06:02
7 10 59 11.5 7.1 6.26 62.6 200 1180 07:05
8 10 69 12.0 7.5 6.00 60.0 200 1380 08:05
9 10 79 12.5 7.8 5.76 57.6 200 1580 09:02
10 11 90 13.0 8.1 5.54 60.9 220 1800 10:03
11 11 101 13.5 8.4 5.33 58.7 220 2020 11:02
12 12 113 14.0 8.7 5.14 61.7 240 2260 12:04
13 12 125 14.5 9.0 4.97 59.6 240 2500 13:03
14 13 138 15.0 9.3 4.80 62.4 260 2760 14:06
15 13 151 15.5 9.6 4.65 60.4 260 3020 15:06
16 13 164 16.0 9.9 4.50 58.5 260 3280 16:05
17 14 178 16.5 10.3 4.36 61.1 280 3560 17:06
18 14 192 17.0 10.6 4.24 59.3 280 3840 18:05
19 15 207 17.5 10.9 4.11 61.7 300 4140 19:07
20 15 222 18.0 11.2 4.00 60.0 300 4440 20:07
21 15 237 18.5 11.5 3.89 58.4 300 4740 21:05

15 Meter Test[edit]

Level Laps Cumulative

Laps

Speed

(kph)

Speed

(mph)

Lap Time

(s)

Level Time

(s)

Level

Distance

(m)

Cumulative

distance

(m)

Cumulative

Time

(mm:ss)

1 9 9 8.5 5.3 6.35 57.2 135 135 00:57
2 10 19 9.0 5.6 6.00 60.0 150 285 01:57
3 11 30 9.5 5.9 5.68 62.5 165 450 03:00
4 11 41 10.0 6.2 5.40 59.4 165 615 03:59
5 12 53 10.5 6.5 5.14 61.7 180 795 05:01
6 12 65 11.0 6.8 4.91 58.9 180 975 06:00
7 13 78 11.5 7.1 4.70 61.0 195 1170 07:01
8 13 91 12.0 7.5 4.50 58.5 195 1365 07:59
9 14 105 12.5 7.8 4.32 60.5 210 1575 09:00
10 14 119 13.0 8.1 4.15 58.2 210 1785 09:58
11 15 134 13.5 8.4 4.00 60.0 225 2010 10:58
12 16 150 14.0 8.7 3.86 61.7 240 2250 12:00
13 16 166 14.5 9.0 3.72 59.6 240 2490 12:59
14 17 183 15.0 9.3 3.60 61.2 255 2745 14:00
15 17 200 15.5 9.6 3.48 59.2 255 3000 15:00
16 18 218 16.0 9.9 3.38 60.8 270 3270 16:00
17 18 236 16.5 10.3 3.27 58.9 270 3540 16:59
18 19 255 17.0 10.6 3.18 60.4 285 3825 18:00
19 19 274 17.5 10.9 3.09 58.6 285 4110 18:58
20 20 294 18.0 11.2 3.00 60.0 300 4410 19:58
21 21 315 18.5 11.5 2.92 61.3 315 4725 21:00

Estimating VO2 max[edit]

VO2 max, or milliliters of oxygen per kilogram of body mass per minute (e.g., mL/(kg·min)), is considered an excellent proxy for aerobic fitness.[11] Attempts have been made to correlate MSFT scores with VO2 max. Do note that such estimations are fraught with difficulty as test scores, while substantially dependent on VO2 max, also depend on running efficiency, test familiarity, anaerobic capacity, personal drive, ambient temperature, running equipment (floor, shoes) and other factors.


A paper by Flouris, et al (2005) determined the following:

[12]


An earlier paper by Ramsbottom, et al (1988) suggested the following:

[13]

Variations and their Impact[edit]

Luc Léger, the originator of the multi-stage fitness test, never did patent it. Consequently, organizations around the world have been able to incorporate subtle variations into the test. The most common variations are:

First Level at 8.0 km/h[edit]

The Léger test requires the first level to be run at 8.5 km/h. Some organizations require it to be run at 8.0 km/h. Note that the second level is always run at 9.0 km/h. Also, speeds at subsequent levels always increment by 0.5 km/h. The impact of this variation is insignificant as almost all runners' scores easily exceed level 1.

Time Spent at Each Level[edit]

All versions of the test evaluate for a change of level only on completion of shuttles. The Léger test's algorithm requires that each level lasts approximately 60 seconds. This means the next level commences when the absolute difference between the time spent at the level and 60 seconds is least. Put simply, some levels may run for a trifle less than 60 seconds, others a little more than 60 seconds and the odd one exactly 60 seconds. On the other hand, a few non-Léger versions of the test trigger a level change only when the time spent at a level first exceeds 60 seconds. This variation results in one extra shuttle being run at some levels.

In practice, since the speed change at a new level (rather than an extra lap) is most likely to trigger "failure", this variation also has an insignificant change on one's achievable score.

Scoring Starts from Zero[edit]

Scoring of the Léger test starts from 1. That is, at the end of the very first shuttle, the participant has scored 1.1. A variation has scoring starting from 0; at the end of the first shuttle, the runner has achieved 0.1. The impact of this variation is purely administrative: just add or subtract 1 to convert scores.

Standards[edit]

The table below indicates some of the standards applied by various organizations.

Organization Type of organization Country Minimum level attained Comments
Airservices Australia[14] Aviation rescue and fire fighting Australia 9.6
Australian Army Military Australia 7.5 Preliminary Fitness Test Standard required prior to enlistment.[3]
Australian Federal Police Police Australia 6.5 Source: [4]
Australian Special Forces Military Australia 10.1 Preliminary Fitness Test Standard required prior to direct recruitment scheme.[5]
Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Melbourne) Fire/emergency response Australia 9.6 Source: [6]
Metropolitan Fire Service South Australia Fire/emergency response Australia 9.6 Stage 3: Physical Aptitude Test 1 (PAT 1) - Shuttle Run[15]
New South Wales Police Force Police Australia 7.1 7.1 initial entry, various specialist units have higher requirements. Source: [7]
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Fire/emergency response Australia 9.6 Source: [8]
Queensland Police Service Police Australia 6.3 to 9.4 (male), 5.1 to 7.5 (female) Source: [9]
Royal Australian Air Force Military Australia 6.5 Source: [10]
Royal Australian Navy Military Australia 6.1 Source: [11]
South Australia Police Police Australia 9.04 (male), 6.10 (female) Age 18-29. Varies by age [12]
Western Australia Fire & Rescue Service Fire Australia 9.6 + Source: [13]
Western Australia Police Police Australia 8.1 to 10.1+ (male), 6.1 to 7.1 (female) Source: [14]
Western Australian Rugby Union Referees[citation needed] Sport Australia 10.5 (Premier Grade), 9.5 (Reserve Grade)
Victoria Police[16] Police Australia 5.1 All ages (updated 23/7/2012 to new standards)
China (Ministry of Education and Culture) School China Grade depends on number of laps and age, minimum for a pass is a 5.9 Final grade from the test determines whether or not the student requires extra

and more intense physical education lessons.

Calgary Police Service Police Canada 7.0 Source: [15]
Canadian Forces Military Canada 6.0 (male), 4.0 (female) (under 35) Replaced in 2013 by FORCE Evaluation[17]
Canadian Special Operations Regiment Military Canada 9-10 for passing score, 11-12 for average score, 13+ for highest score Source: [16] Found on page 22
Edmonton Police Service Police Canada 7.0 Source: [17]
Ontario Provincial Police Police Canada 7.0 Source: [18]
Royal Canadian Air Cadets[citation needed]| 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[citation needed]| 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[citation needed] 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 Military College of Canada Military Canada 9.5 (male), 7.5 (female) Source: [19]
Finland (Ministry of Education and Culture) School Finland Use in grading is prohibited.[18] Part of a physical fitness test, mandatory for all schools.[19][20] Replaces the earlier Cooper test.[18]
1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment Military France 10 Source: [20]
French Foreign Legion Military France 7 Source: [21]
Police officer Police France 6.5 Source: [22]
Royal New Zealand Air Force Military New Zealand 7.10 (male); 5.9 (female) Source: [23]
Royal New Zealand Army Military New Zealand 9.2 (male); 7.3 (female) Source: [24]
Royal New Zealand Navy Military New Zealand 7.10 (male); 5.9 (female) Source: [25]
Slovenian Ice hockey referee Association Ice hockey referee training program Slovenia 9.0 for passing Part of the new Fitness program. Used to track referee fitness improvements off the ice off the season.
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 level of fitness is maintained
Guàrdia Urbana de Barcelona Police Spain 7.1 7.1 initial entry, but that is the bare minimum to have your mark considered. Realistically, an aspirant officer should get more than 9.
Swedish Army, Norrbotten Regiment I19 Mechanized Brigade Reconnaissance Sweden 9.5 for entry-level qualification Each applicant will perform the test after completing basic training
British Army[21] Military UK 7.1 to pass for most soldier roles 7.9: Royal Artillery or Royal Engineers, 8.7: Royal Armoured Corps or Infantry, 11.6: Parachute Regiment
England and Wales Police UK 5.4 (general roles) to 10.5 15 meter track length with different timings to the 20 meter SRT. Source: [26]
Police Scotland[22] Police UK 5.4 15 Metre shuttle only. 9.4 ARV Operator. 10.5 CTSFO.
Royal Air Force[23] Military UK 9.10 (male), 7.2 (female)
Royal Air Force Regiment[23] Military UK 11.7 (male)
Royal Marines[24][25] Military UK 10.5 satisfactory: 12, aim: 13+
Rugby Football referee (England (RFU)) Sport UK 10.4 for development squads, 12+ for elite referees Source: [27]
New York City Department of Education School USA Grade depends on number of laps, age, and other body characteristics. 15 meter lap length. Uses a customized version of the FitnessGram PACER test.[26]
Police officer Police Belgium 7 (male), 5.15 (female) (under 40) Due to the current health situation (Covid-19), the functional course, will be temporarily replaced by the beep test as of 13 July 2020.[27]

World record[edit]

Participation[edit]

The Guinness World Record for the largest group beep test is held by Army Foundation College, in Harrogate, North Yorkshire where 941 men and women and children took part.[28]

In popular culture[edit]

The introductory explanation of one multi-stage fitness test, the FitnessGram PACER test, has been widely spread as a copypasta, meme and in other comedic ways due to the test's modern use in schools, primarily in physical education classes.[29]

"The FitnessGram™ PACER Test is a multistage aerobic capacity test that progressively gets more difficult as it continues. The 20-meter pacer test will begin in 30 seconds. Line up at the start. The running speed starts slowly but gets faster each minute after you hear this signal. [beep] A single lap should be completed each time you hear this sound. [ding] Remember to run in a straight line, and run as long as possible. The second time you fail to complete a lap before the sound, your test is over. The test will begin on the word start. On your mark, get ready, start."

Episode 12 of the Australian children's comedy show Little Lunch is called 'The Beep Test'. The plot revolves around the school students' reactions to participating in the multi-stage fitness test.[30]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Beep Test Instructions". www.topendsports.com. Retrieved 2021-02-10.
  2. ^ "Variations of the Beep Test". Top End Sports.
  3. ^ Коlіmесhkоv, Ѕ. (2017). Рhуѕісаl fіtnеѕѕ аѕѕеѕѕmеnt іn сhіldrеn аnd аdоlеѕсеntѕ: а ѕуѕtеmаtіс rеvіеw. Еurореаn Јоurnаl оf Рhуѕісаl Еduсаtіоn аnd Ѕроrt Ѕсіеnсе, 3(4), 65-78. https://www.stk-sport.co.uk/sports-science-research-ejpess-vol-3-2017.html
  4. ^ Коlіmесhkоv, Ѕ. (2017). Рhуѕісаl fіtnеѕѕ аѕѕеѕѕmеnt іn сhіldrеn аnd аdоlеѕсеntѕ: а ѕуѕtеmаtіс rеvіеw. Еurореаn Јоurnаl оf Рhуѕісаl Еduсаtіоn аnd Ѕроrt Ѕсіеnсе, 3(4), 65-78. https://www.stk-sport.co.uk/sports-science-research-ejpess-vol-3-2017.html
  5. ^ "FitnessGram PACER Test". FitnessGram - The Cooper Institute. Retrieved 12 Sep 2020.
  6. ^ Коlіmесhkоv, Ѕ. (2017). Рhуѕісаl fіtnеѕѕ аѕѕеѕѕmеnt іn сhіldrеn аnd аdоlеѕсеntѕ: а ѕуѕtеmаtіс rеvіеw. Еurореаn Јоurnаl оf Рhуѕісаl Еduсаtіоn аnd Ѕроrt Ѕсіеnсе, 3(4), 65-78. https://www.stk-sport.co.uk/sports-science-research-ejpess-vol-3-2017.html
  7. ^ Bianco, Antonino & Jemni, Monèm & Thomas, Ewan & Patti, Antonino & Paoli, Antonio & Roque, Joana & Palma, Antonio & Mammina, Caterina & Tabacchi, Garden. (2015). ASSO-FTB.
  8. ^ Léger, L.; Lambert, J.; Goulet, A.; Rowan, C.; Dinelle, Y. (June 1984). "[Aerobic capacity of 6 to 17-year-old Quebecois--20 meter shuttle run test with 1 minute stages]". Journal Canadien des Sciences Appliquées au Sport. 9 (2): 64–69. ISSN 0700-3978. PMID 6733834.
  9. ^ Tomkinson, Grant R.; Léger, Luc A.; Olds, Tim S.; Cazorla, Georges (2003). "Secular trends in the performance of children and adolescents (1980-2000): an analysis of 55 studies of the 20m shuttle run test in 11 countries". Sports Medicine. 33 (4): 285–300. doi:10.2165/00007256-200333040-00003. ISSN 0112-1642. PMID 12688827. S2CID 25864098.
  10. ^ Voss, Christine; Sandercock, Gavin (February 2009). "Does the twenty meter shuttle-run test elicit maximal effort in 11- to 16-year-olds?". Pediatric Exercise Science. 21 (1): 55–62. doi:10.1123/pes.21.1.55. ISSN 0899-8493. PMID 19411711.
  11. ^ Howley ET, Bassett DR Jr, Welch HG. Criteria for maximal oxygen uptake: review and commentary. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1995;27(9):1292-1301.
  12. ^ Flouris, A D; Metsios, G S; Koutedakis, Y (2005). "Enhancing the efficacy of the 20 m multistage shuttle run test". Br J Sports Med. 39 (3): 166–170. doi:10.1136/bjsm.2004.012500. PMC 1725157. PMID 15728698.
  13. ^ Ramsbottom R, Brewer J, Williams C A progressive shuttle run test to estimate maximal oxygen uptake. British Journal of Sports Medicine 1988;22:141-144.
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ "Stage 3: Physical Aptitude Test 1 (PAT 1) - Shuttle Run - SAMFS". 2020-11-30. Archived from the original on 2020-11-30. Retrieved 2020-11-30.
  16. ^ "Data". police.vic.gov.au.
  17. ^ Services, Personnel Support Programs, Assoc DG Personnel and Family Support (February 2013). "About the FORCE Program". cfmws.com. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Miksi rankkana pidettyä piip-testiä tehdään pienillekin lapsille? "Huomattavasti armollisempi kuin Cooperin testi"". 2018-09-17.
  19. ^ "Oppilas sai sairauskohtauksen liikuntatunnilla ja kuoli - Espoo keskeyttää Move-testit".
  20. ^ "Move! - Move!-mittaus".
  21. ^ "British Army Jobs - Be the Best - Apply Online - British Army". www.army.mod.uk.
  22. ^ "Standards". scotland.police.uk.]
  23. ^ a b "RAF Recruitment - Home". www.raf.mod.uk.
  24. ^ "Stage 2 Fitness Test | Potential Royal Marines Course (PRMC)". www.royalnavy.mod.uk.
  25. ^ [2]
  26. ^ "Learn About NYC FITNESSGRAM". NYC Department of Education School Wellness Programs.
  27. ^ "Sportproef | Jobpol". www.jobpol.be. Retrieved 2021-02-17.
  28. ^ Guinness World Records. "Most participants in a bleep test". Guinness World Records.
  29. ^ "FitnessGram Pacer Test". memeorigins.net. 27 March 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  30. ^ "Little Lunch". ABC Television. Retrieved 2017-07-19.

External links[edit]