20 meter Shuttle Run

Also known as the Multi-stage Fitness Test, Bleep Test, Beep Test, Pacer Test, or Leger Test.

Performing this test:

  • Participants run continuously between two points at a fixed 20-meter distance. Each 20 meter distance completed is called a “shuttle”.
  • The test is broken down into a number of levels of approximately 1 minute each, with each level requiring a fixed number of shuttles to be completed within the allocated level time.
  • At level one, the running speed required to complete each shuttle is usually 8.5 km/h, with each subsequent level increasing the speed by 0.5 km/h.
  • A recorded or generated beep is played to indicate the time by which a participant must have completed a shuttle.
  • A shuttle is considered completed when the participant’s foot touches the next 20 meter mark.
  • If participants arrive at the the 20 meter mark before the next beep sounds, they must wait for the beep before running again.
  • If participants fail to reach the 20 meter mark by the next beep, they must increase their pace to make up the lost time within the space of 2 more beeps
  • The test stops when the participant fails to arrive within 2 meters of the 20 meter mark for two consecutive shuttles.
  • The participant’s score is given as a combination of the level reached and the number of shuttle completed at that level.
    • E.g.: as score of 9/3 indicates the participant has completed 3 shuttles at level 9.

20meterShuttleScores

Why do this test?

  • The test provides a good indicator of the participant’s overall aerobic health
  • Test results can be used to predict a participant’s VO2 Max (maximum oxygen uptake)

Things I like about this test:

  • It’s a relatively straight forward test to perform
  • The test is commonly used worldwide as a means to assess the fitness of participants where maintaining a minimum standard of physical health is a requirement for various occupations.
  • Low test results can provide indicators not only of poor fitness, but can also be used to identify situations where running technique may be improved. Therefore the test itself can be used as a training tool to measure and track performance improvements as well as aerobic health.
  • Performing the test can itself provide a good aerobic workout.

Things I dislike about this test:

  • Many factors can influence the outcomes of this test, such as the weather conditions (particularly temperature), running technique, and the participant’s mental preparation.
  • Specific training and preparation for the test can result in a better test result, however this has the potential to artificially alter the participant’s actual result in terms of aerobic efficiency and health.
  • Additional equipment is required, including speakers and either a laptop with testing software, or a cd player, recording sheets, a measuring tape and cones.
  • The test cannot be conducted alone, requiring at least one additional person available to start/stop the beeps, record the participant’s progress, and to determine and track when the participant has fallen behind far enough to consider the test at an end. In particular, when testing larger groups of people, it generally requires additional people to track multiple participants.

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