Bleep fitness tests


The beep test, also sometimes referred to as the ‘bleep test’, has a variety of names. Most formally it is known as the ‘multi stage fitness test’, but also goes under the title of the ‘Leger test’, ‘pacer test’ and ‘20m shuttle run test’. Whatever the name, the test is a standardised assessment of a person’s fitness levels. It is an extremely simple but powerful test that allows you to estimate your VO2 capacity and benchmark yourself. In short, it’s a great tool for working out if your fitness levels are up to scratch.

The great news is that the bleep test gives you an objective measurement to work out if your fitness is up to the level you need. And it’s brilliantly simple – you don’t need any fancy equipment. If you’re simply able to mark out a 20m distance, download an mp3 or use a handy app on your phone, then within 15 minutes you’ll know how you measure up.

What is it?

The beep test was created by Luc Leger of the University of Montreal way back in 1983, as a simple running test designed to test a person’s fitness levels. Over 30 years later it’s still in popular use because it remains a great way to measure a person’s all-important VO2 max levels.

What is VO2 max?

VO2 max is simply your maximum oxygen uptake, or your maximal aerobic capacity. It’s a scientific measure of how fit you are and is important in determining your endurance capacity in exercise where you’re not flat-out sprinting all the time.

Having done the test, working out your estimated VO2 max is simply a matter of applying an equation to the level you get on the bleep test.

So what does the beep test involve?

Simply, the test involves running back and forth between two points 20m apart. Each run must be synchronised with a pre-recorded audio track which plays beeps (hence the name ‘beep test’) at regular intervals.

Over the course of the test, the athlete progresses up through various levels (lasting just over a minute each), with the beeps getting faster at each new level reached. At the point where the athlete fails to reach the line before the beep, this becomes their highest score and the test is over.

How long does it take and how far will I run?

The great thing about the beep test is it won’t take you long at all. The vast majority of people will be done before they reach level 13, which takes less than 14 minutes. If you made it to this stage you’d have run just over 2.5 km, which is equivalent to 1.6 miles.

If you made it to the end of the test, something almost completely unheard of, you’d have made it through 21 levels, running nearly 5 km in a shade over 22 minutes, and you should probably stop reading this blog and instead go and enrol yourself for the Olympics, your result would be that good! Mere mortals, however, aren’t going to need to worry about this, as they’ll be running on empty somewhere between levels 8 and 12.

Bleep fitness test results

bleep test results v1.1