The beep test, also known as the bleep test, multi-stage
fitness test, or shuttle run test, is used by sports coaches and
trainers to estimate an athlete's maximum oxygen uptake better known as
VO2 Max. The test is especially useful for players of sports like
football, hockey, or rugby. The test involves running continuously
between two points that are 20metres apart. These runs are synchronised
with a pre-recorded audio tape, CD or laptop which plays beeps at set
intervals. As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive
beep reduces, forcing the athlete to increase velocity over the course
of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording.
The recording is typically structured into 23 'levels',
each of which lasts 60 seconds. Usually, the interval of beeps is
calculated require a speed at the start of 8.5 km/h, which increases by
0.5 km/h with each level. The progression from one level to the next is
signalled by 3 rapid beeps. The highest level attained before failing to
keep up is recorded as the score for that test.
The procedure is designed to measure the maximum endurance
of an individual. Therefore, it should not be used for those of low
This test is now used by the British Army as one of the
basic measures of personal fitness.