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Testing Aerobic Fitness: The 20-meter Beep Test

Dec 9, 2009

The 20 meter beep test is one of the most common tests used for measuring aerobic fitness. This maximal running aerobics fitness test is also known as the multistage fitness test. It is generally used in training programs by athletes. The main aim of this test is to examine the development of a person’s maximum oxygen uptake.

Test Procedure

The 20 meter beep test involves running continuously between 2 lines that are 20 meters apart. This is done keeping in time with recorded beeps. You will have to wait behind one line and start running to the second line when instructed by a tape or CD recording. The initial speed is generally quite slow. There is a gradual increase in the speed after a minute. This is indicated by a sound, after which beeps get closer together. Each minute is termed as a level. If you do not reach the line in time for a beep, you have to run to the line and try to catch up with the pace within 2 more beeps. If you reach the line before the beep, you have to wait until the next beep to start running. The test is stopped if you do not reach within 2 meters of the line for 2 consecutive ends. Your score is the number of shuttles and the level reached before the test stops.

The 20 meter beep test is mostly used as a significant selection criterion for certain jobs and sports. This makes it important to train for this test for getting the desired results. Here are some areas that you can work on if you want to improve your scores.

1. Physical Training

If you want significant improvements in your beep test score, you must do regular aerobic training. This would generally include long, slow running, along with interval training.

2. Mental Strength

The beep test can be mentally tough for many people. You can improve your performance considerably by working on your mental fitness and having a positive outlook. Pushing through the pain barrier can help you perform better in the test.

3. Pacing Tactics

You can also improve your score by simply pacing yourself, so that you don’t waste energy from end to end. Try to stay relaxed while getting to the required pace quickly. Running at a steady pace will help you perform better in your test.

4. Technique

An efficient turning technique can help you to minimize the energy and time required at the turning stage. Time your turn as you reach the line so that just one foot goes over the line. Turning sharply rather than in a wide arch will reduce the distance you have to travel and the time required. Relaxing your shoulders while running and breathing smoothly and deeply can also help you score better.

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