The Bleep Test

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Also known as the multistage fitness test, the Bleep Test is used to determine fitness levels. It is an extremely simple test that requires minimal equipment.

The Bleep Test can be used to estimate a competitor's VO2 Max level. This is the amount of oxygen the body consumes per minute, per kilogram of body weight, when working at maximum capacity. High VO2 Max levels correspond with high fitness levels. Using a table one can estimate the VO2 levels of a competitor from the level they reach in the Bleep Test.

Taking the Test

The test involves running between two shuttles placed twenty metres apart. A cassette or cd is played which first explains the principles of the test, theN counts down to the first bleep - at which point the competitor runs from one shuttle to the other, aiming to arrive there at the next bleep. Once the shuttle is reached the competitor turns around and runs back to the first shuttle, again aiming to reach there with the next bleep1. The starting speed is 8.5 km/h.

After one minute of running between shuttles there will be some indication that the level has changed2. The bleeps will then arrive slightly closer together - each level increases the running speed by half a kilometre an hour. The levels increase every minute in this way until the test ends at level twenty-three.

Very few, if any, competitors would be able to reach the end of the test. Competitors drop out of the bleep test either when they feel too exhausted to continue, or when they can continue but are not reaching the shuttles in time for the next bleep.

Who Uses the Bleep Test

The Bleep Test is used by many professional sportsmen and women to monitor their fitness levels. It can be used with many people at once, so is also a good way to measure the fitness levels of all the people in a team at the same time.

However, it is probably used even more by relucatant teenagers. The Bleep test is a big favourite of PE teachers to measure fitness at the start and end of each term. It is not popular.

1If the competitor arrives at the shuttle before the next bleep they must wait for it before continuing2Usually three ascending bleeps plus an announcement

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