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How to Set Up and Run the Beep Test

The beep test which is also known as the multi-stage fitness test, bleep test, pacer test and 20-metre shuttle run is commonly used by sporting clubs and organisations to test a person’s VO2 maximum. It is also used for determining eligibility to gain entrance or employment by some sporting clubs and organisations.

The test is structured into 21 levels and each level is broken up into a determined number of shuttles and each level lasts approximately 62 seconds (see beep test levels details below). Starting at level one requires you to run at a pace of approximately 8.0km/hr increasing to 9.0km/hr for level 2 then by 0.5km/hr with each level thereafter. The speed remains constant for the entire level.

Equipment Required for the Beep Test

In order to conduct a beep test, you will need the following equipment

  • Flat non-slip surface
  • Cones to mark each end
  • 20-metre measuring tape
  • Beep test audio program
  • Device for playing the beep test audio program

Beep Test Procedure

The beep test is conducted by continuously running between two ends that face each other at 20 metres apart.

3 successive beeps sound to start the test and are also sounded at the start of each new level.

To start the test the beep test audio program will indicate that the test will begin shortly and when you hear the 3 quick successive beeps you start your first shuttle run.

Level 1 will require you to run at a pace of approximately 8.5km/hr and will increase by approximately 0.5km/hr for each level (there is an increase of 1km/hr from level 1 to level 2).

Successful completion of a shuttle is when you are able to reach the end of the 20-metre shuttle before the sound of the next beep which indicates the start of the next shuttle.

This process is repeated back and forth until you fail to reach the end of the shuttle before the beep sounds. It is important to note here that you must not commence a shuttle run until the sound of the beep.

Depending on who is conducting the test, it is a common practice to allow for the unsuccessful completion of one shuttle and if you can catch up and make it to the next end before the beep you are back in the game. However, if you miss two consecutive ends this will complete your test. Your score will be the last successfully completed end, not the end you were knocked out on.

Scoring for The Beep Test

Your score for the beep test will be the level you reached plus the number of shuttles successfully completed before you were unable to keep up with the beep.

Beep Test Levels

LevelShuttlesSpeed
(km/h)
Shuttle Time
(seconds)
Total level
time (s)
Distance (m)Cumulative
Distance (m)
Cumulative Time
(min and seconds)
178.09.0063.001401401:03
289.08.0064.001603002:07
389.57.5860.631604603:08
4910.07.2064.801806404:12
5910.56.8661.711808205:14
61011.06.5565.5020010206:20
71011.56.2662.6120012207:22
81112.06.0066.0022014408:28
91112.55.7663.3622016609:31
101113.05.5460.92220188010:32
111213.55.3364.00240212011:36
121214.05.1461.71240236012:38
131314.54.9764.55260262013:43
141315.04.8062.40260288014:45
151315.54.6560.39260314015:46
161416.04.5063.00280342016:49
171416.54.3661.09280370017:50
181517.04.2463.53300400018:54
191517.54.1161.71300430019:56
201618.04.0064.00320462021:00
211618.53.8962.27320494022:03

The multi-stage fitness test total distance is 4940 metres and will take a total time of twenty-two minutes and three seconds (22:03).