The Bleep Test / Shuttle Run
The bleep test or shuttle run as it is sometimes referred to as, is used by many organizations and employers to test an individual’s fitness and consists of a shuttle run over 20 meters.
The test is conducted on a flat surface and is a progressive maximal test, which means it starts easy and gets increasingly harder, starting at level 1 and finishing at level 23.
Those who have done the test know all too well how hard it is, as it is expected that you will give 100% effort as the objective is to get to as high as level as you can.
- A flat, non-slippery surface at least 20 metres in length.
- CD Player.
- Shuttle run disc (available here).
- Suitable footwear to prevent slipping.
- Measuring tape to mark out the 20 metres.
- Marker cones.
First, measure out the 20 meters and then mark each end with the marker cones. Before doing any exercise it’s recommended to do at least 10 minutes of light stretching and a gentle warm up.
When the disc is started, it will give a brief explanation of the tests leading into a 5 second countdown to the start of the test itself. Thereafter the disc emits a single bleep at regular intervals. You should aim to be at the opposite end to the start by the time the first bleep sounds. You should then continue running at this speed, being at one end or the other each time there is a bleep.
After each minute, the time interval between bleeps will decrease, so that the running speed will need to increase. The first running speed is referred to as ‘level 1’, the second speed as ‘level 2’, and so on. Each level lasts approximately one minute, and the disc continues up to level 23. The end of each shuttle is denoted by a single bleep; the end of each level is denoted by a triple bleep and by the commentator on the disc.
It is important to note that the running speeds at the start of the test are very slow. On level 1, you will have nine seconds in which to run each 20m shuttle.
You should always place one foot either on or behind the 20m mark at the end of each shuttle. If you arrive at the end of the shuttle before the bleep sounds, you should turn around and wait for the bleep, then resume running and adjust your speed.
You must run for as long as possible, until you can no longer keep up with the speed set by the disc, at which point you should voluntarily withdraw from the test. In some cases the PTI conducting the test may need to withdraw you when it becomes apparent that you are dropping behind the required pace and are unable to meet the marker on 3 consecutive shuttles.
Observers will make notes of the level and number of shuttles into the level, at which you withdraw, from the test. Using the Table of Predicted Maximum Oxygen Uptake Values, an estimate of maximum oxygen uptake can be obtained and scored.
You can download a table below showing the distances covered. As each level lasts for 60 seconds, it follows that you will run slightly further on each level as the speed increases.