The beep test

Get young soccer players fit and have fun at the same time!

“My players really enjoy the challenge of the Beep Test so I thought I’d share it with you. This article (kindly provided by Brian Mackenzie) describes how it’s done.”

The beep test, (properly known as the Multi-Stage Fitness Test and sometimes as the Yo-Yo Test), was developed by Jens Bangsbo, August Krogh Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Objective

The objective of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT) is to monitor the development of the athlete’s maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max).

This test is very good for young football players as the short turns are specific to the nature of the sport.

Required Resources

To undertake this test you will require :

A flat, non slippery surface at least 20 metres in length
30 metre tape measure
Marking cones
Pre-recorded beep test audio tape or CD
Tape recorder or CD Player
Recording sheets
Assistant

How to conduct the test

The test is made up of 23 levels where each level lasts approx. one minute. Each level comprises of a series of 20m shuttles where the starting speed is 8.5km/hr and increases by 0.5km/hr at each level. On the tape a single beep indicates the end of a shuttle and 3 beeps indicates the start of the next level. The test is conducted as follows:

  • Measure out a 20 metres section and mark each end with a marker cone.
  • The athlete carries out a warm up program of jogging and stretching exercises.
  • The athlete must place one foot on or beyond the 20m marker at the end of each shuttle.
  • If the athlete arrives at the end of a shuttle before the beep, the athlete must wait for the beep and then resume running.
  • The athlete keeps running for as long as possible until he/she can longer keep up with the speed set by the tape at which point they should voluntarily withdraw.
  • If the athlete fails to reach the end of the shuttle before the beep they should be allowed 2 or 3 further shuttles to attempt to regain the required pace before being withdrawn.
  • Record the level and number of shuttles completed at that level by the athlete.

At the end of the test the athletes conduct a warm down

Analysis

Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement.

Normative data for MSFT

The following are national team scores on the MSFT

Beep test

Table Reference: Beashel P. et al; The world of sport examined; 1997

Notes

A degree of caution is required in administering the test, in that you have to push yourself relatively hard to the point where you can no longer maintain the pace dictated by the tape. If you are suffering from any injury or illness, or if you have any reason to think you may not be in a good general state of health, you should consult a doctor before doing this test.

As the audio-tapes may stretch over time, the tapes need to be calibrated which involves timing a one-minute interval and making adjustment to the distance between markers. The recording is also available on compact disc, which does not require calibration.

Knowing that the starting speed is 8.5km/hr and increases by 0.5km/hr at each level then the time for each 20 metre section, at each level, can be estimated from the following equation:

20m Time = 72 ÷ ( ( ( Level – 1 ) × 0.5 ) + 8.5 )

The time for 20m at level 11 is 5.33 seconds.

Knowing that the starting speed is 8.5km/hr and increases by 0.5km/hr at each level and the duration of each level is approximately one minute then the number of shuttles at each level, can be estimated from the following equation:

Shuttles = ( ( ( Level – 1 ) × 0.5 ) + 8.5 ) × 0.838

The result is rounded up to the nearest whole number e.g. the number of shuttles at level 17 is 13.82 which is rounded up to 14 shuttles.

Target Group

This test is suitable for endurance athletes and players of endurance sports (e.g. football, rugby) but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.

Reliability

Reliability would depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual’s level of motivation to perform the test.