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About the Beep Test


The beep test, also known as the multi-stage fitness test, the bleep test, PACER test, Leger-test or 20-metre shuttle run test is used by thousands of organisations, sports teams and clubs, schools, public services, military forces as well as individuals around the world as way to measure cardiovascular fitness.

As a component of the Presidential Youth Fitness Program in the USA, the beep test (PACER test which is the same thing) is used to help measure fitness levels for school children and to help promote physical health and fitness as a lifelong objective.

A sixty second video

60 second beep test video

Credit: Prime Motion Fitness Training

What does it involve?

The test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 m apart. These runs are synchronized with a pre-recorded sound-track, which plays beeps at set intervals.

As the test proceeds, the interval between each successive beep reduces, forcing the athlete to increase their speed over the course of the test, until it is impossible to keep in sync with the recording.

If a person fails to reach a line at either end before the beep 2 times, then the most recent level they completed is their final score. The recording is typically structured into 21 'levels', each of which lasts around 1 minute but completing all levels is very very unlikely.  Usually, the interval of beeps is calculated as requiring a speed at the start of 8.5 km/h, increasing by 0.5 km/h with each level thereafter. The progression from one level to the next is signaled by 3 quick beeps.

A summary table of the levels (minutes) and number of 'shuttles' or laps can be found here.


The primary aim of the test is to measure aerobic capacity or cardio-respiratory fitness.  Many studies have been done showing that the beep test is a good predictor for the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use (also called VO2max). 

It is therefore used by many organsiations and individuals as a way of measuring aerobic fitness - for example to provide recommendations for healthly living or minimum fitness levels needed for entry into certain professions (such as militatry forces, the police, sports etc).

Who is it for?

The test is suitable for sports teams, school groups and individuals, but not for people in which a maximal exercise test (to exhaustion) would be contraindicated.


The test was orginally proposed by Leger and Lambert in 1982 (Léger, L.A.; Mercier, D.; Gadoury, C.; Lambert, J. (1988). "The multistage 20 metre shuttle run test for aerobic fitness". J Sports Sci 6 (2): 93–101).

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