Multi-stage fitness test

Multi-stage fitness test

The multi-stage fitness test, also known as the bleep test, beep test, pacer test, Leger-test or 20-m shuttle run test, is used by sports coaches and trainers to estimate an athlete's VO2 max (maximum oxygen uptake). The test is especially useful for players of sports like squash, rugby, football (soccer), hockey, netball, handball, tennis and many other sports; employed by many international sporting teams as an accurate test of Cardiovascular fitness, one of the all-important "Components of Fitness". This test is also part of the FITNESSGRAM physical fitness test to measure cardiorespiratory fitness. The test was created by Luc Leger, University of Montreal[1] published in 1983, "A Maximal Multistage 20m Shuttle Run Test to predict VO2 Max", and was re-published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology (vol 49 pp 1–12) in 1988 in its present form with 1 min stages under the name "Multistage 20-m shuttle run test for aerobic fitness".[2] Result equivalences between slightly modified versions are well explained by Tomkinson et al. in 2003.[3]



The test involves running continuously between two points that are 20 m apart from side to side. These runs are synchronized with a pre-recorded audio tape, CD or laptop software, 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 (or, in rare occasions, if the athlete completes the test). Many people who test people using the Multi-stage fitness test allow one level to beep before the person makes the line, but if the person being tested does not make the next interval then the most recent level they completed is their final score. The recording is typically structured into 21 'levels', each of which lasts around 62 seconds. 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 rapid beeps. The highest level attained before failing to keep up is recorded as the score for that test.It gets faster every level of the test.


Uses for the multi-stage fitness test extend far and wide, not just from sporting organizations but into various operational organizations as well, as a measure of basic fitness. It allows the organization to determine whether an employee (or potential employee) possesses a degree of fitness to be able to perform his or her duties. Examples of this include police officers, community support officers, fire fighters or soldiers. As a result, to be deemed sufficiently able to perform such duties, the multi-stage fitness test is used to determine whether an individual is capable of performing such duties (or training for those duties) based on what level they achieve. This test is used in physical education classes to determine whether a student is in their "healthy fitness zone" for cardiorespiratory health.

Various Association football (soccer) organizations also use it for evaluating players. There it is supposed to indicate how a player performs when tired. Ironically, there is no basis for this since the muscle type (see fast- and slow-twitch muscles) is highly indicative of whether or not the test is useful. For people with predominantly slow twitch muscles the results of this test are the least useful. Another criticism for using this test is that it doesn't follow that soccer is not all constant running nor does the level of running constantly increase. A slightly better variant (but still not realistic to a game situation) is the Nike SPARQ Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test.

Organization Type of organization Country Minimum level attained Comments
Western Australia Police Police Australia 10.1 to 8.1 (male), 7.1 to 6.1 (female) Source:
Airservices Australia Aviation rescue and fire fighting Australia 9.6 Source:
Metropolitan Fire Brigade (Melbourne) Fire/emergency response Australia 9.6 Source:
New South Wales Fire Brigades Fire/emergency response Australia 9.6 Source:
Victoria Police Police Australia 6.10 All ages[4]
Queensland Police Service Police Australia 7.8 to 9.4 (male), 6.3 to 7.5 (female) Source:
Scottish police Police UK 9.2 (male), 7.3 (female) (aged 18-29) - 15 Metre shuttle only Source:
South Australia Police Police Australia 9.04 (male), 6.10 (female) Age 18-29. Varies by age (
Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Fire/emergency response Australia 8.7 Source:
Australian Army Military Australia 7.5 Preliminary Fitness Test Standard required prior to enlistment.
Royal New Zealand Navy Military New Zealand 7.1 Minimum Fitness Level
Royal Australian Navy Military Australia 6.9 to 5.0 Source:
Royal Australian Air Force Military Australia 6.5 Source:
Ontario Provincial Police Police Canada 6.5
Canadian Forces Military Canada 6.0 (male), 4.0 (female) (under 35) Varies by military occupation and specialty. Source:
English and Welsh police Police UK 5.4 General roles. Specialist roles require higher levels. Source:
New South Wales Police Force Police Australia 5.1 Source:
Royal Canadian Air Cadets [5] Paramilitary youth program Canada Depends on age Part of the new 'Fitness and Incentive' program. Used to track improvements in fitness level. Fitness badges may be earned.
Royal Canadian Army Cadets [6] Paramilitary youth program Canada Depends on age Part of the new 'Fitness and Incentive' program. Used to track improvements in fitness level. Fitness badges may be earned.
Royal Canadian Sea Cadets [7] Paramilitary youth programoo Canada Depends on age Part of the new 'Fitness and Incentive' program. Used to track improvements in fitness level. Fitness badges may be earned.

2 The Royal Navy has a varying level dependent on age and gender, and is only used a base level during the Admiralty Interview Board with the main test, a 2.4 km run to be completed upon arrival at BRNC Dartmouth.


The original beep test was first only available on audio tape format. A problem with the tape was that it could stretch over time, or the tape player did not play at a consistent speed, therefore making the timing between beeps inaccurate. On most versions of the tape there was a one minute recorded interval for calibrating the tape and tape player. The compact disc or MP3 format is now used predominantly. Calibration checks are still required on the CD/MP3 due to some tone controls affecting the playback speed.

Inexpensive PC Beep Test Software is very popular with the advantage of no timing errors/accurate to 1/100th of a second, as used by the top team coaches. This generally runs on a Laptop, making the beep/bleep test easier to organise for teams/groups and also tracks player fitness over the season.


These calculations were updated 17th Aug 2009 and are based on the official Leger and Lambert "A Maximal Multi-Stage 20m Shuttle Run Test to predict VO2 Max".

Level Shuttles Cumulative Shuttles Speed
Shuttle Time
Total level
time (s)
Distance (m) Cumulative
Distance (m)
Cumulative Time
(min and seconds)
1 7 7 8.0 9.00 63.00 140 140 1:03
2 8 15 9.0 8.00 64.00 160 300 2:07
3 8 23 9.5 7.58 60.63 160 460 3:08
4 9 32 10.0 7.20 64.80 180 640 4:12
5 9 41 10.5 6.86 61.71 180 820 5:14
6 10 51 11.0 6.55 65.50 200 1020 6:20
7 10 61 11.5 6.26 62.61 200 1220 7:22
8 11 72 12.0 6.00 66.00 220 1440 8:28
9 11 83 12.5 5.76 63.36 220 1660 9:31
10 11 94 13.0 5.54 60.92 220 1880 10:32
11 12 106 13.5 5.33 64.00 240 2120 11:36
12 12 118 14.0 5.14 61.71 240 2360 12:38
13 13 131 14.5 4.97 64.55 260 2620 13:43
14 13 144 15.0 4.80 62.40 260 2880 14:45
15 13 157 15.5 4.65 60.39 260 3140 15:46
16 14 171 16.0 4.50 63.00 280 3420 16:49
17 14 185 16.5 4.36 61.09 280 3700 17:50
18 15 200 17.0 4.24 63.53 300 4000 18:54
19 15 215 17.5 4.11 61.71 300 4300 19:56
20 16 231 18.0 4.00 64.00 320 4620 21:00
21 16 247 18.5 3.89 62.27 320 4940 22:03

The multi-stage fitness test incurs a total distance of 4940 meters (247 laps) in a time of twenty two minutes and three seconds (22:03). Please note, there are a few errors in this table compared to the original one minute MSFT as published by Leger & Lambert, mainly in the round-ups on stage 8 & 20 these should be exactly one minute as originally designed.

See also


  2. ^ 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. PMID 3184250. 
  3. ^ Tomkinson, GR, Léger, L., Olds, TS, Cazorla, G., Secular trends in the performance of children and adolescents (1980-2000): An analysis of 55 studies of the 20 m shuttle run in 11 countries. Sports Medicine, 33:285-300, 2003.
  4. ^
  5. ^ CATO 14-18
  6. ^ CATO 14-18
  7. ^ CATO 14-18

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