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Bleep test – How to perform & analyse the bleep test

The bleep test – Fitness tests

What the bleep test measures:

The bleep test is one of the most widely used fitness tests, it measures your cardiovascular fitness and gives a value for your Vo2 Max ( see below).

Ideal for testing the fitness of sports teams, groups and also athletes.

The bleep test is also know as the multi stage fitness test or beep test.

Bleep test

Procedure

Very simple procedure with minimal equipment. All you need is 2 cones or markers and the bleep test CD.

Place the 2 cones 20m apart. It is also done at 15m apart, but this will really effect the levels you achieve so stick to the 20m if you can.

The test starts when you hear 3 consecutive beeps and “start of level one”. You must reach the other cone before the next beep, and continue this until you can’t keep up with the beeps. Or you miss 3 beeps in a row

Bleep test Normative data

The following is normative data for the bleep test scores, we have also added bleep test scores required for the army, Royal marines, top athletes and the highest recorded score

Men Women
World record 19.2 19.2
Top fitness athletes 15-16 14-16
All blacks 14+ 14+
Royal marines 9.5 to 13 9.5 to 13
Police 5.4 5.4
World class 16+
exceptional 14-15
Excellent 13-14 12+
very good 11 to 13 10 to 12
good 9 to 11 8 to 10
average 7 to 9 6 to 8
poor 5 to 7 4 to 6
very poor under 5 under 4

Whilst it is widely talked about that many athletes have completed the bleep test. This will not be the 20m bleep test as it goes up to level 22, On level 22 you are covering 20m 16 times in 60 seconds, that’s 3.75 seconds for 20m this basically equates to:

320 meters in 60 seconds coming to a complete stop 16 times. Sounds extremely tough on its own but if you add this to the fact you have just completed 21 other levels on the bleep test you can see why it is almost impossible. What I believe has happened is individual footballers and other athletes have won the bleep test at their club. This has then been misinterpreted to “completed the bleep test”.

Interpreting your bleep test results

A good indication of what the bleep test score means can be given using your VO2 Max:

What is V02 Max

Your Vo2 max is a measurement of how fit you are. Your Vo2 Max shows the maximum amount of oxygen your body can consume while exercising. It is measure in milliliters per minute and this represents how much oxygen in milliliters your body can consume in 60 seconds per kg of body mass.

Level VO2 Max Level VO2 Max Level VO2 Max Level VO2 Max
4-4.3 26.8 10.2-10.3 47.4 15.2-15.3 64.6 19.4-19.5 78.8
4.4-4.5 27.6 10.4-10.5 48 15.4-15.5 65.1 19.6-19.7 79.2
4.6-4.8 28.3 10.6-10.7 48.7 15.6-15.7 65.6 19.8-19.9 79.7
4.9-5.1 29.5 10.8-10.10 49.3 15.8-15.9 66.2 19.10-19.11 80.2
5.2-5.3 30.2 10.11-11.1 50.2 15.10-15.12 66.7 19.12-19.14 80.6
5.4-5.5 31 11.2-11.3 50.8 13.13-16.1 67.5 19.14-20.1 81.3
5.6-5.8 31.8 11.4-11.5 51.4 16.2-16.3 68 20.2-20.3 81.8
5.9-6.1 32.9 11.6-11.7 51.9 16.4-16.5 68.5 20.4-20.5 82.2
6.2-6.3 33.6 11.8-11.9 52.5 16.6-16.7 69 20.6-20.7 82.6
6.4-6.5 34.3 11.10-11.11 53.1 16.8-16.9 69.5 20.8-20.9 83
6.6-6.7 35 11.12-12.1 53.7 16.10-16.12 69.9 20.10-20.11 83.5
6.8-6.9 35.7 12.2-12.3 54.3 16.12-16.13 70.5 20.12-20.13 83.9
6.10-7.1 36.4 12.4-12.5 54.8 16.14-17.1 70.9 20.14-20.15 84.3
7.2-7.3 37.1 12.6-12.7 55.4 17.2-17.3 71.4 20.16-21.1 84.8
7.5-7.5 37.8 12.8-12.9 56 17.4-17.5 71.9 21.2-21.3 85.2
7.6-7.7 38.5 12.10-12.11 56.5 17.6-17.7 72.4 21.4-21.5 85.6
7.8-7.9 39.2 12.12-13.1 57.1 17.8-17.9 72.9 21.6-21.7 86.1
7.10-8.1 39.9 13.2-13.3 57.6 17.10-17.11 73.4 21.8-21.9 86.5
8.2-8.3 40.5 13.4-13.5 58.2 17.12-17.13 73.9 21.10-21.11 86.9
8.4-8.5 41.1 13.6-13.7 58.7 17.14-18.1 74.4 21.12-21.13 87.4
8.6-8.7 41.8 13.8-13.9 59.3 18.2-18.3 74.8 21.14-21.15 87.8
8.8-8.10 42.4 13.10-13.13 59.8 18.4-18.5 75.3 21.16 88.2
8.11-9.1 43.3 13.13-14.1 60.6 18.6-18.7 75.8 Finished
9.2-9.3 43.9 14.2-14.3 61.1 18.8-18.9 76.2
9.4-9.5 44.5 14.4-14.5 61.7 18.10-18.11 76.7
9.6-9.7 45.2 14.6-14.7 62.2 18.12-18.14 77.2
9.8-9.10 45.8 14.8-14.9 62.7 18.15-19.1 77.9
9.11-10.1 46.8 14.10-14.12 63.2 19.2-19.3 78.3
14.13-15.1 64

Normative Data for VO2 Max

Age Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
13-19 <25.0 25.0 – 30.9 31.0 – 34.9 35.0 – 38.9 39.0 – 41.9 >41.9
20-29 <23.6 23.6 – 28.9 29.0 – 32.9 33.0 – 36.9 37.0 – 41.0 >41.0
30-39 <22.8 22.8 – 26.9 27.0 – 31.4 31.5 – 35.6 35.7 – 40.0 >40.0
40-49 <21.0 21.0 – 24.4 24.5 – 28.9 29.0 – 32.8 32.9 – 36.9 >36.9
50-59 <20.2 20.2 – 22.7 22.8 – 26.9 27.0 – 31.4 31.5 – 35.7 >35.7
60+ <17.5 17.5 – 20.1 20.2 – 24.4 24.5 – 30.2 30.3 – 31.4 >31.4
Age Very Poor Poor Fair Good Excellent Superior
13-19 <35.0 35.0 – 38.3 38.4 – 45.1 45.2 – 50.9 51.0 – 55.9 >55.9
20-29 <33.0 33.0 – 36.4 36.5 – 42.4 42.5 – 46.4 46.5 – 52.4 >52.4
30-39 <31.5 31.5 – 35.4 35.5 – 40.9 41.0 – 44.9 45.0 – 49.4 >49.4
40-49 <30.2 30.2 – 33.5 33.6 – 38.9 39.0 – 43.7 43.8 – 48.0 >48.0
50-59 <26.1 26.1 – 30.9 31.0 – 35.7 35.8 – 40.9 41.0 – 45.3 >45.3
60+ <20.5 20.5 – 26.0 26.1 – 32.2 32.3 – 36.4 36.5 – 44.2 >44.2
Table Reference: The Physical Fitness Specialist Certification Manual, The Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, Dallas TX, revised 1997 printed in Advance Fitness Assessment & Exercise Prescription, 3rd Edition, Vivian H. Heyward, 1998.p48

Tips to improve at the bleep test

I personally really enjoy the bleep test and I got up to level 15, my target is to reach level 16.

I find there are a few small tips you can master to increase your level:

Bleep test tips 1, Bounce:

Don’t waste energy, the majority of your energy in the bleep test is used accelerating back to speed at the start of each level. Your muscles and ligaments can behave like a spring loading and springing off as you turn, this will save you a lot of energy so make the turn Sharpe and explosive, using this.

Bleep test tips 2, Recovery:

Recovery is also key , the bleep test is constant so a method for recovery is important so you don’t burn out on the simple levels. Again after you spring off on the turn, quickly accelerate with 4 quick strides, then relax and jog the rest of the 20m.

This will mean you won’t be chasing the beep for the whole of the 20m and allow your muscles and body to relax.

Compare this to someone who turns and gradually accelerates up to the beep at the following and only to turn and do the same again and again. I am sure you can see why the spring and the quick 4 strides is a much better method.

Bleep test tips 3, Alternate:

Alternate legs, you turn on at lower levels and use whatever feels best when it gets tough.

A 2 foot turn is a great way to spring off at the higher levels, you do this by landing on both feet (with your feet staggered) at the cone and springing back.