How to improve at the stupidest thing known to man created by gym teachers.

Congratulations! You are reading this because you know me or you are looking to improve on the multi-stage fitness test. AKA. Suicides, shuttle run, beep test

For the purpose of this post I will assume you are here to improve on the test?

Just to get on the same page – The beep test is a steady increase in time required to run between two points separated by 20 metres until the athlete cannot run any further. Its the best method to measure fitness level without gadgets.

Why do something so pointless? Because it measures VO2 max.. WTF is VO2 max…

“VO2 max is reached when oxygen consumption remains at steady state despite an increase in workload.” ~

A person with a strong VO2 Max can technically do more work. Run, jump, leap, dive and root.

Since the beep test provides a benchmark for VO2 Max its most useful to make big groups of people smaller by weeding out the sick and weak.

Most likely you are reading because some-one-organization wants to weed you out and has informed you will need to do it. Because no one in their right mind does these for FUN!

I was required to do one recently and thus the inspiration for this blog post. I read a bunch of resources and here I share my candy sprinkles on that increased my level from 9.5 to 11.2 with a few tweaks and change in mindset.

How muscles and oxygen function is amazing and complicated. For the hardcore watch the three videos in succession I was able to grasp a little of the undlerling design and it was worth the time investment.

Lance Armstrong: Understanding VO2 Max & Lactate Threshhold [VIDEO]

How Cells Obtain Energy [Video]

Big Guns: The Muscular System – CrashCourse Biology #31 [Video]

OK, enough of the science – you’ve read all the other stuff on beep tests and your appetite is still strong….

Here goes….

Surprise surprise – start with a

  1. Goal
  2. “Normally” beep tests are set by an external party to compare and benchmark against others or create a cut off to “make a team” for example. It’s likely you will know the level you need to achieve. For example to make the Singapore Football League a Beep Level of 13.1 must be met.


  3. Cross train
  4. With a level you now know the the culmilative time, distance per level and culmilative distance and cross train accordingly. You can now mentally rehearse and train with these numbers in mind. The fact is you probably won’t increase your VO2 Max…from what I understand we are stuck with it. But you can physically and mentally work through the situation to push yourself further than you think you can.

    My goal was 12.2 which equals 12:38s of running. Since I do High Intensity Workouts I would mentally mark the timings of my WODs and mentally rehearse running each level….

    Other ideas would be to do fast runs that map to the culmitative distance and speed work.

  5. Breath
  6. Have you ever ran on a treadmill that measures your heart rate? Noticed the deeper you consciously breath and contract the diaphram the heart rate lowers slightly even though the pace is maintained even increased.

    Consistent regulated deep breathing makes a huge difference. Try it out with a heart rate monito

    Start oxygenating from the beginning of the run with strong, deep breaths and consciously draw the breaths in and out to the very end.

    Note: Avoid over emphasis of the breath cause you just look like a wanker…unless you run a 13+ :p

  7. Gait
  8. Assess how you run and refine your stride. You want to conserve energy and since oxygen translates to energy consumption the more efficient your movement the longer you can run.

    I go for the chi running style because I use minimalist foot wear and I like the erect pole up the bum look.

    Here are a bunch of other running gaits for your perusal

  9. Pivot
  10. In the early levels (1-7) I would kick off a rapid 180 degree pivot equally balanced on both legs. It gives me a second or so before the next beep to take a deep breath and start a deep lean into the next shuttle and to start my chi run.

    I didn’t try last time but in level 7+ I would probably work try the pivot with an exercise designed in the NFL called an Outside Edge Line Bounding Series

  11. Eat
  12. It goes with out saying the less fat you have the fast and harder you can work out.
    Eat clean, train and building up to the test. Stay fully hydrated and conquer the beep

    What tips do you have to nail personal bests on the B-test?

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