Beep Test Research Projects

As one of the most popular fitness tests used around the world, the 20m multi-stage shuttle run "beep" test has been the subject of many research studies. During our many years of writing about the beep test on this website, we have come up with several ideas for research projects involving the test.

State of Mind

We know that a player's state of mind can affect any maximal exercise test result, though it has not been closely studied in respect to the beep test. The beep test protocol states that the participants should be strongly encouraged to perform maximally. What actual difference does this make? What if there were no instructions at the start of the test, or the test was performed without their teammates around. What difference does a practice test make? You could compare results with and without psychological interventions such as pre-test sessions in mental imagery and goal setting. Do females or certain individuals respond better to some of these psychological interventions?

Does the feedback of the levels of the test being announced influence the result? It would be interesting to perform the beep test with and without the level numbers on the recording to see if it makes a difference. We have created an audio file just like this, which can be used.

running the beep test togetherrunning the beep test together

Environmental Conditions

When living in the tropical north of Australia I conducted preliminary research on the effect of the hot climate on field fitness testing results. The results from fitness testing performed outdoors may be detrimentally affected by the environmental conditions, reducing the reliability and validity of the tests, and could make it difficult to compare to test results performed in other conditions and also to testing performed indoors. The effect of changes to the environmental conditions would be expected to differ between different types of tests, with a maximal effort test like the beep test expected to be affected greatly.

Radiant heat may make a big difference to beep test results. Compare results in and out of the shade, inside and outside. Such a study only requires two test sessions: the Beep test is performed on the track twice, once under a shade cloth, the other in direct sun. The testing order is randomized. Maybe also look at the effect of different types of clothing.

Studies of environmental conditions would benefit by additional measures of heart rate, skin and core temperature, sweat rate and composition.

Hearing Impaired Athletes

I am unaware of any fitness tests designed specifically for the deaf (though there is one for the visually imparied). Although deaf people can perform many fitness tests without modification, a very common test of aerobic fitness, the beep test, relies on audio signals so is not easy for deaf people to take part. Once you create the modified testing equipment, it will need to be validated. You will need access to some deaf athletes too.

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