The 15m bleep test is a maximal running aerobic fitness test, a variation of the 20 meter shuttle run or beep test. This test was developed by Loughborough University in 1995 for the UK Met Police Service. This shorter version was created to cater to those with less room to conduct the longer 20m test, and is used as the aerobic assessment for UK Police and Fire Services. There is also a 15m version of the PACER test, which has different speeds and laps compared to this test. For more information on beep tests, see the complete guide to the beep test.
equipment required: Flat, non-slip surface, marking cones, 15m measuring tape, beep test audio, music player, recording sheets. For details of the levels, speeds, distances, see the 15m Bleep Test Table.
pre-test: Explain the test procedures to the subject. Perform screening of health risks and obtain informed consent. Prepare forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, test conditions (particularly the weather and running surface). Measure and mark out the course. Ensure that the participants are adequately warmed-up. See more details of pre-test procedures.
procedure: This test involves continuous running between two lines 15m apart in time to recorded beeps. The participants stand behind one of the lines facing the second line, and begin running when instructed by the recording. The speed at the start is quite slow. The subject continues running between the two lines, turning when signaled by the recorded beeps. After about one minute, a sound indicates an increase in speed, and the beeps will be closer together. This continues each minute (level). If the line is reached before the beep sounds, the subject must wait until the beep sounds before continuing. If the line is not reached before the beep sounds, the subject is given a warning and must continue to run to the line, then turn and try to catch up with the pace within two more ‘bleeps’. The participants are given a warning the first time they fail to reach the line (within 2 meters), and are eliminated after the second warning.
scoring: The athlete's score is the level and number of shuttles (15m) reached before they were unable to keep up with the recording. Record the last shuttle completed (not necessarily the shuttle stopped at). The standard for UK police is level 5.4, which has been determined to be equivalent to a predicted oxygen uptake value of 35.0 ml.kg-1.min-1.
target population: this test is suitable for groups which do not have the space for the 20m test. Also, for those deemed unsuited to the twists, turns, sharp acceleration/deceleration of 15m shuttle running, there is an alternative Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test. As it is a maximal exercise test, it is not sutiable for populations in which a maximal exercise test would be contraindicated.
advantages: Large groups can perform this test all at once for minimal costs, using less space than the standard 20m beep test. Also, the test continues to maximum effort unlike many other tests of endurance capacity.
disadvantages: Practice and motivation levels can influence the score attained, and the scoring can be subjective. As the test is often conducted outside, the environmental conditions can affect the results.
reliability: to increase reliability, you can give consistent instructions prior to the test and provide the same encouragement and apply the same strictness to when to finish the test.
factors to consider: Although the beep test is primarily a fitness test of the aerobic energy system, there is a range of other factors that can affect performance in the test and are important to consider. These include: running efficiency and turning technique, anaerobic capacity, motivation and social dynamics, motor skills and cognitive ability (especially in children), environmental differences, clothing and running surfaces, test familiarization and instructions, the purpose and context of testing
- This test is a maximal test, which requires a reasonable level of fitness. It is not recommended for recreational athletes or people with health problems, injuries or low fitness levels.
- One way to ensure that all athletes push themselves in the test is for them to wear a heart rate monitor. You can then compare their maximum heart rate during the test to their predicted or measured maximum to determine if they have 'maxed out'.
comments: it is called "bleep" here instead of "beep", as this test is used commonly in the UK where they for some reason call these types of tests by that name.
- Loughborough University (1995) "Standards of Fitness in the Metropolitan Police." Unpublished report for the UK Metropolitan Police Force. - other research has referenced the original source of this test as this article, but the original article has not been sighted.
- Birks, A. (2015). Validity and reliability of a modified version of the Chester treadmill walking test (police) as an alternative to the 15-metre multi-stage police fitness test. (Master's thesis). University of Chester, United Kingdom.
The Test in Action
- This test was developed by Loughborough University in 1995 for the UK Met Police Service, and is used as the aerobic assessment for UK Police and Fire Services.
- PACER test — there is a 15m and 20m version of this variant of the beep test.
- 10m Beep Test — designed for children with cerebral palsy (CP).
- Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test — walking at 6km/hr on a treadmill, increasing the gradient by 3% every 2 minutes.
- 15m Bleep Test Table — levels, speeds, distances
- There is a conversion chart to convert scores on the 15m PACER to a 20m score to enter in the FitnessGram software.
- More Modified Beep Tests
- The complete guide to the beep test, for links to much more information about these tests.
- Maximizing Your Score — to get the most out of the beep test.
- You can create your own variation of the beep test using the team beeptest software.
- Beep Test Store — for purchasing the beep test audio file and other beep test products
BEEP TEST PACKAGE - only $10
The 20m Beep Test (male & female voices) + Training Levels + 'Beeps Only' track + Excel Spreadsheet + eBook Guide (PARQ, consent form, test recording sheet, warm-up, tips, norms + much more!)
The ultimate beep test package, including two versions of the beep test audio file (male and female voice), an audio track with only the beeps (no voices), 8 audio tracks for training at specific test levels, an Excel spreadsheet with an offline calculator and tables for recording, analyzing and presenting results, a 12-page eBook beep test guide which includes a PARQ, informed consent form, and test recording sheet plus much more. All these files are available individually for $5 each, or even better get them all for $10. Check out the details.