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Multi-Stage Fitness Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made but in the analysis we need to bear in mind the factors that may influence the results.

Objective

The objective of the Multi-Stage Fitness Test (MSFT), developed by Leger & Lambert (1982)[1], is to monitor the development of the athlete's maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max).

This test is very good for games players as it is specific to the nature of the sport but, due to the short sharp turns, it is perhaps not suitable for rowers, runners or cyclists.

Required Resources

To undertake this test you will require:

  • Flat non-slip surface
  • 30 metre tape measure
  • Marking cones
  • The Multi-Stage Fitness Test audio tape or CD
  • Tape recorder or CD Player
  • Recording sheets
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

This test requires the athlete to run 20m in time with a beep from a CD recording. The athlete must place one foot on or beyond the 20m marker at the end of each shuttle.

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The assistant measure out a 20 metre section and marks each end with marker cones
  • The assistant starts the CD and the athlete commences the test
  • If the athlete arrives at the end of a shuttle before the beep, the athlete must wait for the beep and then resume running
  • If the athlete fails to reach the end of the shuttle before the beep they should be allowed 2 or 3 further shuttles to attempt to regain the required pace before being withdrawn
  • The assistant records  the level and number of shuttles completed at that level by the athlete when they are withdrawn

Assessment

The athlete's maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 max) can be determined from the MSF Table using the Level and Shuttle achieved.

The calculator below will provide you with an estimate of your VO2 max. Please note that, when compared to the MSF Table values, the calculator result can be in error by up to ± 0.3 mls/kg/min.

Enter the Level and Shuttle you achieved in the MSF test and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Level   Shuttle     VO2 max mL/kg/min (± 0.3)

Elite Male Athletes

The following equation, to calculate VO2 max using the MSFT, was determined by Kilding et al. (2006)[2] in their research with 26 elite, male, intermittent sport athletes.

  • VO2 max (mL/kg/min) = 0.38 x total number of shuttles completed + 25.98
Level   Shuttle     VO2 max mL/kg/min (± 0.3)

For an analysis of your VO2 max score see the VO2 max normative data tables.

Normative data for MSFT

The following tables are adapted from Bizley et all (2010)[3]

Male

Age Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor
14 - 16 L12 S7 L11 S2 L8 S9 L7 S1 < L6 S6
17 - 20 L12 S12 L11 S6 L9 S2 L7 S6 < L7 S3
21 - 30 L12 S12 L11 S7 L9 S3 L7 S8 < L7 S5
31 - 40 L11 S7 L10 S4 L6 S10 L6 S7 < L6 S4
41 - 50 L10 S4 L9 S4 L6 S9 L5 S9 < L5 S2

Female

Age Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor
14 - 16 L10 S9 L9 S1 L6 S7 L5 S1 < L4 S7
17 - 20 L10 S11 L9 S3 L6 S8 L5 S2 < L4 S9
21 - 30 L10 S8 L9 S2 L6 S6 L5 S1 < L4 S9
31 - 40 L10 S4 L8 S7 L6 S3 L4 S6 < L4 S5
41 - 50 L9 S9 L7 S2 L5 S7 L4 S2 < L4 S1

Notes

The test is made up of 23 levels where each level lasts approximately one minute. Each level comprises of a series of 20m shuttle runs where the starting speed is 8.5km/hr and increases by 0.5km/hr at each level. On the tape/CD a single beep indicates the end of a shuttle and 3 beeps indicates the start of the next level.

Time

Knowing that the starting speed is 8.5km/hr and increases by 0.5km/hr at each level then the time for each 20 metre section, at each level, can be estimated from the following equation:

  • 20m Time = 72 ÷ ( ( ( Level - 1 ) × 0.5 ) + 8.5 )

e.g. the time for 20m at level 11 is 5.33 seconds.

Shuttles

Knowing that the starting speed is 8.5km/hr and increases by 0.5km/hr at each level and the duration of each level is approximately one minute then the number of shuttles at each level, can be estimated from the following equation:

  • Shuttles = ( ( ( Level - 1 ) × 0.5 ) + 8.5 ) × 0.838

The result is rounded up to the nearest whole number e.g. the number of shuttles at level 17 is 13.82 which is rounded up to 14 shuttles.

Analysis

Analysis of the test result is by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that, with appropriate training between each test, the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's VO2 max.

Target Group

This test is suitable for endurance athletes and players of endurance sports (e.g. football, rugby) but not for individuals where the test would be contraindicated.

Reliability

Test reliability refers to the degree to which a test is consistent and stable in measuring what it is intended to measure. Reliability will depend upon how strict the test is conducted and the individual's level of motivation to perform the test. The following link provides a variety of factors that may influence the results and therefore the test reliability.

Validity

Test validity refers to the degree to which the test actually measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions made on the basis of test scores are appropriate and meaningful. This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development. There are published VO2 max score equivalents for each level reached and the correlation to actual VO2 max is high. For an assessment of your VO2 max see the VO2 max normative data tables.

Advantages

  • Simple to set up and conduct
  • More than one athlete can conduct the test at the same time
  • Can be conducted indoors or outdoors

Disadvantages

  • Specialist equipment required - CD & CD Player
  • Assistant required to administer the test
  • Due to the short sharp turns, it is perhaps not suitable for rowers, runners or cyclists

Free Calculator

  • MultiStage Fitness Test Calculator - a free Microsoft Excel spreadsheet which you can download and use on your computer. The spreadsheet will be loaded into a new window.

Facts and Figures

Information on the number of laps, distances, times, speed and VO2 max are provided for each shuttle in this linked pdf file. The file will be loaded into a new window.


References

  1. LEGER, L.A. and LAMBERT, J. (1982) A maximal multistage 20m shuttle run test to predict VO2 max. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 49 (1), p. 1-5
  2. KILDING, A.E. et al. (2006) Measuring and predicting maximal aerobic power in international-level intermittent sport athletes. The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, 46 (3), p. 366-72
  3. BIZLEY, K. et al. (2010) BTEC First Sport Level 2, London, Harper Collins Publishers Limited, p. 303 Figure 3

Related References

The following references provide additional information on this topic:

  • GOOSEY-TOLFREY, V. L. and TOLFREY, K. (2008) The multi-stage fitness test as a predictor of endurance fitness in wheelchair athletes. Journal of sports sciences26 (5), p. 511-517
  • STICKLAND, M. et al. (2003) Prediction of maximal aerobic power from the 20-m multi-stage shuttle run test. Canadian journal of applied physiology28 (2), p. 272-282

Page Reference

If you quote information from this page in your work then the reference for this page is:

  • MACKENZIE, B. (1999) Multi-Stage Fitness Test [WWW] Available from: https://www.brianmac.co.uk/beep.htm [Accessed

Related Pages

The following Sports Coach pages provide additional information on this topic: