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# Chester Step Test

Testing and measurement are the means of collecting information upon which subsequent performance evaluations and decisions are made. In the analysis, we need to consider the factors influencing the results.

### Objective

The Chester Step Test was developed by Sykes (1998)[1] to monitor the development of the athlete's cardiovascular system

### Required Resources

To conduct this test, you will require:

The box height is determined as follows:

• 15cm - is generally suitable for those over 40 years of age who take little or no regular physical exercise and for those under-40's who are moderately overweight.
• 20cm - is generally suitable for those under 40 years of age who take little or no regular physical exercise and for those under-40's who are moderately overweight.
• 25cm - is generally suitable for those over 40 years of age who regularly take physical exercise with moderately vigorous exertion.
• 30cm - generally suitable for those under 40 years of age who regularly take physical exercise with moderately vigorous exertion

### How to conduct the test

Before starting the test, the assistant needs to record:

• The athlete's Maximum Heart Rate (MHR) - use 220-age
• The athlete's 80% of Maximum Heart Rate (MHR80) - use MHR x 0.8

The Chester Step Test is conducted as follows:

• The assistant explains to the athlete the test requirements.
• You will step up and down onto the box in time with the metronome.
• Every 2-minutes, the metronome will be increased by five steps/minute.
• At every 2-minutes, I will record your heart rate and ask you to tell me the Borg rating for your perceived exertion, and if your heart rate is higher than your MHR80 or your perceived exertion level is above a specific value, then the test will end.
• The test will end after 10 minutes of stepping
• The assistance checks the athlete's understanding of the test requirements.

• Set the metronome to 15 beats/minute
• The athlete steps up and down, one foot at a time, onto the box for 2 minutes
• After 2 minutes, set the metronome to 20 beats/min
• The assistant records the athlete's heart rate (HR1)
• The athlete identifies their perceived exertion value on the Borg Scale
• If the heart rate is higher than the athlete's MHR80 value or their perceived exertion value is higher than 14, then stop the test

• The athlete steps up and down, one foot at a time, onto the box for 2 minutes
• After 2 minutes, set the metronome to 25 beats/min
• The assistant records the athlete's heart rate (HR2)
• The athlete identifies their perceived exertion value on the Borg Scale
• If the heart rate is higher than the athlete's MHR80 value or their perceived exertion value is higher than 14, then stop the test

• The athlete steps up and down, one foot at a time, onto the box for 2 minutes
• After 2 minutes, set the metronome to 30 beats/min
• The assistant records the athlete's heart rate (HR3)
• The athlete identifies their perceived exertion value on the Borg Scale
• If the heart rate is higher than the athlete's MHR80 value or their perceived exertion value is higher than 14, then stop the test

• The athlete steps up and down, one foot at a time, onto the box for 2 minutes
• After 2 minutes, set the metronome to 35 beats/min
• The assistant records the athlete's heart rate (HR4)
• The athlete identifies their perceived exertion value on the Borg Scale
• If the heart rate is higher than the athlete's MHR80 value or their perceived exertion value is higher than 14, then stop the test

• The athlete steps up and down, one foot at a time, onto the box for 2 minutes
• After 2 minutes, stop the test and record the athlete's heart rate (HR5)

### Assessment

As a minimum, you will require readings for HR1, HR2 and HR3 to calculate the athlete's VO2 max.

To evaluate the athlete's VO2 max, enter the athlete's age, the recorded heart rate readings HR1 to HR5 (enter zero if not recorded), and select the 'Calculate' button. MHR, MHR80 and VO2 max will be displayed.

 Athlete's Age HR1 b.p.m. HR2 b.p.m. HR3 b.p.m. HR4 b.p.m. HR5 b.p.m. MHR b.p.m. MHR80 b.p.m. VO2 max - mL.kg.min

Research by Buckley et al. (2004)[3] provides the following table for VO2 max by stage and step height.

 Stage I II II IV V Stepping Rate 15 20 25 30 35 15cm step 11 14 18 21 25 20cm step 12 17 21 26 29 25cm step 14 19 24 28 33 30cm step 16 21 27 32 37

Sykes (1998)[1] identifies the following normative data for the Chester Test.

#### Male Athletes

 Rating - Age Group 15 - 19 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 - 49 50+ Excellent 60+ 55+ 50+ 46+ 44+ Above average 48 - 59 44 - 54 39 - 49 37 - 45 35 - 43 Average 39 - 47 35 - 43 32 - 38 30 - 36 27 - 34 Below Average 30 - 38 28 - 34 22 - 31 24 - 29 22 - 26 Poor <30 >28 >26 <24 <22

#### Female Athletes

 Rating - Age Group 15 - 19 20 - 29 30 - 39 40 - 49 50+ Excellent 55+ 50+ 46+ 43+ 41+ Above average 44 - 54 39 - 49 35 - 45 34 - 42 33 - 40 Average 36 - 43 32 - 38 29 - 34 27 - 33 26 - 32 Below Average 29 - 35 27 - 31 24 - 28 22 - 26 20 - 25 Poor <29 <27 <24 <22 <20

### Analysis

Analysis of the result is by comparing it with the results of previous tests. It is expected that the analysis would indicate an improvement with appropriate training between each test.

#### Target Group

This test is suitable for active and sedentary athletes 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 influencing the results and test reliability.

#### Validity

This test provides a means to monitor the effect of training on the athlete's physical development. Test validity refers to the degree to which the test measures what it claims to measure and the extent to which inferences, conclusions, and decisions based on test scores are appropriate and meaningful. For assessing your VO2 max see the VO2 max normative data tables.

Sykes (2004)[2] stated, "The Chester step test was shown to be a valid test for the estimation of aerobic capacity within this group. The error of measurement is sufficiently small and suggests that this method is well suited to monitoring changes in aerobic capacity in rehabilitation settings."

• Minimal equipment required
• Simple to set up and conduct
• Can be conducted almost anywhere

• Assistant required to administer the test
• Accuracy of the athlete's perceived exertion could influence the test result

### References

1. SYKES, K. (1998) "The Chester Step Test: ASSIST Physiological Measurement Resources Manual Version 3." Liverpool: ASSIST Creative Resources Ltd.
2. SYKES, K. & ROBERTS, A. (2004) The Chester step test—a simple yet effective tool for the prediction of aerobic capacity. Physiotherapy90(4), 183-188
3. BUCKLEY, J. P. et al. (2004) Reliability and validity of measures taken during the Chester step test to predict aerobic power and to prescribe aerobic exercise. Br J Sports Med 2004, 38, 197–205