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Queen's College 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.


The objective of the Queen's College Step Test (McArdle et al. 1972)[1] is to monitor the development of the athlete's cardiovascular system.

Required Resources

To conduct this test, you will require:

  • A step 16.25 inches or 41.3 cm high
  • Stopwatch
  • Metronome or cadence tape
  • Heart rate monitor (optional)
  • Assistant

How to conduct the test

This requires the athlete to step up and down on the step for 3 minutes at the following rate:  male 24 steps/minute and female 22 steps/minute

  • The athlete warms up for 10 minutes
  • The assistant sets up the metronome to the required steps/minute pace (Male 24 and Female 22)
  • The assistant gives the command “GO”, starts the stopwatch, and the athlete commences the test
  • The assistant ensures the athlete maintains the required steps/minute pace
  • The assistant stops the test after 3 minutes and records the athlete's heart rate for 15 seconds (PR)
Queens Step Test  Queens Step Test


The following normative data is available for this test.

The following are national norms for 16 to 19-year-olds (Davis 2000)[2].

Gender Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor
Male <121 148 - 121 156 - 149 162 - 157 >162
Female <129 158 - 129 166 - 159 170 - 167 >170

To estimate your VO2 max, enter the number of heartbeats counted in 15 seconds and then select the 'Calculate' button.

Heartbeats in 15 seconds -
Estimated oxygen uptake
Male ml/kg/min   Female ml/kg/min

Calculations are based on the normative data table

To analysis your VO2 max score, visit the VO2 max page.


The test result is analysed by comparing it with the athlete's previous results for this test. It is expected that the analysis would indicate an improvement in the athlete's VO2 max 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.


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.


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 an assessment of your VO2 max, see the VO2 max normative data tables.


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


  • Specialist equipment required
  • Assistant required to administer the test

Free Calculator

Queens College Step Test Calculator - a free Microsoft Excel spreadsheet that you can download and use on your computer.


  1. McARDLE, W.D. et al. (1972) Reliability and interrelationships between maximal oxygen uptake, physical work capacity and step test scores in college women. Medicine and Science in Sports, 4, p. 182-186
  2. DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Physical Education and the study of sport. 4th ed. London: Harcourt Publishers. p. 125

Page Reference

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

  • MACKENZIE, B. (2001) Queen's College Step Test [WWW] Available from: [Accessed