In a few months, I will need to score as high as I can on a Multi-stage fitness test, or "beep test". I'm a 20 year old male weighting 165 pounds and measuring 6 feet 3 inches. I've never really been in shape or much of a sports guy for my whole life.

I started running a few weeks ago and that was okay but now winter is fully here and I have trouble running outdoors. I'd like to start going to the gym to train for this, but I have a hard time deciding what to do. I used to do the Couch to 5K thing (didn't get very far though) but I find that hard to reproduce on a threadmill, and I'm not sure if it would be the bset form of training for the beep test. I also tried the threadmill's "cardio" training and found it boring (it maxes at 4.5 mph, maybe I just need to do it longer?). I can easily get my hands on the MP3 file for the beep test but that's not much of help if I don't have the room (20 meters no less) to run it.

A friend suggested spinning, but I'm not sure if that'd help. I'd like to work on the leg muscles for running as well as my cardio.

What indoors training (in a gym) can I do to help me on this test?

  • Definitely some form of HIIT - if at some point you lose your treadmill too, you can always just do Tabata burpees. Does wonders for your VO2max.
    – VPeric
    Jan 7, 2012 at 19:00

2 Answers 2


Treadmills are kind of awesome for interval training. You can find various programs online for this, but the basic idea is a minute or so of higher speed running so that you're pretty beat by the end of that minute, followed by 15-30 seconds of lower speed running to recover, and repeat. That should help get your VO2Max up, and also help your body adapt to faster leg speeds. I like treadmills for this because I can't cheat. If I'm intending to run at 10 mph for 1 minute, I know that I've exactly done that.

Here are some example programs (adjust the speeds upward or downward depending on your level):

  • Could you perhaps post a link to such a program? I would accept your answer.
    – Xeon06
    Jan 9, 2012 at 14:53
  • @Xeon06 Okay, added some links :)
    – user2567
    Jan 9, 2012 at 16:49

If your goal is to score well on this test, then the best way to prepare is to practice this exact exercise. Adaptation (including VO2Max) is very specific, and building up your VO2Max at some other exercise (like distance running or spinning) is going to be less efficient and less targeted.

I suggest regular training sessions doing the exact "beep test" (a shuttle run, I gather). This test is typically done indoors anyway, so no issue with winter weather.

  • I'm sorry, I wasn't clear enough. By indoors I meant in a gym with threadmills and such. I don't have the space required to practice the test itself (though I wish I did).
    – Xeon06
    Dec 8, 2011 at 16:13
  • Ah, got it. I'll leave the answer because it may be helpful for others with similar questions (who do have access to a proper gymnasium e.g. a basketball court). You might still want to get outside and practice a shuttle run whenever you can stand the temperature - it really will give you the best bang for your buck.
    – G__
    Dec 8, 2011 at 16:16

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