The treadmill may be better for testing because it takes up less space, and you can use it indoors when there is an adverse weather condition outside.
People want to know whether they can train for a beep test on a treadmill for many reasons.
Although you can do something that replicates a beep test, significant differences can make the results not directly comparable.
Therefore, you cannot wholly train for the beep test on the treadmill, but you can certainly practice for the test.
The tests involve speed as it becomes increasingly demanding, and you can do speed exercises on the treadmill. That way, you can get familiar with some of the testing challenges.
What you can’t do is copy the many deceleration and turns you do during the beep test.
The guide below will help to know if you can do this test on a treadmill for various reasons..
What is a Beep Test?
The beep test, also known as the continuous incremental maximal running test, is a series of runs up and down a 20-meter course.
Every minute, the running speed increases by approximately 10 mph (see levels).
Some beeps decrease with time, and you have to race between these beeps before they sound.
If you fail once, there will be a warning, and the second time you fail, it will stop you and record the score.
An essential aspect of the test is turning between those markers. Typically, it is because you are racing back and forth in a straight line.
It causes the deceleration as you approach the tags and the turn to race to another marker, making it challenging.
It takes a long time to adjust the speed and direction, causing you to slow down.
It is excellent for anyone to take the test, as it starts slowly, but only those with high levels of physical fitness can score high.
Since the beep test invention in 1983, it is very efficient in measuring a person’s fitness level. In particular, VO2 max, which you can use to calculate your physical fitness capacity.
Realize that you are unlikely to beat the beep test, but it will always beat you.
The most important thing, however, is how long you can resist exhaustion. It rises to 21 levels and, although some claim to achieve it, there is no evidence.
There are no limits apart from the human body handling capabilities.
How to do a Beep Test on a Treadmill
You can utilize the treadmill to perform a beep test to boost your fitness and prepare for a standard beep test.
To more accurately reflect the total duration of the experiment, you need to increase the racing speed or increase the treadmill slope.
You may need to calculate when the beep will be faster and increase the treadmill’s speed accordingly.
The audible beeps usually get quicker every minute, and so you need to increase the belt speed to match this frequency.
It is not necessary to copy the start of the test as it is prolonged and gradual. However, if you want to make the replication more realistic, you can start with this slow stage.
You may need to start at 8 km / h, and this equates to a regular jog. It may seem very slow to some, but remember that it accelerates quickly like the beep test.
Then, every minute, the speed increases by 0.5 mph. Then it will run at eight mph in 5 minutes and 10.5 mph in 10 minutes.
It is more complex than a test, as it has no advantage in delays and reversals, which offers a short cool-down time.
Remember that you should only do this with someone watching you or at least someone in your training place.
Anything you do to exhaust yourself needs caution and not too often. It is easy to overdo it, and while it is just a workout for the right person.
Try to do this once a week and exercise regularly on other days to keep your physical fitness.
Some recommend using gradient instead of speed as a training method.
However, it is not advisable to run on hills for long periods.
You don’t race through endless hills in nature, and you will not carry out such a test outdoors, which is terrible for your joints and knees.
On a treadmill, wear the shoes you plan to wear during the outdoor test to make the replication more comparable.
Be careful as the beep test is exhausting, and racing on the treadmill presents some risks.
It is advisable to use an automatic stop mechanism, for example, a cable between the treadmill and the runner, an emergency stop switch, and a nearby assistant.
Occupations that Use Beep Test
The beep test is in use worldwide to determine whether certain professions or athletes are reaching the necessary fitness level.
These occupations include sports clubs, universities, military, and police forces.
Because tests are a powerful indicator of cardiovascular endurance, they have become an essential part of assessing overall physical fitness.
In addition, it is one of the most common health tests for children and teenagers.
Depending on the organization using the test, candidates have to meet specific criteria, including scales for male and female candidates.
It has different names in different regions, but it is almost always the same. The US calls it a multi-stage fitness test or PACER (Progressive Aerobic Cardio Endurance Run).
There is a Wikipedia article about the test that shows the occupations around the world using it.
The fields are mainly with military and law enforcement agencies worldwide, which portrays how popular it is. It is probably straightforward to do as it requires little equipment and space and is economical and efficient.
These organizations require their employees to reach a certain level as a recruitment criterion. In some cases, there are beep tests in schools.
It is fun, and a lot of people can do it at the same time, which creates competition. Only the active and able succeed, and sometimes it is not who you think will win.
Treadmill usage and Limitations
Probably you carry out all your fitness tests on treadmills, apart from the traditional beep test. Even the actual VO2 max test is on a treadmill as it consists of medical equipment, which means you have to train at the same place.
But because you can’t slow down quickly and you certainly can’t turn around, a treadmill is not the perfect way to replicate a traditional beep test.
Because the outdoor beep test forces you to make sharp turns and change speeds, accelerate to reach your mark, or decelerate to turn or stop.
Furthermore, forward momentum is a challenge for the treadmill, as it has practically disappeared.
When you run outdoors, you are physically pushing the body forward.
When you are on a treadmill, it is different as the belt will be moving backward, eliminating the need for forwarding momentum. It, therefore, means that the force you require to run changes, which can significantly affect the beep test result.
Adding an extra inclination on the treadmill can help compensate for this reduction of forwarding momentum, even if the speed will not be ultimately the same as the one for outdoor beep tests.
Nevertheless, a treadmill can improve your physical fitness, which is the goal of beep tests.
If you live in a densely built area with no access to around 20 meters of indoor or outdoor space, a treadmill is a great way to do your beep tests.
Notably, the beep test involves endurance and speed, which you achieve using a treadmill.
Replicating The Speeds
It is possible to replicate the test successfully on the treadmill, but you can’t replace it.
You can run the same speed on a on a treadmill and steps as the beep test.
First, you need to set the treadmill to a slope of 1% (this simulates the energy you need to run on the flat ground outdoors) and at a speed of 8.5 km / h.
Increase your speed by around 0.5 km / h every minute. Remember that not everything is possible on a treadmill.
Performing a beep test on a treadmill is much easier without turning, and you will reach a higher level that means a faster speed than if you do the test over a distance of 20 meters outdoors.
You can repeat the second test more accurately and even conduct the treadmill beep test version of the University of Montreal track test.
For this test, you need to perform a continuous incremental nonstop racing test over 400 meters running track following audible beeps that increase after two minutes.
You can do this on a treadmill by increasing the speed of the treadmill every minute.
The starting speed of the first stage is 6 km / h which is an average walking speed, and then the speed increases by 1.2 km / h every two minutes.
In conclusion, to exercise on a treadmill, you don’t require audible beeps; you need to understand how quickly they change.
Fortunately, with the help of the buttons and console, you know exactly how fast you are running. It is, therefore, the most accurate way to carry out a beep test on a treadmill.
It is very similar to high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which also helps to increase VO2 max.
You can train on the treadmill at any time of the day and in any weather.
The speed training options you can do are huge. You can do many different types of speed exercises, and it will make your condition better.
However, there are few tests that you can use to measure your fitness. The beep test is one of them, and exercising it on the treadmill can help you boost your performance.