Tips for a better Beep test score

11 October 2018

Tips for a better Beep test score


Most people run the beep test at some point in high school or middle school gym and hope to be done with it. Not the case for those seeking a career in law enforcement. I get a lot of people seeking help with the beep test so here’s a few tips to help you out.

  1. Improve your running stride – Most people think the beep test is simply a matter of cardio, others recognize that it’s all in your head. Both are right, but there’s more. When covering a fixed distance like 20 meters, it’s very helpful to cover that distance with as few steps as possible. This means each step should be as efficient as possible to not needlessly deplete the body’s resources. Proper hamstring and glute engagement is key, along with core strength, arm swing and the fusion of these elements into a good stride. This is commonly referred to as chassis integration.
  2. Short distance sprinting – Proper running stride alone won’t be enough to get you the beep test score you need. Cardio does count. What I always tell people is to approach this problem from 2 separate angles, both of which will help you increase your lung capacity. First is in the form of short distance sprinting. Set a time limit, say 2 minutes. How many times can you cover a 20m distance in 2 minutes? If the answer is 14, how soon until you can do 16 lengths in 2 minutes? What about 18 lengths? Then figure out how many lengths can you cover in 90 seconds.
  3. Long(ish) distance running – The second angle is in the form of longer distance running, let’s start with 1 mile. At least twice a week, run 1 mile. Work your way up to covering that mile in 8 minutes or less. When you can do that 3 sessions in a row, increase the distance to 1.5 miles for 12 minutes or less. When you can do that 3 consecutive sessions, make it 2 miles in 16 minutes or less etc. This will also help your body build a lactic acid tolerance.
  4. The beep test itself – but not the way most people do it. I see it ALL the time. People come in, want to practise the beep test and that’s their “training.” Remember that studying for a test is not the same as the actual test, so try this instead. Set a goal score in your mind, something well above the score you’ll be tested on. Police officers in southern Ontario require a beep test score of 7, so let’s say the goal for you is a score of AT LEAST 9. In your mind, this is your goal as you begin to run the test. Most people will start to give up when it starts to hurt, others will try to push through, but eventually give up when the pain becomes too much. When this happens, don’t stop running the test, just take a break. Take a few deep breathes and continue to your level 9. So let’s say the first time you tried this, you had to take 4 breaks to make it to level 9. Over time, try to get to level 9 with only 3 breaks, then with only 2 breaks, then with only 1, then with no breaks at all. Keep your breaks short and controlled. No more than 20 seconds, or 8-10 deep controlled breaths. This will get your body accustomed to the fast pace at the upper levels of the beep test. When people just practise the test from level 1 to the level they need, they become accustomed to that pace. So get used to a faster pace, so that those lower level paces seem that much easier. I developed this concept from the ancient Roman Army. The soldiers would train with weapons much heavier than the ones they used in battle. That way when lives were on the line, the weapons they wielded seemed that much easier to use.
  5. Visualization – This is not some bull shit new age hippie crap, it’s actually another technique used by the warrior societies of antiquity to win battles. Convince your mind that this is not only possible and you are capable, but that it’ll be easy and you’ll get an epic score. Do this by playing the beep test, and sitting close by listening to it. Listen to the guy’s dry, boring voice count out the stages while you sit there, eyes closed and breathing deeply. Visualize yourself running the test at each level that he’s going through. Visualize yourself doing it with other candidates and each time your 2 steps ahead, smiling, putting in work, but doing a great job and impressing the officers conducting the test.

Good luck!

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