Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Balke Step Test

The Balke Step Test is a graded step test designed to determine aerobic fitness. Unlike many other step tests, this test involves a gradual increase in step height and continues until exhaustion. It was first described by Nagle, Balke, and Naughton in 1965.


The purpose of the Balke Step Test is to assess aerobic fitness.

Equipment Required

To perform this test, you will need an automatically adjustable step (with a range of 2 to 50cm), a stopwatch, and a metronome or cadence tape. You can find an online metronome on our website.


Before starting the test, it is important to explain the procedures to the subject and perform a screening for any health risks. Obtain informed consent and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, and gender. Make sure to check the step height and set the metronome accordingly. For more detailed pre-test procedures, please refer to our guidelines.


During the Balke Step Test, the metronome is set at 120 beats per minute, indicating a stepping rate of 30 steps per minute (4 beats per stepping cycle). The starting step height is set to the lowest level, 2cm. The subject should then step up and down on the step in time with the metronome, leading with either leg. Every minute, the step height is increased by 2cm. The test is terminated when the subject becomes fatigued and can no longer keep up with the required stepping rate. For a more comprehensive step test procedure, please refer to our general guidelines.

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To calculate the energy expenditure (VO2max) corresponding to the final stage of the test, use the ACSM metabolic equation for stepping exercise.

Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the advantages of the Balke Step Test is that it is a maximal step test, providing a better indication of VO2max compared to other step tests. However, one disadvantage to consider is that the automatically adjustable step height may not be readily available like the simpler steps used in other step tests.


Q: Are there any similar tests to the Balke Step Test?
A: Yes, there are other step tests available. For more information, please refer to our general step test procedure and the links provided.


The Balke Step Test is a valuable tool for assessing aerobic fitness. By following the proper procedures and using the appropriate equipment, you can gather important data to evaluate an individual’s VO2max. For more information about the Balke Step Test and other fitness tests, please visit Auralpressure.