Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

Birtwell 40m Shuttle Test

The Birtwell 40 meter shuttle run test is an effective aerobic endurance test that challenges participants to continuously run between two lines spaced 40 meters apart. As the test progresses, the time allowed to run between the lines decreases, pushing participants to their limits. This test, developed by Ian Birtwell for the Canadian national rugby program, is a longer version of the popular 20m Beep Test or multistage fitness test.

Birtwell 40m Shuttle Test

Test Procedure and Equipment

To conduct the Birtwell 40m shuttle test, you will need a flat, non-slip surface, marker cones, a 40m measuring tape, recording sheets, a whistle (or cd), and a stopwatch. The cones are placed 40 meters apart, and participants stand behind one of the lines facing the opposite line. Two instructors are required, one to blow the whistle or play the cd at specified times, and the other to announce the level and rep currently being run. Participants must reach each line in time to the signal, continuously running between each line and staying within a stride’s distance of the line. The last level successfully completed is recorded as the participant’s score.

Scoring and Interpretation

The athlete’s score in the Birtwell 40m shuttle test is determined by the highest level and rep (40m) they reached before being unable to keep up. A score of 6.2 is considered good, while anything above 7 is excellent. Notably, fittest U15 rugby players tend to achieve around 6.2, while national U/20 rugby players in Canada reach about 7.4 (depending on body type and position played).

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Who Can Participate?

The Birtwell 40m shuttle test is suitable for sports teams and school groups. However, individuals with health problems, injuries, or low fitness levels should avoid this maximal exercise test. It is primarily used in the context of Rugby players, where it has proven to be a valuable tool for assessing endurance capacity.

Advantages and Disadvantages

One of the main advantages of the Birtwell 40m shuttle test is its ability to accommodate large groups simultaneously, making it a cost-effective option. Additionally, the test pushes participants to their maximum effort, unlike some other endurance tests. However, it’s worth noting that practice and motivation levels can influence the scores attained, and scoring can be subjective. Moreover, the results may be affected by environmental conditions as the test is often conducted outside.


Q: How long does the Birtwell 40m shuttle test take to complete?
A: The test can typically be completed in under 10 minutes, making it a time-efficient assessment tool.

Q: Is the Birtwell 40m shuttle test suitable for recreational athletes?
A: This test is not recommended for recreational athletes or individuals with health problems, injuries, or low fitness levels due to its maximal nature.

Q: Can I conduct the Birtwell 40m shuttle test without a whistle or CD?
A: While a whistle or CD is commonly used to signal the timing in this test, alternative methods can be used as long as they accurately indicate the required intervals.


The Birtwell 40m shuttle test is a challenging yet valuable tool for assessing aerobic endurance. With its focus on continuous running and progressive intensity, it provides valuable insights for sports teams and school groups. However, it’s crucial to consider individual fitness levels, motivation, and environmental conditions when interpreting the results. To learn more about the Birtwell 40m shuttle test and other related assessments, visit Auralpressure.

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