Saturday, 22 Jun 2024

Chester Step Test

The Chester Step Test is a sub-maximal multistage stepping test of aerobic capacity that is commonly used in the UK. Developed by Professor Kevin Sykes, this variation of a stepping type fitness test provides a reliable assessment of aerobic fitness levels.

Equipment and Pre-Test

To conduct the Chester Step Test, you will need a heart rate monitor, Chester Step software, a Chester step, and a perceived exertion scale. Before starting the test, make sure to explain the procedures to the subject, perform a screening for health risks, and obtain informed consent. Record basic information such as age, height, body weight, gender, and test conditions.

Test Procedures

The step height varies for different participants, ranging from 15cm to 25cm based on their age and physical activity history. The initial step rate is 15 steps per minute, and every two minutes, the tempo increases by 5 steps per minute. The stepping rate is set by a recorded metronome and guided verbal instructions. The test is terminated when the subject reaches 80% of their age-estimated heart rate maximum or an RPE (Rate of Perceived Exertion) of 14 on Borg’s 6-20 scale.

Step Height Criteria

The step height is determined based on standardized criteria. Here are the recommended step heights for different participants:

  • 15cm/6inch: Suitable for those over 40 years of age who take little or no regular physical exercise and for moderately overweight individuals in the over-40 age group.
  • 20cm/8inch: Suitable for those under 40 years of age who take little or no regular physical exercise and for moderately overweight individuals in the under-40 age group.
  • 25cm/10inch: Suitable for those over 40 years of age who engage in regular physical exercise and are used to moderately vigorous exertion.
  • 30cm/12inch: Suitable for those under 40 years of age who engage in regular physical exercise and are used to moderately vigorous exertion.
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Advantages and Disadvantages

The Chester Step Test offers several advantages. It requires minimal equipment and is highly portable. The test can assess individuals with a wide range of absolute aerobic fitness levels by adjusting step heights.

However, there are some disadvantages to consider. Participants may not accurately gauge their Rate of Perceived Exertion for various reasons, such as peer pressure. If the step height is not adjusted for age and physical activity, shorter individuals may be at a disadvantage.

History and References

The Chester Step Test was developed by Kevin Sykes during his time at Chester College, a College of the University of Liverpool. It was designed to assess the aerobic fitness of fire brigades in Britain, Europe, the USA, and Asia.

References:

  • Sykes K. Chester step test; resource pack (Version 3). Cheshire, UK: Chester College of Higher Education, 1998.
  • J P Buckley, J Sim, R G Eston, R Hession, R Fox, Reliability and validity of measures taken during the Chester step test to predict aerobic power and to prescribe aerobic exercise. Br J Sports Med 2004;38:197-205.
  • Sykes K and Roberts A, The Chester step test—a simple yet effective tool for the prediction of aerobic capacity, Physiotherapy, Volume 90, Issue 4, December 2004, Pages 183-188.

Similar Tests

  • Other Step Tests
  • Chester Treadmill Police Walk Test: Walking at 6 km/hr on a treadmill, increasing gradient by 3% every 2 minutes.
  • Chester Treadmill Police Run Test: Running at 10.4 km/hr on a treadmill, increasing gradient every 2 minutes.
  • Chester Treadmill Test: Walking at 6.2 km/hr on a treadmill, increasing gradient by 3% every 2 minutes.

Related Pages

  • Step Test iPhone app
  • Step up exercises at the beach or during pregnancy
  • More information on measuring heart rate and the perceived exertion scale
  • About Kevin Sykes
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FAQs

Q: What is the purpose of the Chester Step Test?
The Chester Step Test is designed to assess aerobic capacity, specifically measuring an individual’s ability to sustain physical activity over an extended period.

Q: How is the step height determined for the Chester Step Test?
The step height is determined based on standardized criteria, taking into account the participant’s age and physical activity history. It is crucial to choose the appropriate step height for accurate test results.

Q: Are there any disadvantages to the Chester Step Test?
One potential disadvantage is that participants may not honestly gauge their Rate of Perceived Exertion, which can affect the accuracy of the results. Additionally, if the step height is not adjusted for age and physical activity, shorter individuals may be at a disadvantage.

Summary

The Chester Step Test is a sub-maximal multistage stepping test commonly used in the UK to assess aerobic capacity. Developed by Professor Kevin Sykes, this test provides valuable insights into an individual’s aerobic fitness levels. By following standardized protocols and adjusting step heights based on age and physical activity, the Chester Step Test offers a flexible and portable option for evaluating aerobic endurance.