Monday, 17 Jun 2024

Queens College Step Test

The Queens College Step Test is a variation of the step test procedure that measures aerobic fitness. In comparison to the Harvard Step Test, this version has a lower step height, slower cadence, shorter test duration, and simpler analysis. Another similar test is the YMCA 3-minute step test.

Purpose

The purpose of this sub-maximal test is to provide a measure of cardiorespiratory or endurance fitness. It can help determine an individual’s aerobic capacity.

Equipment Required

To perform the Queens College Step Test, you will need the following equipment:

  • 16.25 inches / 41.3 cm step
  • Stopwatch
  • Metronome or cadence tape
  • Optional heart rate monitor

Pre-Test Procedures

Before conducting the test, it is important to follow these pre-test procedures:

  • Explain the test procedures to the participant.
  • Screen for any health risks and obtain informed consent.
  • Prepare necessary forms and record basic information such as age, height, body weight, and gender.
  • Check the step height and set the metronome accordingly.

Test Procedure

During the Queens College Step Test, the athlete will step up and down on the platform at a rate of 22 steps per minute for females and 24 steps per minute for males. The participants should maintain a four-step cadence of “up-up-down-down” for a duration of 3 minutes. After completing the test, the athlete should immediately stop, and their heartbeats should be counted for 15 seconds between 5-20 seconds of recovery. Multiply the 15-second count by 4 to obtain the beats per minute (bpm) value for further calculations.

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Scoring and Calculation

The Queens College Step Test allows for the estimation of VO2max, which can be calculated using the following formulas:

  • For men: VO2max(ml/kg/min) = 111.33 – (0.42 x heart rate (bpm))
  • For women: VO2max(ml/kg/min) = 65.81 – (0.1847 x heart rate (bpm))

Different VO2max norms can be used to determine the rating for an individual’s fitness level.

Variations and Reliability

If desired, a heart rate monitor can be used to measure heart rate during the test. In this case, the heart rate reading should be taken at the 20-second mark post-exercise.

The test-retest reliability for recovery heart rate has been measured as r = 0.92, indicating good reliability. Additionally, there is a correlation between recovery heart rate and VO2max, with a measurement of r = -0.75, indicating a moderate inverse relationship.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The Queens College Step Test offers several advantages, including minimal equipment and costs, little time required to administer, and the ability for individuals to self-administer the test.

However, it is important to note that biomechanical characteristics may vary between individuals, potentially giving taller individuals an advantage. Additionally, the test’s data was originally formulated from treadmill running, so there may be assumptions regarding the equivalence of stepping and treadmill running in terms of oxygen cost.

Reference

W.D. McArdle et al. (1972) Reliability and interrelationships between maximal oxygen uptake, physical work capacity, and step test scores in college women. Medicine and Science in Sports, Vol 4, p182-186.

Similar Tests

  • General Step Test procedure, which includes links to many other step tests.
  • YMCA 3-minute step test.
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Related Pages

  • Learn more about the Queen’s College Step Test iPhone app.
  • Watch a video of the Queens College Step Test and other step tests being performed.
  • Discover step-up exercises at the beach or during pregnancy.
  • Find additional information on measuring heart rate.