Harvard Step Test

With so many ways to meausre fitness, the Harvard Step Test uses your recovery rate to assess your cardiovascular fitness. It's simple to do and easy to regularly monitor your progress.

What's the Point?

There are numerous ways of measuring fitness the Harvard step test takes the approach of assessing cardio fitness by checking your recovery rate.

Quite simply, the fitter you are, the more quickly your cardio system will return to normal after a bout of intense exercise. The Harvard step test uses this to assess your overall fitness level.

What Do You Need?

  • A gym bench or box, 45cm high.
  • A stopwatch
  • An assistant

How Do You Do The Test?

  • Step on to a standard gym bench/box once every two seconds for five minutes (150 steps)
  • Your assistant can help you keep the required pace
  • One minute after finishing, take your pulse (bpm) this is Pulse 1
  • Two minutes after finishing, take your pulse again this is Pulse 2
  • Three minutes after finishing, take your pulse for the final time this is Pulse 3
  • Use the formula below to determine your level of fitness

What Results You'll See

Your level of fitness can be determined using the results of the test, as follows:

Result = 30000 (pulse1 + pulse2 + pulse3)

If you want to compare your results to others, the following is normative data for 16 year old athletes:

Gender Excellent Above Average Average Below Average Poor
Male >90 80-90 65-79 55-64 <55
Female >86 76-86 61-75 50-60 <50


What's Being Measured Again?

This test uses recovery rate to measure general cardiovascular fitness.

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