General

The Harvard Step Test is a test used to measure endurance. This test was developed during the Second World War by Brouiha et al. (1943). The Harvard Step Test is easy to do; you don’t need a lot of material.

Content

The test consists of the following components:

  • Test period of five minutes
  • Measure the heart rate at three different moments

Procedure

The goal is to perform a step-up move for five minutes in a rhythm of 30 step-ups per minute. After the test, you measure your heart rate at three different moments:

  1. Between 60 and 90 seconds
  2. Between 120 and 150 seconds
  3. Between 180 and 210 seconds

Steps

  1. Set the step to the correct height (see table below);
  2. Start the test and maintain the rhythm of 30 step-ups per minute;
  3. The test stops after five minutes, or if the test person cannot carry out more than fifteen step-ups per minute;
  4. Then write down the heart rate between 60 and 90 seconds after the end of the test;
  5. Then write down the heart rate between 120 and 150 seconds after the test;
  6. Lastly, write down the heart rate between 180 and 210 seconds after the end of the test.

Results

Write down the number of seconds the test lasted. Then add the heart rates you measured in resting periods 1, 2, and 3. Use these data to fill out the formula below:

Fitness Index = (100 x the duration of the test in seconds) / (2 x the total of the heart rates in the three recovery periods)

Example:

The test lasted 300 seconds (or five minutes). The number of beats between 60 and 90 seconds was 90. The heart rate between 120 and 150 seconds was at 80 and the heart rate between 180 and 210 seconds was at 70. The Fitness Index calculation then looks as follows:

(100 x 300) / ((90+80+70) x 2) = 62.5

Look for the wattage to start with in the the below:

Setting step height

Body height Wattage
< 150 30 cm
150 – 160 cm 35 cm
160 – 170 cm 40 cm
170 – 180 cm 45 cm
> 180 cm 50 cm

Fitness Index

Geslacht Excellent Above average Average Below average Poor
Men > 90 80 – 90 65 – 79 55 – 64 < 55
Women > 86 76 – 86 61 – 75 50 – 60 < 50

Required equipment

For this test you need the following:

  • Exercise stepper set to the height of the body (see table below)
  • Assistant to indicate pace
  • Heart rate sensor

E-book: All Sports Tests

Are you looking for a useful guide that describes more than 40 sports tests? This e-book contains an overview we composed of the most important sports tests currently available. Additionally, the tests are, where possible, substantiated with literature.

More information

Rate this test:

(4.1 based on 76 reviews)