Step Test Icon

Speed Ability

Step Test

Most sports (although not all, such as swimming) require some degree of speed ability. Speed ability helps all games players to move into position or get away from opponents quickly.

However, speed ability is not the same as agility which is often confused. Speed ability is usually considered as how fast you can move your body over a fixed distance. Measuring this can be a bit more complicated as it is difficult to maintain the same speed throughout the entire running distance. For example, during running, there is an acceleration phase, then a maintenance phase in which maximum speed is achieved and then a fatigue phase where the maximum speed can no longer be maintained. These phases vary with the distance run and personal ability.

Traditionally, the speed ability test requires the subject to run over a fixed distance (usually less than 200m to avoid fatigue) and timed during the maximum speed phase. This is not a practical measurement for use in a gym environment and requires photoelectric sensors for the automatic time measurements over a known fixed distance.

FitQuest measures speed ability by employing an alternative measure known as the "step test". This test requires that you run on the spot as fast as possible for 30 seconds. This eliminates the first phase of accelerating the body to maximum speed.

Speed Task Animation

Getting the best speed results

FitQuest measures every step and counts how many steps you made over the 30 second test. If you step high, then you cannot go as fast as if you just lift your foot off the platform.

Technique plays a big role, so it might be a good idea to practice at home before you take a test. Rarely, some people seem to lose their rhythm during the step test and this really does reduce their score, so practice is important in order to get a fair result of your speed ability.

Getting the best fatigue results

The step test is quite intense, so unless you are very fit (or you don’t run as fast as possible) you are likely to fatigue during the test. FitQuest measures the time between each step, so by calculating how much you have slowed down throughout the whole test, we can calculate your fatigue.

It is very important then that you run as fast as possible from the very beginning of the test, right through to the very end when the machine says "STOP". If you slow down even one second before the end of the test, your score will suffer.

How do I improve my speed ability

To improve speed ability you have to increase your lower body muscle strength and at the same time practice speed running. One way to do this is to sprint as fast as you can for 20 seconds and recover for 10 seconds, completing seven or eight rounds.

Another method is to try doing the ladder exercise. This is where a ladder is marked out on the ground and you have to step between each rung as fast as possible.

ladder exercise

How do I improve my fatigue?

Fatigue depends on so many factors. For example, the heavier you are the more work you have to do for any given exercise and therefore you are likely to fatigue quicker. Your cardio respiratory fitness also has an important effect on endurance capabilities, as well as your muscle strength. To improve your endurance (i.e. reduce fatigue level), you need to improve all of these factors. This usually requires that you undertake some sort of endurance training.

Ask your PT

Ask your personal trainer for advice and guidance which exercises are most suitable for you and, as always, don’t be afraid to tell them what exercises you don’t like doing. They will definitely want you to enjoy your experience.

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