Course Navette Test: What it is, How to do it, and Interpreting the results

Course Navette Test: What it is, How to do it, and Interpreting the results

The Course Navette Test is one of the most widely used field tests in the field of fitness and sport to evaluate the aerobic capacity of athletes.

What is the Course Navette Test?

Also known as the Beep Test (we’ll soon see why).

It’s a test that measures the aerobic capacity of the subject when they do said test.

The Course Navette is a relatively simple test. It doesn’t require any equipment, and is used in all types of sports and for different subjects, and aims to find out the level of aerobic capacity of a subject.

Course Navette

In addition, there is no need for a large space. As the Course Navette, also known as  20 meter shuttle run test, only requires a 20-metre straight line, which must be marked at the ends.

  • The test consists of travelling that 20 metres distance at a given and established pace, which is determined by a sequence of beeps that go in progression.
  • The test is carried out with a beeping sound that marks the timing required to complete the distance.
  • The time between beeps is progressively shortened, so the subject has to increase their speed progressively until they can no longer do so.
  • Travelling the 20 metres distance before the sound of the following warning, on two consecutive occasions.

Test Cooper

It’s necessary to note at what time or period the subject stopped; which is marked by the audio of the test.

There are result tables from which the results obtained can be analysed according to characteristics, such as sex and age.

The audio for the Course Navette can easily be found on YouTube, you only need audio equipment to play the test:

What does it measure

The Course Navette measure the aerobic capacity of an athlete.

It’s one of the most commonly used tests due its ease of application, validity and reliability.

There are other field tests (as opposed to laboratory tests such as a Stress Test, or the Wingate test) also well known to everyone and used even in school Physical Education Programmes, such as the Cooper Test.

In Spain, the Multi-Stage Fitness Test is used in tests for policing organisations in the Basque Country (Ertzaina) and Catalonia (Mossos de Escuadra), for urban security organisations, and for the army.

Who invented the Course Navette Test?

The creation of this field test is attributed to the Professor and Physiologist of the University of Montreal Luc Lèger (hence it is also known as the Leger Test), in 1984-88.

According to its etymology, “Course-Navette” (its name in French) means “coming and going”; which is exactly what happens in the test.

From then until now, although undergoing some modifications, this field test has been used to test aerobic capacity in a variety of environments: with schoolchildren, teenagers, team sports and even in some access tests for security forces.

How do you do the Course Navette Test?

As mentioned, it’s a relatively simple field test.

However, as with any assessment test, it is necessary that it’s well explained to the subjects who are going to carry it out, so that there is no confusion and it can be carried out correctly.

In addition to a description of how the test is performed and what it measures (the participant knowing this in advance will be better prepared and more motivated to do so), a brief general warm-up and gentle jogging are necessary to prepare the athlete for the test both physically and mentally.

Test Leger

Ideally, you should have visual marks of the distance to be covered, so we recommend either marking the distance with cones or a clearly visible line at the ends of the 20 metre straight.

The Course Navette Test or 20 meter shuttle run test, consists of 21 one-minute periods in which the frequency of beeps increases progressively. Progressively, the times between one sound and another are shortened, so that the subject will start to go faster from one end of the 20-metre line to the other.
  • The subject begins by hearing an alarm beep.
  • Before the second beep sounds, they have to travel that 20 meters distance.
  • At the beginning, as the time between one sound and another is long, the person doing the test can even walk. The speed will increase incrementally.
  • The beeps, which sound more and more frequently, are grouped into periods of 1 minute.
A very important aspect of doing the test correctly is that you can’t turn; that’s to say, once you reach an end, you have to pivot on one leg to return.

When does it finish?

The test ends when:

  1. The subject feels they have reached their maximum effort level and can’t go on any longer; or when,
  2. Two consecutive failures (not reaching the MSFT distance) occur twice in a row.

Important considerations

  • Continuous accelerations and decelerations.
  • Running technique will be a factor that will help to improve the efficiency of the test
  • Management of effort in the acceleration and deceleration stages and pivoting to the other side (we’ll have to see which leg we’ll be doing it with, how to do it etc…)

Test Results: How to interpret them?

Below is a table so that you can see the Course Navette values:

Course Navette scale

Course Navette Scale.

In the case of entrance examinations, each body establishes a minimum score required, the standard being a minimum of 9’5 periods.

VO2MAX Predictor

Although it’s not an exact measurement of the maximum oxygen consumption (VO2MAX), as in laboratory tests (incremental run with spirometry with gas analysis, for example); a relationship can be established.

Stages (minutes)Speed (km/h)Distance (metres)
18133
29283
39.5441
410608
510.5783
611966
711.51158
8121358
912.51566
10131783
1113.52008
12142241
1314.52483
14152733
1515.52991
16163258
1716.53533
18173816
1917.54108
20184408

Speed-Distance Table for Course Navette or Multi-Stage Fitness Test run.

In this case, once we’ve finished an Course Navette, we’ll measure the speed reached in the test and apply the following formula

VO2 Max = 5.857 x Speed (Km/h) – 19.45

It’s a non-exact formula to measure maximum oxygen consumption, but it will help us have reference points to measure the evolution and results of the training. Do you know what VO2MAX is? Click here to find out.

How long does the test last?

As mentioned above, the test ends when the subject stops or when on two consecutive occasions they fail to cover the distance of 20 metres before the sound of the next beep.

The tables are referenced for a duration of 21 cycles of 1 minute; that’s to say, the maximum, that very few athletes achieve, is to cover the distance in the 21 periods of time (an accumulated distance of 4.940 meters).

Tips and Advice

  • A good warm up beforehand, both general and specific, to raise the body temperature and mentally concentrate on the test.
  • Joint mobility exercises of the hips and ankles, mainly
  • Training with accelerations, decelerations and changes in direction.
  • Running technique work.

Related Entires

  • Have you heard of Natural Running? We explain what it is in the following post.
  • Everything you need to know about HIIT by clicking here.
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About Isabel del Barrio
Isabel del Barrio
Sport runs in the blood of Isabel, which she has proven since she was very little up until now. She wants to share that passion with all those who are passionate about sports.
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