Frequently Asked Questions

Why Test Fitness?

Exercise, of the right sort, can make an enormous contribution to a person’s well-being, but the exercise of the wrong sort can be painful and harmful to health.

It’s amazing to think what’s happening to the body during vigorous exercise. Heart rate, blood flow, blood pressure and breathing rate all increase significantly. For the unfit and overzealous these changes can present a serious risk to health. So the level of exercise is very important.

But how do we know how much is good for us – or what might be too vigorous?

Assessing physical fitness can help health and fitness professionals to establish a baseline of fitness for each individual. Appropriate advice may then be given together with a safely graded exercise programme. Regular fitness monitoring will not only help keep a measurable check on improving fitness levels and facilitate programme updates… but also provides strong motivational feedback, encouraging the individual to continue with their new healthier lifestyle.

Components of health-related fitness include cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness, strength, body composition and flexibility.

A fitness test battery would normally include different tests designed to measure each of these components. The Chester Step Test is a measure of cardio-respiratory fitness. To summarise fitness testing:

  • Enables a baseline of fitness to be established
  • Enables personalised exercise prescription
  • Enables monitoring of fitness
  • Personal fitness data provides motivation
  • Education and awareness about active lifestyles and health
  • Health risk indicator

To perform the Chester step test, you need a step of suitable height. A method to measure heart rate and a metronome or audio beat.
To make things easy, we’ve created the Chester Step Test Kit. The kit contains everything you need to perform the Chester Step Test.

The best way to learn the Chester Step Test is to read the resource manual, which is included in the CST2 Software.

We also recommend our online training seminar. If you need any further assistance or need more support, you can schedule a 1-1 online consultancy session with Professor Sykes.

Using RPE

The Rate of Perceived Exertion (RPE) is included in the Chester Step testing protocol to give an indication of how hard the participant is finding the test.

RPE values are not included in the calculation of aerobic capacity and their collection and use as an endpoint to the test is optional. 

Unless the participant is showing signs of undue distress and fatigue, the endpoint of the Chester Step Test is normally the point when the participant reaches 85% their maximum heart rate.


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