Choosing the right step height for the test ensures the participant can get a Vo2 prediction. The Chester Step test uses one of four different step heights:
- 6inch (15cm)
- 8inch (20cm)
- 10inch (25cm
- 12inch (30m)
The height of the step you should use depends on two factors. The first is the age of the individual tested. The second is the physical ability of the participant.
Whichever height you choose, aim for one that allows the person tested to reach at least the third level. This level in the test gives at least three points to plot on the graph paper or to be input in the software. In fact, the software has a failsafe mechanism. This happens if the user enters not enough or inconsistent data.
There are no advantages or disadvantages to using a lower or higher step height.
How to choose the correct height.
Here are some useful guidelines for selecting the right step height for the test. We recommend using your judgment when assessing the most appropriate step height.
The most popular of all step heights and suited for individuals UNDER 40 years of age. These people may take regular exercise at a moderate or vigorous intensity.
This step suits OVER 40's that take regular exercise at a moderate or vigorous intensity.
The 20cm step is often used by individuals UNDER the age of 40. They may take little to no regular exercise and may be overweight. People who use this step height may not achieve level three on the test with a higher step. This would result in them not getting an estimated Vo2 max score.
The lowest of all step heights suited to people under the age of 40 who take little to no exercise. This step height is also suitable for those who are again overweight.
Testing over 60's
When testing people over the age of 60, we recommend the lower of the two step heights used:
- 6inch (15cm)
- 8inch (20cm)
There are two reasons for selecting these step heights. For the fitter individual over the age of 60, the lower step height is unlikely to elevate the heart rate to 80%. Even at the stepping rate required of level 5. For unfit individuals or the elderly and overweight, the 12inch step will likely be too high. This will make the heart rate elevate too fast or even pass 80% at level one which is the slowest stepping rate. It may also leave the person a little stiff and achy particularly the following day. This may happen even after 2 to 4 minutes of stepping activity. Here is a working example of correct step height choice.
If using the test with unfit individuals a 6 or 8-inch step would be most suitable. If you are testing those that take regular exercise and are not overweight, then the 10 or 12-inch step is best. An example being workplace fitness assessment used by the Police or Fire Service.
Whichever height you choose to take what we have discussed here and use your judgement too.
For questions about selecting the correct step height. Please call us on 01244 343106 or email any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org