Shuttle run

Preparing for the shuttle run

In this section you will find information to help you prepare for the shuttle run as well as running programs. When researching for this test you may also find it is called a beep test. Please note that there are 15m and 20m versions of the test available. You will be tested on the 20m version.

Cardiovascular fitness

Cardiovascular fitness is extremely important to a firefighter. Cardiovascular fitness allows you to:

  • Perform repeat efforts
  • Perform at a higher level for a long period of time
  • Delay the onset of fatigue during activity
  • Improve recovery post-activity

The above points are all key physical requirements in the role of a firefighter. In addition to the above, a higher level of cardiovascular fitness helps your body cope with performing tasks in extreme conditions and the accompanied stress on the body which is common during a career as a firefighter.

Including running in your training program is essential, however there are other forms of cardiovascular fitness that can be beneficial to add to your training. These include:

  • Bike Riding
  • Rowing
  • Swimming
  • Skipping
  • Boxing
  • Circuit Training

Shuttle run training tips

Be Fit

The only sure way to make significant improvements in the shuttle run is to train well to improve your fitness. Level 9.6 is the pass mark, it is a good idea to try and achieve higher than this in training. Too often we see people fail the test who thought they would just get it on the day without putting the necessary effort into training. 

Being Prepared

There are plenty of Shuttle Run/Beep Test apps that you can download to prepare for the test. You should also make sure you practice on a 20m flat section. This can easily be measured on a netball or basketball court. Please be aware that versions of the Shuttle Run may vary and self-administered tests should be used as a guide only.

Be Efficient

Use an efficient running and turning technique. This can help conserve energy for the later stages of the test. Don't run further than you need to, as you come to the turn, time it so that one foot just touches the line, turn sharply and not in a wide arc.

Nerves on The Day

You may find that you experience a level of nerves on the day of testing which is a very common response. If you think you may be nervous on the day you might like to research coping techniques such as visualization or tactical breathing. Hopefully you have been training for the test and have reached 9.6 prior to the testing day. This should give you the confidence that you can achieve a positive result.

Know What to Expect

It is important to understand the process of the test. Be familiar with the test procedure and understand the rules for elimination. The rules will be made clear to you prior to taking the test on the day. Pay attention to these instructions as you do not want to be knocked out of the test early due to a mistake. You will be running the test indoor, most likely on a basketball court. While you may choose to practice on a different surface, please note that this may be more difficult or easier than the basketball court.

Dress Accordingly

Wear appropriate clothing for the conditions, such as active wear, and non-slip athletic footwear with laces securely fastened. Remove any restrictive jewellery, watches, bracelets or hanging earrings that may get caught in your clothes or be a distraction. If you have long hair ensure it is securely tied up. 

Running In a Group

We ensure there is ample room for each participant to run the test and participants are not permitted to bump into other participants. You are not in a competition with the other participants on the day. Everybody is only required to reach 9.6 and then the test is stopped. Try to stick to the method that has worked best for you in your training. From experience we have found the majority of people are very supportive of their fellow participants during the run.

Be Well Rested

Avoid heavy strenuous exercise 24 hours prior to testing. Consider avoiding exercise on the day leading up to the test to ensure your body is well rested.

Nutritional Preparation

In the two hours before completing the test do not consume a heavy meal; however, you should eat something in the four hours prior to testing. Ensure you are well hydrated prior to the test.


Over the years we have received feedback from some candidates that felt menstruation had affected their performance output. If you menstruate we encourage you to be familiar with your cycle & how it affects your physical performance. If you feel like your menstrual cycle might negatively affect your performance, we encourage you to discuss your options with your health care practitioner.


Be sure to perform an adequate warm-up. We suggest you start with 5-10 minutes of light aerobic activity, such as jogging, followed by active stretches and lastly, perform a few practice runs over 20m (include turning), gradually increasing your running speed. You will be taken through a warm up prior to your test on the day.