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Application of the 30-15 interval test

The 30-15 interval test was created by Martin Buchheit, head of performance for Paris St-Germain. There is a significant body of research that indicates that 30-15 is a reliable indicator of VO2max – a measure of relative sport-specific fitness. The 30-15 test is easy to administer. A simple diagram of the layout is shown above.

The test is a variant of a “beep test” – athletes are performing 30 seconds of work and 15 seconds of active rest per interval. Each interval is paced at a specific velocity (starting at 8.0 km/h, increasing 0.5 km/h per interval). Intermediate tones indicate the pace for the interval (athletes are expected to be crossing a line at each tone) with a final tone indicating the end of work interval. At the end of the work interval, athletes walk to the next start line.

In administering the test, a couple of things became apparent:

  • The athletes start off “too fast” – exceeding the pace dictated by the tones.
  • Knowing where each interval finishes is important to know prior to the start of the interval. This helps in coaching the athletes – especially in early pacing.

I put together a cheat sheet to help understand the number of lines for each interval and the next starting point and direction. Unfortunately, in my first time administering 30-15, I had the cheat sheet on my mobile device rather than as hardcopy. This became a problem as I used the same mobile device to project the audio for the test – and the device was unable to multitask.

The feedback from the athletes was that 30-15 was superior to other fitness tests we have used in the past. It’s likely that we will use 30-15 in our fall tryouts.