Assessing Your Cardiovascular Fitness: The Three-Minute
What is the three-minute step test?
This test consists of stepping up and down on a 12-inch high step
for three minutes. You will be asked to step at a rate of 24 steps
per minute. You will step to the rhythm of a metronome that will
produce an audible "click" at 96 beats per minute. With each click,
you will make a movement and follow this sequence: up (right foot),
up (left foot), down (right foot), down (left foot). After three
minutes of stepping, you will sit down and an exercise physiologist
will measure your heart rate (e.g. count your heartbeats) for one
What does the three-minute step test measure?
By measuring your heart rate, a qualitative rating of your fitness
level can be determined.
What if I can't finish the three-minute step test?
Ideally, we would like to see all participants complete the test
for research purposes; however, it is okay if you do not finish
the test. As with all other assessments we do, you are always in
control and may stop the test at any time. If at any point during
the test you feel dizzy, nauseous, light-headed, experience chest
pain, or simply feel you can't go any further, the test will stop
How should I prepare for the test?
Wear clothes that you feel comfortable exercising in and comfortable
walking shoes appropriate for exercise.