Yo-Yo Tests of Practical Endurance and Recovery for Soccer

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By Jens Bangsbo, August Krogh Institute, Human Physiology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Many reasons exist for testing soccer players, among them:

  • Studying the effect of training program
  • Planning short- and long- term training programs
  • Motivating the players to additional training
  • Giving the players objective feedback
  • Identifying weaknesses and strengths of the players
  • Making the players more aware of the aims of the training
  • Evaluating whether a players is read to compete

To provide useful information, a test must be relevant to and resemble soccer. Cooper’s 12 minute running test is frequently used in soccer. It is easily performed if a track is available. However, the continuous, intensive running in the test is not relevant to soccer.

New tests which evaluate performance in various sports including soccer have recently been developed (Bangsbo, 1994).

They are called the Yo-Yo tests. These tests include movement patterns, such as turning and acceleration, which occur in soccer. By using the Yo-Yo tests, the fitness level of soccer players can be determined quickly and easily.

Two markers are positioned at a distance of 20 meter. A cassette tape in a player controls the speed at which players run back and forth between the markers. The speed is increased until the player can no longer maintain it, at which time the test ends. The test result is determined by the distance covered during the test.

The tests can be used by players of any training status, since each of the tests has two levels. On one side of the tape is a test for less trained players. On the other side is one for well trained players.

There are three Yo-Yo tests: the intermittent endurance test, the intermittent recover test, and the endurance test. Each test focuses on different aspects of physical performance. The first two of these tests are particularly relevant as the players exercise intermittently, as in soccer. The tests are used by non-elite and elite soccer clubs in Europe, such as FC Porto, Portugal and PSV Eindhoven, Holland.

Yo-Yo Intermittent Endurance Test

The Yo-Yo intermittent endurance test consists of intervals lasting 5-20 seconds of running with five seconds of rest between intervals. The test evaluates the player’s ability to repeatedly perform intervals over a prolonged time, thus measuring endurance performance in soccer. The duration of the test is between 10 and 20 minutes.

Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery Test

The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test focuses on the ability to recovery after intense exercise. Between each exercise period of 5-15 seconds is a 10 second rest period. The test is particularly useful in soccer as the ability to repeatedly perform intense exercise is often critical to outcome of a match. The test lasts between 5 and 15 minutes.

Yo-Yo Endurance Test

The Yo-Yo endurance test evaluates the ability to work continuously for a longer period of time. It is possible to convert the test result to maximum oxygen uptake. The duration of the test is between 10 and 20 minutes.

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Performance Conditioning Soccer

Ken Kontor is founder and president of Performance Conditioning Inc. His company is the world’s largest single source of sports-specific conditioning information. Among the educational resources provided are Performance Conditioning Volleyball, Cycling and Soccer newsletters now in their 14th year of publishing and 15 sports-specific conditioning books and training card systems. He is a founding member of the USA Volleyball Sports Medicine and Performance Commission and was instrumental in the establishment of the Volleyball Conditioning Accreditation Program (V.C.A.P.) curriculum offered through the USA Volleyball Coaching Accreditation program. Among his contributions to this program was writing the curriculum. He has established the Off-bike Conditioning curriculum promoted by USA Cycling. In the past he has worked with USA Roller Sports and USA Triathlon producing conditioning specific newsletters. Prior to the establishment of Performance Conditioning Inc., Mr. Kontor was a founding father, executive director and publications editor of the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) for 14 years an organization of over 16,000 sport conditioning professionals. He was an original member of the Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist committee that established the internationally recognized C.S.C.S. credential. He has traveled extensively throughout the world including the former Soviet Union, East Germany and the Leipzig Institute of Sport, Hungary and Bulgaria with the purpose of introducing their strength and conditioning methods to the NSCA membership. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association Inc. and the National Strength and Conditioning Association of Japan. He has lectured extensively on the conditioning of athletes throughout the world.