Yo-Yo tests

Generally, there are two different versions of the Yo-Yo tests (the intermittent endurance (YYIET) and the intermittent recovery test (YYIRT)), each having two different levels (level 1 and 2). As a result there are a total of four different tests.


Differences between the two Yo-Yo versions are:

  • Duration of the recovery break (5 seconds for the intermittent endurance and 10 seconds for the intermittent recovery test)
  • Running speed in each stage

Set-up, equipment, organisation and data collection

Both versions require setup a 20-meter distance. The players will line-up next to each other with possibly 1-1.5 meter space in between. Depending on the space available the entire team can perform the test at the same time.


A measurement tape is needed to setup the distances.


Setup of all Yo-Yo tests
Setup of all Yo-Yo tests


An acoustic signal (“beep”) will indicate the speed of running. With the first “beep” the players will start running towards the 20-meter marker and should reach it by the second “beep”, which also indicate the players to turn around and run back to the original start. A third “beep” will indicate the finish of one shuttle and all players need to reach the start line by this “beep”. Depending on the test (YYIET vs. YYIRT) players will receive a 5 or 10 second recovery break then. The next “beep” will signal the start of the next shuttle and procedures proceed as described. If a player fail to complete a shuttle within the given third “beep” twice, he will stop the test and the final score is the last shuttle the player has completed.


As the speed of running is fast at later stages of the test, we believe that one coach can observe up to 7 players at the same time if he/she stands on the side of the start/finish line. In order to test a team of 21 players, three testers should be present.


In order to perform the test, obviously the audio tape and an audio players is needed. It is possible that a power outlet and an exension cord is also needed to ensure power for the audio player.


Yo-Yo intermittent endurance test (YYIET)

Validity of level 1 was examined in elite football players (20). It was shown that the level one showed weak indicator of aerobic endurance in youth (20). However, the YYIET level 1 elicited a maximal response of the players (6) and the maximum heart rate can be measured with this test (33). As a result the test can be used in developing as well as amateur players. In addition, the YYIET level 1 was correlated with the 20m multistage shuttle run/beep test in youth football players (11).


Generally, similar findings were presented for level 2 (2, 23).


The YYIET level 2 seems to a reliable (measured in youth and senior football players) and sensible assessment tool (4, 6). The test was correlated with high-intensity running and the total distance covered during a football match in professional football players.

However, both levels (1 and 2) were reported to underestimate the VO2max, compared to a continuous and an intermittent treadmill test (20).  The measured VO2max measured in the YYIET level 2 was highly correlated with the 20m multistage shuttle run/beep test (2).

From the testing protocol it was concluded that the YYIE tests are more aerobic related, whereas the YYIR tests are aerobic-anaerobic related (32)

Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test (YYIRT)

Bangsbo et al. (3) distinguished between the YYIRT level 1 and level 2. The authors stated that level 1 focus “on the capacity to carry out intermittent exercise leading to a maximal activation of the aerobic system, whereas level 2 determines an individual’s ability to recover from repeated exercise with a high contribution from the anaerobic system”.


The physiological responses whilst performing the YYIRT level 1 was examined in a few investigations (15, 17, 31) and the test showed a high reliability and validity throughout a variety of level of play.


Furthermore, there seems to be a correlation between the YYIRT level 1 and:

  • the high-intensity running, sum of high-speed running and sprinting, and the total distance covered  during match play in male  professional football players (15)
  • the total high-intensity running distance, high-intensity running distance during the final 15 minutes of each half, and moderately correlated with total distance covered during match-play in female (16) professional football players
  • the high-intensity running, sprintingand total distance covered in youth football players (5, 7)
  • the 20m multistage shuttle run/beep test in youth football players (1)
  • the an incremental treadmill test (Bruce protocol) in youth football players (1)
  • the repeated sprint ability in youth football players (30)
  • the University de Montreal Track Test (10).


Level 2 also seemed to be reliable and valid (17). Although displaying a relative high CV of 9.6%, Krustrup et al. (17) found no statistical differences between two YYIRTs level 2 performed within one week.


Due to the nature of the tests and despite their significant correlation with VO2max (3, 25), it seems that the level 1 was correlated to a greater extent with VO2max compared to level 2. Furthermore, the YYIRT level 2 score was not correlated with VO2max in youth (pre-pubescent) football players (8).

VO2max calculation

The following will display the equations to estimate the VO2max from players’ YYIRT performances (3).


YYIRT level 1:
VO2max (mL/min/kg) = YYIRT level 1 final distance (in meters) × 0.0084 + 36.4


YYIRT level 2:
VO2max (mL/min/kg) = YYIRT level 2 final distance (in meters) × 0.0136 + 45.3


However, it was also reported that the test (especially the level 2) reflect the ability to perform repeated intense exercises (including recovery and response of the anaerobic system - and therefore not necessarily the aerobic endurance) (5).


The YoYo tests in football

The YoYo tests were used for following purposes:

  • Normative data from professional and amateur football players for level 2 (34)
  • Investigate diurnal variation (12) and maximum heart rate in youth football players (14)
  • Evaluate the effect of training (35), age (9, 19, 30) and playing position (19) in youth football players
  • Evaluate the effect of training (13, 18, 21, 22, 26, 36) supplementation (27) and hydration (24) in adult male (13, 18, 21, 24, 26, 27, 36) and female (22) football players
  • Seasonal monitoring in adults football players (28, 29)



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Comparison of field and laboratory tests. Biol. Sport. 29: 157-161, 2012.


2. Aziz, A.R., Frankie, H.Y., and Kong, C.T. A pilot study comparing two field tests with the treadmill run test

in soccer players. J. Sci. Med. Sport. 4: 105-112, 2005.


3. Bangsbo, J., Iaia, F.M., and Krustrup, P. The Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test : a useful tool for evaluation

of physical performance in intermittent sports. Sports. Med. 38: 37-51, 2008.


4. Bradley, P.S., Mohr, M., Bendiksen, M., Randers, M.B., Flindt, M., Barnes, C., Hood, P., Gomez, A.,

Andersen, J.L., Di Mascio, M., Bangsbo, J., and Krustrup, P. Sub-maximal and maximal Yo-Yo intermittent endurance test level 2: heart rate response, reproducibility and application to elite soccer. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 111: 969-978, 2011.


5. Castagna, C., Impellizzeri, F., Cecchini, E., Rampinini, E., and Alvarez, J.C. Effects of intermittent

endurance fitness on match performance in young male soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 23: 1954-1959, 2009.


6. Castagna, C., Impellizzeri, F.M., Belardinelli, R., Abt, G., Coutts, A., Chamari, K., and D'Ottavio, S.

Cardiorespiratory responses to Yo-yo Intermittent Endurance Test in nonelite youth soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 20: 326-330, 2006.


7. Castagna, C., Manzi, V., Impellizzeri, F., Weston, M., and Barbero Alvarez, J.C. Relationship between

endurance field tests and match performance in young soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 24: 3227-3333, 2010.


8. Chuman, K., Hoshikawa, T., and Iida, T. Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 2 test in pubescent soccer

players with relation to maturity category. Football Science 6: 1-6, 2009.


9. Deprez, D., Vaeyens, R., Coutts, A.J., Lenoir, M., and Philippaerts, R. Relative Age Effect and Yo-Yo IR1

in Youth Soccer. Int. J. Sports. Med. 33: 987-993, 2012.


10. Dupont, G., Defontaine, M., Bosquet, L., Blondel, N., Moalla, W., and Berthoin, S. Yo-Yo intermittent

recovery test versus the Universite de Montreal Track Test: relation with a high-intensity intermittent exercise. J Sci Med Sport 13: 146-150, 2010.


11. Figueiredo, A., Coelho e Silva, M., and Malina, R.M. Aerobic assessment of youth soccer players:

Correlation between continiuous and intermittent progressive maximal field tests, in: Book of Abstracts, 9th Annual Congress of the European College of Sport Science. van Praagh, E., Coudert, J., eds.: Clermond-Ferrand: Universite´ Blaise Bascal, Universite´ D’Auvergne., 2004, p 294.


12. Hammouda, O., Chtourou, H., Chaouachi, A., Chahed, H., Bellimem, H., Chamari, K., and Souissi, N.

Time-of-day effects on biochemical responses to soccer-specific endurance in elite Tunisian football players. J. Sports. Sci. 31: 963-971, 2013.


13. Ingebrigtsen, J., Shalfawi, S.A., Tonnessen, E., Krustrup, P., and Holtermann, A. Performance effects of

6 weeks of aerobic production training in junior elite soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 27: 1861-1867, 2013.


14. Köklü, Y., Asci, A., Kocak, F.U., Alemdaroglu, U., and Dundar, U. Comparison of the physiological

responses to different small-sided games in elite young soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 25: 1522-1528, 2011.


15. Krustrup, P., Mohr, M., Amstrup, T., Rysgaard, T., Johansen, J., Steensberg, A., Pedersen, P.K., and

Bangsbo, J. The yo-yo intermittent recovery test: physiological response, reliability, and validity. Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 35: 697-705, 2003.


16. Krustrup, P., Mohr, M., Ellingsgaard, H., and Bangsbo, J. Physical demands during an elite female

soccer game: importance of training status. Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 37: 1242-1248, 2005.


17. Krustrup, P., Mohr, M., Nybo, L., Jensen, J.M., Nielsen, J.J., and Bangsbo, J. The Yo-Yo IR2 test:

physiological response, reliability, and application to elite soccer. Med. Sci. Sports. Exerc. 38: 1666-1673, 2006.


18. Manzi, V., Bovenzi, A., Franco Impellizzeri, M., Carminati, I., and Castagna, C. Individual training-load

and aerobic-fitness variables in premiership soccer players during the precompetitive season. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 27: 631-636, 2013.


19. Markovic, G. and Mikulic, P. Discriminative ability of the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test (Level 1) in

prospective young soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 25: 2931-2934, 2011.


20. Metaxas, T.I., Koutlianos, N.A., Kouidi, E.J., and Deligiannis, A.P. Comparative study of field and

laboratory tests for the evaluation of aerobic capacity in soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 19: 79-84, 2005.


21. Nakamura, D., Suzuki, T., Yasumatsu, M., and Akimoto, T. Moderate running and plyometric training

during off-season did not show a significant difference on soccer-related high-intensity performances compared with no-training controls. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 26: 3392-3397, 2012.


22. Oberacker, L.M., Davis, S.E., Haff, G.G., Witmer, C.A., and Moir, G.L. The Yo-Yo IR2 test: physiological

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24. Owen, J.A., Kehoe, S.J., and Oliver, S.J. Influence of fluid intake on soccer performance in a temperate

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25. Rampinini, E., Sassi, A., Azzalin, A., Castagna, C., Menaspa, P., Carlomagno, D., and Impellizzeri, F.M.

Physiological determinants of Yo-Yo intermittent recovery tests in male soccer players. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 108: 401-409, 2010.


26. Rebelo, A., Brito, J., Seabra, A., Oliveira, J., Drust, B., and Krustrup, P. A new tool to measure training

load in soccer training and match play. Int. J. Sports. Med. 33: 297-304, 2012.


27. Saunders, B., Sunderland, C., Harris, R.C., and Sale, C. Beta-alanine supplementation improves YoYo

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30. Spencer, M., Pyne, D., Santisteban, J., and Mujika, I. Fitness determinants of repeated-sprint ability in

highly trained youth football players. Int. J. Sports. Physiol. Perform. 6: 497-508, 2011.


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shuttle run and VO(2max). Int. J. Sports. Physiol. Perform. 1: 137-149, 2006.


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players in the YoYo Recovery test level 2. J. Sports. Sci. 23: 132-133., 2005.


35. Wong, P.L., Chamari, K., and Wisloff, U. Effects of 12-week on-field combined strength and power

training on physical performance among U-14 young soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 24: 644-652, 2010.


36. Wong, P.L., Chaouachi, A., Chamari, K., Dellal, A., and Wisloff, U. Effect of preseason concurrent

muscular strength and high-intensity interval training in professional soccer players. J. Strength. Cond. Res. 24: 653-660, 2010.


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