MAS Test in Football Pre-Season: Assessing fitness levels

After a short summer break, most teams are starting their pre-season again. Most likely, this will start with doing several tests to establish a benchmark to determine the fitness and agility levels of the players after the, well deserved, holidays. This could be the Interval Shuttle Run Test (ISRT), Yo-Yo test, T-test or 5-10-5 shuttles. Another test that is commonly used is the MAS Test. How does the MAS Test work and what do you measure from your players?

What is the MAS Test?

The Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS) test is a measure of an athlete’s maximum aerobic capacity, often referred to as their “speed at VO2max.”. It is conducted by determining the maximum running speed that can be sustained aerobically without the reliance on anaerobic energy systems. The MAS test provides an accurate representation of a player’s cardiovascular fitness, indicating their ability to maintain a high-intensity effort over an extended duration.

Testing Procedure of the MAS Test:

The MAS test typically involves players running progressively faster over a predetermined distance or time. The speed is gradually increased until the player reaches their maximal sustainable effort. This could be done on a track, a treadmill, or on the field itself. Throughout the test, heart rate, oxygen consumption, and other physiological parameters may be monitored to assess the player’s aerobic capacity accurately.


How to calculate the MAS of players?

The Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS) during the MAS test is calculated based on the distance covered and the time taken to complete the test. The MAS represents the maximum running speed that can be sustained aerobically without relying on anaerobic energy systems.

MAS = Distance covered (in meters) / Time (in seconds)

Example: a player covered a distance of 1280 meters in 5 minutes.

This means his MAS = 1280/300 = 4,3 m/s


Measuring the MAS Test with GPS & Heart Rate (PACER)

To conduct the MAS test, athletes wear GPS trackers that provide real-time data on their running speed and distance covered. This allows coaches and trainers to monitor and analyze the athlete’s performance throughout the test. The GPS data provides valuable insights into the athlete’s ability to sustain high-intensity efforts and maintain a consistent pace.

In addition to GPS trackers, heart rate sensors are utilized during the MAS test to monitor the athlete’s cardiovascular response. These sensors measure the athlete’s heart rate, allowing for the assessment of their aerobic fitness level. Heart rate data provides valuable information on the athlete’s effort level, recovery capacity, and overall cardiovascular health.

To combine is to understand

By combining the data from GPS trackers and heart rate sensors, coaches and trainers can gain a comprehensive understanding of the athlete’s maximum aerobic speed and capacity. They can identify the point at which the athlete reaches their maximum sustainable running speed while still relying on the aerobic energy system rather than anaerobic systems. This information is crucial in assessing the athlete’s cardiovascular fitness and determining their ability to maintain high-intensity efforts over prolonged periods.

MAS Test measured with the JOHAN PACER system: a combination of GPS and heart rate data

The use of GPS trackers and heart rate sensors in the MAS test provides coaches and trainers with objective and quantifiable data. It enables them to track the athlete’s progress over time, set individualized training targets, and design targeted training programs to improve the athlete’s aerobic capacity. Additionally, this data can help identify any areas of weakness or potential injury risks, allowing for proactive interventions and injury prevention strategies.


The Maximum Aerobic Speed (MAS) test has become an essential tool in the arsenal of football teams seeking to optimize player performance. By assessing the aerobic capacity of players, coaches and trainers can design tailored training programs, monitor progress, and make informed decisions about player selection and tactical considerations. With the MAS test’s help, football teams can unlock their players’ potential, ensuring they are equipped with the physical fitness required to excel on the field.