Yo-Yo Intermittent Test: most used test in the world

The Yo-Yo test is one of the most used tests in contemporary football worldwide. However, in the Netherlands the Interval Shuttle Run Test is mainly used. In essence, the Yo-Yo Test is very similar to the beep test. The Interval Shuttle Run Test was developed in Groningen by Koen Lemmink, so this is probably why it is a widely used test in the Netherlands. It is interesting to see that many foreign clubs use the Yo-Yo test to measure recovery capacity. What do we know about the Yo-Yo test, what are the differences with the Interval Shuttle Run Test and which of the two should you use?

Jens Bangsbo: inventor of the Yo-Yo test

The inventor of this test is former Danish professional football player Jens Bangsbo and has its origins in the 1990s. During his current football career, Jens studied applied mathematics and physiology at the University of Copenhagen, where he graduated in 1984 and even received the honorary degree “Doctor of Science” in 1994. He wrote more than 25 books about football and physiology and is therefore a household name in the football world. He currently offers consultancy training through his Soccerfitness platform for trainers all over the world.

How does the Yo-Yo test work?

The Yo-Yo test is a maximum aerobic test and actually a variant of another well-known test: the Shuttle Run Test. Players run a distance of 20 meters between two cones (+5 run/rest meters), increasing their speed over time until fatigue sets in. During this test, the heart rate is monitored and the recovery between the shuttles is examined.

Yo-Yo-Intermittent-Test-setup-JOHAN-Sports

It is interesting to see that the Yo-Yo test has become such a widely used test worldwide and what exactly the difference is with the Interval Shuttle Run Test. The Yo-Yo test has 2 versions: The Yo-Yo Interval Recovery (YYIR) and the Yo-Yo Interval Endurance (YYIE). Each version has 2 levels. The procedure is the same for every test, but there are different rest periods between shuttles and the speed zones are different.

Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery (YYIR)

The Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery (YYIR) is more aerobic-anaerobic related. Jens Bangsbo has distinguished between the YYIRT level 1 and level 2. Level 1 is more focused on the ability to perform intermittent exercises that lead to maximum activation of the aerobic system, while level 2 determines an individual’s ability to recover from repetitive exercise with a high contribution from the anaerobic system. Level 1 speed starts at 10 km/h and ends at 13.25 km/h. Level 2 starts at 10 km/h and ends at 19 km/h. There is always a rest period of 10 seconds between 2 shuttles (2x20m=40).

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Yo-Yo Intermittent Endurance (YYIE) Yo-Yo Intermittent Recovery (YYIR)

The Yo-Yo Intermittent Endurance (YYIE) test focuses mainly on the aerobic system and therefore more on a player’s endurance/duration. There are also 2 levels for the Yo-Yo Intermittent Endurance. Level 1 starts at 8 km/h and ends at 13.25 km/h. Level 2 starts at 11.5 km/h and ends at 16.75 km/h. There is always a rest period of 5 seconds between 2 shuttles (2x20m=40).

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Difference between Yo-Yo Test and Interval Shuttle Run Test (ISRT)

In general, the Yo-Yo test and the Interval Shuttle Run Test are very similar. In both tests, shuttles are run until fatigue occurs, but in the Yo-Yo Test a rest period of 5 seconds is scheduled after every 40 meters (2×20). In the Interval Shuttle Run Test there is a resting period of 15 seconds after every 30 seconds of running.

Yo-Yo Test and the VO2Max

To calculate the VO2Max based on the Yo-Yo Test results, the following formula can be used (1):

  • Yo-Yo IR1: VO2max = (Final distance (in meters) × 0.0084) + 36.4
  • Yo-Yo IR2: VO2max = (Final distance (in meters) × 0.0136) + 45.3

Yo-Yo-Intermittent-Test-Comparison-JOHAN-Sports

Conclusion

The Yo-Yo test is an invention of former Danish professional football player and Dr Jens Bangsbo. This test has two variants, each with two levels. It is used to test players’ ability to repeatedly perform sprint intervals over an extended period of time. The difference with the Interval Shuttle Run Test (ISRT) is that the Yo-Yo Test has a rest period after 40m (2×20 shuttles). The Interval Shuttle Run Test has a resting period of 15 seconds after each 30 seconds of running.

References

1. 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.