Yo-Yo intermittent tests are a valid tool for aerobic fitness assessment in recreational football

  • Carlo Castagna
  • Peter Krustrup
  • Susana PóvoasEmail author
Original Article



To examine the suitability of three versions and two levels of the Yo-Yo intermittent tests for assessing and tracking aerobic fitness status development in male recreational football players. Sixty-six untrained participants (age 39 ± 6 years, VO2max 41.2 ± 6.2 ml kg−1 min−1, body mass 81.9 ± 10.8 kg, height 173.2 ± 6.4 cm) partook in a 12-week recreational football training program. They were evaluated during the Yo-Yo intermittent endurance level 1 (YYIE1) and 2 (YYIE2) tests and the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 1 test (YYIR1), and during a treadmill test for VO2max assessment, at baseline. Thirty-two out of these 66 participants replicated all these tests at post-intervention. An additional group of 30 male age-matched recreational football players that afterwards started the 12-week recreational football program (age 39 ± 6 years, VO2max 45.3 ± 5.8 ml kg−1 min−1, body mass 82.5 ± 7.8 kg, height 172.8 ± 5.4 cm) was evaluated at baseline to test cross-validation.


The Yo-Yo tests showed very large associations with VO2max at baseline (r = 0.75–0.77; P < 0.0001) and at post-intervention (r = 0.76–0.82; P < 0.0005). Post-training, very large associations were found between YYIE2 performance and VO2max (r = 0.65, P < 0.0001). Cross-validation revealed small to large differences between the observed and estimated VO2max values (1.5–2.96 ml kg−1 min−1) with moderate typical error of estimation (7.9–8.7%) across the tests. Performance in the YYIE1, YYIE2 and YYIR1 tests of ≥ 1760, 480 and 600 m, respectively, indicated good to excellent VO2max values.


The Yo-Yo tests considered here showed robust and consistent criterion validity. The YYIE2 could be a more accurate option to track aerobic fitness development in recreational football players.


Soccer Team sports Maximal oxygen uptake Field tests Responsiveness Endurance 


Author contributions

Susana Póvoas and Carlo Castagna conceived and designed the research. Testing and data collection was performed by Susana Póvoas. Carlo Castagna and Susana Póvoas analyzed the data and wrote the first draft of the manuscript. Peter Krustrup contributed for the study design, interpreted the results, and edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final version of the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflict of interests and state that the results of the present study do not constitute endorsement by EJAP. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the manuscript.


  1. Bangsbo J, Iaia FM, Krustrup P (2008) The Yo–Yo intermittent recovery test : a useful tool for evaluation of physical performance in intermittent sports. Sports Med 38(1):37–51CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Börg G, Hassmen P, Lagerstrom M (2013) De novo transcript sequence reconstruction from RNA-seq using the Trinity platform for reference generation and analysis. Nature Protocols 56(6):679–685CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bradley PS, Mohr M, Bendiksen M, Randers MB, Flindt M, Barnes C, Hood P, Gomez A, Andersen JL, Di Mascio M, Bangsbo J, Krustrup P (2011) Sub-maximal and maximal Yo–Yo intermittent endurance test level 2: heart rate response, reproducibility and application to elite soccer. Eur J Appl Physiol 111(6):969–978. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Castagna C, Impellizzeri FM, Belardinelli R, Abt G, Coutts A, Chamari K, D'Ottavio S (2006a) Cardiorespiratory responses to Yo–yo intermittent endurance test in nonelite youth soccer players. J Strength Cond Res 20(2):326–330PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Castagna C, Impellizzeri FM, Chamari K, Carlomagno D, Rampinini E (2006b) Aerobic fitness and yo–yo continuous and intermittent tests performances in soccer players: a correlation study. J Strength Cond Res 20(2):320–325PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Castagna C, Francini L, Povoas SC, D'Ottavio S (2017) Long sprint abilities in soccer: ball vs running drills. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 12(9):1256–1263. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cohen J (1988) Statistical power analysis for the behavioral sciences, 2nd edn. Edn, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, HillsdaleGoogle Scholar
  8. Fanchini M, Castagna C, Coutts AJ, Schena F, McCall A, Impellizzeri FM (2014) Are the Yo–Yo intermittent recovery test levels 1 and 2 both useful? Reliability, responsiveness and interchangeability in young soccer players. J Sports Sci 32(20):1950–1957. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Fanchini M, Schena F, Castagna C, Petruolo A, Combi F, McCall A, Impellizzeri M (2015) External responsiveness of the Yo–Yo IR test level 1 in high-level male soccer players. Int J Sports Med 36(9):735–741. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Fleiss J (2011) Reliability of measurements. The design and analysis of clinical experiments. Wiley, New York, pp 1–31Google Scholar
  11. Herdy AH, Caixeta A (2016) Brazilian cardiorespiratory fitness classification based on maximum oxygen consumption. Arq Bras Cardiol 106(5):389–395. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  12. Hopkins WG (2000) Measures of reliability in sports medicine and science. Sports Med 30(1):1–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Hopkins WG, Marshall SW, Batterham AM, Hanin J (2009) Progressive statistics for studies in sports medicine and exercise science. Med Sci Sports Exerc 41(1):3–13. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Impellizzeri FM, Marcora SM (2009) Test validation in sport physiology: lessons learned from clinimetrics. Int J Sports Physiol Perform 4(2):269–277CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Krustrup P, Bangsbo J (2001) Physiological demands of top-class soccer refereeing in relation to physical capacity: effect of intense intermittent exercise training. J Sports Sci 19:881–891CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Krustrup P, Bangsbo J (2015) Recreational football is effective in the treatment of non-communicable diseases. Br J Sports Med 49(22):1426–1427. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  17. Krustrup P, Krustrup BR (2018) Football is medicine: it is time for patients to play! Br J Sports Med 52(22):1412–1414. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  18. Krustrup P, Mohr M, Amstrup T, Rysgaard T, Johansen J, Steensberg A, Pedersen PK, Bangsbo J (2003) The Yo–Yo intermittent recovery test: physiological response, reliability, and validity. Med Sci Sports Exer 35(4):697–705. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Krustrup P, Mohr M, Nybo L, Jensen JM, Nielsen JJ, Bangsbo J (2006) The Yo–Yo IR2 test: physiological response, reliability, and application to elite soccer. Med Sci Sports Exerc 38(9):1666–1673CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Krustrup P, Nielsen JJ, Krustrup BR, Christensen JF, Pedersen H, Randers MB, Aagaard P, Petersen AM, Nybo L, Bangsbo J (2009) Recreational soccer is an effective health-promoting activity for untrained men. Br J Sports Med 43(11):825–831. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Krustrup P, Christensen JF, Randers MB, Pedersen H, Sundstrup E, Jakobsen MD, Krustrup BR, Nielsen JJ, Suetta C, Nybo L, Bangsbo J (2010) Muscle adaptations and performance enhancements of soccer training for untrained men. Eur J Appl Physiol 108(6):1247–1258. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Krustrup P, Bradley PS, Christensen JF, Castagna C, Jackman S, Connolly L, Randers MB, Mohr M, Bangsbo J (2015) The Yo–Yo IE2 test: physiological response for untrained men versus trained soccer players. Med Sci Sports Exerc 47(1):100–108. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Krustrup P, Williams CA, Mohr M, Hansen PR, Helge EW, Elbe AM, de Sousa M, Dvorak J, Junge A, Hammami A, Holtermann A, Larsen MN, Kirkendall D, Schmidt JF, Andersen TR, Buono P, Rorth M, Parnell D, Ottesen L, Bennike S, Nielsen JJ, Mendham AE, Zar A, Uth J, Hornstrup T, Brasso K, Nybo L, Krustrup BR, Meyer T, Aagaard P, Andersen JL, Hubball H, Reddy PA, Ryom K, Lobelo F, Barene S, Helge JW, Fatouros IG, Nassis GP, Xu JC, Pettersen SA, Calbet JA, Seabra A, Rebelo AN, Figueiredo P, Povoas S, Castagna C, Milanovic Z, Bangsbo J, Randers MB, Brito J (2018) The “football is medicine” platform-scientific evidence, large-scale implementation of evidence-based concepts and future perspectives. Scand J Med Sci Sports 28(Suppl 1):3–7. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Messick S (1995) Standards of validity and the validity of standards in performance assessment. Educ Meas 14(4):5–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Midgley AW, Mc Naughton LR, Wilkinson M (2006) Criteria and other methodological considerations in the evaluation of time at VO2max. J Sports Med Phys Fitness 46(2):183–188PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Midgley AW, McNaughton LR, Polman R, Marchant D (2007) Criteria for determination of maximal oxygen uptake: a brief critique and recommendations for future research. Sports Med 37(12):1019–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Milanovic Z, Pantelic S, Covic N, Sporis G, Krustrup P (2015) Is Recreational soccer effective for improving VO2max a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Med 45(9):1339–1353. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  28. Nes BM, Vatten LJ, Nauman J, Janszky I, Wisloff U (2014) A simple nonexercise model of cardiorespiratory fitness predicts long-term mortality. Med Sci Sports Exerc 46(6):1159–1165. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Pate RR, Kriska A (1984) Physiological basis of the sex difference in cardiorespiratory endurance. Sports Med 1(2):87–98CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Póvoas SC, Castagna C, da Costa Soares JM, Silva P, Coelho ESMJ, Matos F, Krustrup P (2016) Reliability and construct validity of Yo–Yo tests in untrained and soccer-trained schoolgirls aged 9–16. Pediatr Exerc Sci 28(2):321–330. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Póvoas SCA, Krustrup P, Castagna C, da Silva PMR, Coelho ESMJ, Pereira RLM, Larsen MN (2018) Reliability of submaximal Yo–Yo tests in 9- to 16-year-old untrained schoolchildren. Pediatr Exerc Sci 30(4):537–545. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Póvoas SCA, Krustrup P, Pereira R, Vieira S, Carneiro I, Magalhaes J, Castagna C (2019) Maximal heart rate assessment in recreational football players a study involving a multiple testing approach. Scand J Med Sci Sports. 10:11. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Rampinini E, Sassi A, Azzalin A, Castagna C, Menaspa P, Carlomagno D, Impellizzeri FM (2010) Physiological determinants of Yo–Yo intermittent recovery tests in male soccer players. Eur J Appl Physiol 108(2):401–409. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Schmitz B, Pfeifer C, Kreitz K, Borowski M, Faldum A, Brand SM (2018) The Yo–Yo Intermittent tests: a systematic review and structured compendium of test results. Front Physiol 9:870. CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  35. Tanaka H, Monahan KD, Seals DR (2001) Age-predicted maximal heart rate revisited. J Am Coll Cardiol 37(1):153–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Thomas A, Dawson B, Goodman C (2006) The Yo–Yo test: reliability and association with a 20-m shuttle run and VO2max. Int J Sports Physiol Perf 1:137–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Weir JP (2005) Quantifying test-retest reliability using the intraclass correlation coefficient and the SEM. J Strength Cond Res 19(1):231–240PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. Weston M, Siegler J, Bahnert A, McBrien J, Lovell R (2015) The application of differential ratings of perceived exertion to Australian football league matches. J Sci Med Sport 18(6):704–708. CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Wong P, Chaouachi A, Castagna C, Lau PWC, Chamari K, Wisløff U (2011) Validity of the Yo–Yo intermittent endurance test in young soccer players. Eur J Sport Sci 11:309–315. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fitness Training and Biomechanics Laboratory, Technical DepartmentItalian Football Federation (FIGC)FlorenceItaly
  2. 2.University of Rome Tor VergataRomeItaly
  3. 3.Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, SDU Sport and Health Sciences Cluster (SHSC)University of Southern DenmarkOdenseDenmark
  4. 4.Research Center in Sports Sciences, Health Sciences and Human Development, CIDESDUniversity Institute of Maia, ISMAIMaiaPortugal

Personalised recommendations