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Yoyo test: All You Need to Know

What is the Yoyo test in cricket?

The YoYo test was primarily developed for football (soccer players) players but it has now become a standard test for many team sports. The Indian cricket team went one step further and started using it as a selection criterion. Australian football has replaced the beep test with the yo-yo test as well. More sports are likely to follow suit as the yo-yo test is more specific for the yo-yo intermittent test type field running sports.

The yo yo test is an advanced variation of the Beep test, a maximal aerobic fitness test that involves running between two markers that are 20 metres apart (incidentally the length of a cricket pitch).

The most commonly used version is Yo yo Intermittent Recovery Test level 1. Once the beep is sounded, the athlete has to reach the marker on the other side at the next beep. The athlete then needs to return to the initial marker before the third beep sounds. Once the athlete covers 40m and returns to the initial marker, it marks the completion of a shuttle.

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There are several variations of the test, with the recovery time also varying. In the most popular variation, there’s a 10-second recovery period between each shuttle. As the level goes up, the duration benchmark for the completion of the shuttle decreases, that is, the athletes are required to run at increasing speeds.

The test begins with level 5 and keeps getting more intense and grueling, with level 23 being the highest.

Once the athlete misses two beeps or fails to run at the required speeds, their test ends. The process is software-based, with the athletes receiving cues from audio.

The Indian cricket team had huge success, especially in Test cricket after increased fitness standards under Virat Kohli’s leadership. Along with them, England and New Zealand have also adopted the yo yo as the fitness standard. For India, the benchmark score is set at 16.1 (likely to be increased) while for New Zealand and England, the benchmark is 19. Sri Lanka, Pakistan and West Indies have a benchmark of 17.4.

Who invented the yo-yo test?

The test was established by the Danish soccer physiologist Jens Bangsbo and his colleagues in the 1990s. Bangsbo first presented the yoyo tests in 1994. Bangsbo then investigated the validity and reliability of the tests along with his colleagues, publishing the results in 2003.

It is now one of the most commonly used fitness tests in the sporting world. Earlier, it was primarily used by footballers to improve their overall fitness but other sports including cricket have caught up and have started using as the standard fitness test.

What are the types of the yo-yo tests?

There are six different variations of the yo-yo test – three versions, having two different levels each. The different types of test focus on specific aspects of physical performance and target different fitness levels.

As mentioned earlier, the most commonly practised test out of these six is the Yo yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1, also called YYIRT1 or IR1. This is the intermittent recovery test that most sports teams use to test the fitness of their athletes.

All the six tests were developed by Jens Bangsbo but there are many modifications and alternatives to the yo yo test that measure similar aspects of fitness.

The Yoyo Endurance Level Tests are pretty similar to the beep test, where athletes run continuously between markers 20 meters apart. The Level 1 of this test is essentially the same as the beep test. The Level 2 is for fitter athletes, starting at a faster speeds.

Then there is the Yo yo Intermittent recovery Test, which has two versions – endurance and recovery. In both these versions the athletes have a short active recovery break after each 40m shuttle, either a 5-second or 10-second break.

For each of these types, there is a beginner Level 1 and more advanced Level 2 version, with different starting speeds.

  • Yoyo Endurance Test Level 1 – the athlete has to continuously run between markers 20 meters apart, starting at 8 km/hr.
  • Yoyo Endurance Test Level 2 – the athlete has to continuously run between markers 20 meters apart, starting at 11.5 km/hr.
  • Yoyo Intermittent Endurance Test, Level 1 – the athlete gets a 5-second active break between each 40m shuttle, starting at 8 km/hr.
  • Yoyo Intermittent Endurance Test, Level 2 – the athlete gets a 5-second active break between each 40m shuttle, starting at 11.5 km/hr.
  • Yoyo Intermittent Recovery Test, Level 1 – the athlete gets a 10-second active break between each 40m shuttle, starting at 10 km/hr.
  • Yoyo Intermittent Recovery Test, Level 2 – the athlete gets a 10 second active break between each 40m shuttle, starting at 13 km/hr.

When did the Indian team start using the yoyo test?

The credit for introducing yoyo test to Indian cricket goes to Shankar Basu, the former strength and conditioning coach of the Indian cricket team. Basu first used the test in the national side ahead of India’s tour of Sri Lanka in 2017.

Who are the players who have failed the yoyo test results from India?

Over the years there have been several Indian cricketers who have failed to achieve the required score in yoyo test. The list has some popular names such as Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Shami, Ambati Rayudu, Sanju Samson and recently Varun Chakravarthy.

Controversies surrounding the yo yo test

The players who failed the test was dropped from the Indian squad. While the reactions over the years have softened, the management received heavy criticism in earlier period, when the dropped the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Mohammed Shami and Ambati Rayudu. Several ex Indian cricketers criticised the exclusion of players on the basis of yo yo results.

The thing about cricket is, it is a sport that is as much relied on the actual skill of the player as it is on the overall fitness. Failing a yoyo test does not necessarily mean the player isn’t capable of doing well at the highest level of the sport.

Rishi Manuja, sports and exercise nutrition specialist told Hindustan Times, “It doesn’t take into account the cricketing ability. Also, one needs to be at a certain level of fitness to take part in the test. It can’t be the ultimate test of one’s sports ability.”

Former India cricketer Mohammad Kaif said in 2018, “It’s not fair to drop people on the basis of yo-yo test. Cricket is a skill-based game. Fitness is important but it is being over-hyped. You need to find a balance.”

“In our times, we used to take the Beep Test, but nobody was dropped for not passing it. We were given 2-3 months to improve our fitness and meet the desired level of the test without being dropped,” he said.


What is the difference between the yoyo test and beep test?

Both yoyo and the beep tests require the athlete to run back and forth over a 20m distance in time to audio signal. However, while most yoyo tests have a rest period after every 40m covered, the beep test requires athletes to run continuously until exhaustion.

What are the different test levels in the yoyo test?

There are six different types of yoyo tests – Yoyo Endurance Test Level 1 and 2, Yoyo Intermittent Endurance test level 1 and 2, and Yoyo Intermittent Recovery test level 1 and 2.

What is the best yoyo test record?

The highest score in yoyo test is 22.8, recorded by Harry Grant, an Australian Football player. In Indian cricket, Virat Kohli considered one of the fittest players, has a top score of 19. Manish Pandey had clocked 19.2 in 2017 before uncapped player Mayank Dagar broke the record with 19.3 yoyo score in 2018.

What is the average score in the yoyo test?

The average yoyo score for males with the Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1 is 16 while for females, it is 12.


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