Here’s everything you need to know about the Yo-Yo fitness test

Cricketer Ambati Rayudu was recently in news for failing to clear the Yo-Yo fitness test. Earlier, ace hockey player Sardar Singh made the test a talking point when he beat Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli’s test score. The Yo-Yo test has become quite a buzz word in the fitness enthusiasts’ universe. The test is compulsory for cricketers to clear, but Yuvraj Singh, Suresh Raina, Washington Sundar, and Mohammad Shami have all, at some point, failed to clear it.

To help you understand what the test is all about, we got talking to sports and exercise nutrition specialist Rishi Manuja, and fitness expert Akshay Alawani.

How it came to be

Danish scientist Dr. Jens Bangsbo framed this test in the 90s to evaluate an athlete’s aerobic endurance. It was used to test the fitness level of footballers, and was later adopted by other sports. In 2017, it was introduced as a fitness parameter for Indian cricketers, and was made compulsory in October, later that year.

What does it constitute?

Three cones are placed on a flat surface in a straight line. You can label them cone A, B and C. The distance between cone B and C is 20km and distance between cone A and B is 5 km. Once the beep goes off, the player runs from cone B to C and then back from C to B. Once the player reaches B, they get a 10 second rest period where they run from cone B to A and back to B.

As the level goes up, the time for completing the shuttle decreases. The total distance covered is their official score. The process is software based and the results are recorded.

How it helps

It’s a test of an athlete’s stamina and endurance. As for cricket, it is a start-stop sport and not continuous like football or tennis. A player is physically active in periods (running between the wickets or bowling) and gets time to recover in the middle as well (fielding or when waiting for their turn to bat). “The Yo-Yo test helps the player recover faster and better during the matches by strengthening their aerobic ability. For example, looking at Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni’s running between the wickets, they are considered as one of the fastest runners in the game,” says Alawani.

Since our aerobic capacity increases, experts say that one doesn’t get tired of running between the wickets or bowling. That tremendously helps a cricketer focus on batting or bowling, and improves the ability to recover from injuries.

Should the test be compulsory?

Fitness is paramount. However, this is not a case of one-size-fits-all, according to those who are not in favour of making this test compulsory. “It doesn’t take in account the cricketing ability. Also, one needs to be at a certain level of fitness to take part in the test. For instance, cricketer Yuvraj Singh, is a cancer survivor. The test doesn’t make sense for him as his lung capacity has reduced. However, his physical condition has no effect on his cricketing ability. Therefore, it can’t be the ultimate test of one’s sports ability,” says Manuja.

First Published: Aug 30, 2018 11:16 IST

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