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Fitness Tests, Training and Norms

A number of different fitness measurement instruments have been discussed over the years on the list. These include various types of progressive shuttle runs, in which players are made to run back and forth over a measured distance at ever-increasing speed until they can no longer continue, and the Cooper Test, which is a simple measure of how far a player can run in 12 minutes. Progressive shuttle types include two commercial versions, the Léger Test (developed by Luc Léger of the University of Montreal) and Jens Bangsbo's "yo-yo" test; and a non-commercial test developed by Ian Birtwell for the Canadian national rugby programme which is run over 40m (the Léger test is run over 20m).

We also provide a link to a document, not prepared by a list member but reproduced with permission, on how to set up a rigorous fartlek training programme (the word "fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play" and refers to a programme of mixed exercises conducted in the open air).


Training norms (U15/U17)
Léger test
Jens Bangsbo's "Yo-Yo" test
Birtwell test
Cooper test (tables of results)
More Cooper results (U19 boys)
Fartlek training

Physical performance norms (U15/U17)

Date:         Wed, 2 Oct 1996 12:09:16 +0100
From:         David Graham 

Further to the comments of a few days ago on physical norms, here are some
items culled from an excellent book I bought in France called "Football:
preformation et formation" [Soccer: pre-training and training] by Bernard
Turpin; Paris: Editions Amphora S.A., 1993. The "pre-training" refers to
U15 players and the "training" to U17.

Turpin gives a quite detailed training programme obviously intended for
elite players in these age groups, and in addition to suggestions for
technical and tactical practices provides quite a few norms, of which here
are a few:

Activity                U15              U17
Rope-climbing         5m/10 sec       5m/12 sec
                    (arms & legs)    (arms only)

Skipping             3 x 30 sec       2 x 30 sec
                   (R foot, L foot, (R/L alternate,
                    feet together)   hands crossed)

Sprint              10m / 1.8 sec     20m / 3.1 sec
                    40m / 5.3 sec     40m / 5.1 sec
                    60m / 7.7 sec     60m / 7.4 sec

Shuttle run             9 sec           8.8 sec
(goal line or goal post to 6-yd line and back,
then to 18-yd line and back, i.e. 48 yds w/ 3 turns)

5 strides (2m start)     16m             20m

Cooper run (12 min)     3400m           3600m

Luc Leger test         level 13-14      15-16

Juggling (1 loss of control permitted in the 30m run)
         - R foot         100            100
         - L foot         100            100
         - Alt feet       100            100
         - Head           100            100
         - 30 m run      6 sec          5 sec

Hope these are useful. There are shooting norms too, if anyone's
interested. I presume these were established for male players.

Another very good book, "Programme annuel d'entrainement de football"
("Yearly soccer training/practice programme") by M. Vanierschot (Brakel,
Belgium: Sportboeken - Broodcoorens Michel, n.d.), describes a useful 500m
shuttle run which we have used quite a bit.

A0         A1         A2         A3         A4         A5

Separation is 10m between cones. Players start at A0 and run to A1 and
back, then to A2 and back, and so on until they reach A5, at which point
they run to A4 and back to A5, then to A3 and back to A5 and so on until
they reach A0 again.

We used this last year with U15A as a warmup run, beginning with a time of
about 2'20" and increasing speed to 2'00, having players take their pulse
immediately after the runs to ensure they were in their target zone. By way
of comparison, Vanierschot gives 2'00 as the target time for lower-division
professionals in his Belgian team. He reproduces a table with actual times
throughout the season, which shows an actual low time of 1'48" and a high
time of 2'11" (for different players at different times during the season).
By way of comparison, we had a U17A team run 5 field lengths (about 500m)
last night at the end of practice, stipulating that everyone had to beat
2'00. Times ranged from 1'28" to 1'48" (but this involves far fewer turns
than the shuttle run shown above, of course).

Leger Test details

Date:         Wed, 21 May 1997 17:41:03 -0330
From:         David Graham 

For everyone who was asking about how to get testing materials for the 20m
Leger shuttle run, I have just received the details of the materials making
up the current version of the Leger Test. Here's the scoop on the various

1) The Fitness Appraisal Kit

Includes: 3 audio cassettes, lung volume measurement device (aka plastic
bag? :-), fat caliper, manual, record keeping sheets, questionnaire ($35.00

2) FiTest

- "a condensed version of the Fitness Appraisal Kit" ($25.00 Cdn)

3) FiTest video

- "a learning tool to help you take the Fitness Evaluation" ($15.00 Cdn)

These items can be ordered from:

Fitness Appraisal Certification and Accreditation Program
Universit» de Montr»al
D»partement d'»ducation physique
CP 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville
Montr»al, QC Canada H3C 3J7

Tel. 514-343-2471
Fax 514-343-2181
Email fauchart@ere.umontreal.ca

Hope this is useful! Cheers, DG

Jens Bangsbo's "Yo-Yo" test

Performance Conditioning for Soccer sells this test. Here's an excerpt from their blurb: "Soccer physiologist Jens Bansbo of the August Krough Institute, Copenhagen, has developed three tests that use the movement patterns of soccer to measure fitness levels of players using only field markers, stop watch and cassette player. Audio tapes control the speed at which players run back and forth to fatigue. Each tape has two levels; side one beginning, side two advanced. Tested are: intermittent endurance,-test your stop/start endurance intermittent recovery-test your recovery ability from repeated sprints and endurance-find your VO2 max in as little as 5 minutes. The booklet contains an easy-to-use description of the tests, charts to convert results as well as measure your own progress and test results from elite European soccer players. "

40 m 'Birtwell' fitness test

In response to those who were asking about it, here's how to run a 40m shuttle run fitness test.

   A                                 C
   |                                 |
   |                                 |
   |                                 |
   |<------------ 40 m ------------->|
   |                                 |
   |                                 |
   |                                 |
   |                                 |
   B                                 D

                    X Y

Players line up on line AB. Coaches stand at X and Y: one blows whistle at
times indicated below, the other calls out the level and rep currently
being run (i.e. "Level 1, rep 2". On signal (whistle or beep) players run
to CD, pause and start back on next signal. *NOTE: They must be within 1
stride of the finishing line when the whistle sounds in order to continue
-- otherwise they drop out and record the last level successfully completed
(or the level on which they dropped out: it doesn't matter as long as
you're consistent).* The amount of time given to complete each 40m
repetition (=1 rep) is constant within a given level (levels consist of a
varying number of reps), but decreases as the run progresses, so that it
becomes increasingly difficult to keep up. This test is best used several
times over the course of the season (beginning in pre-season) and you may
want to set targets for your players to achieve. We have found that our
fittest players at U15 tend to get up to about 6.2 or thereabouts (i.e.
Level 6, rep 2). I understand that national U20 rugby players reach the
neighbourhood of 7.4 (depending on body type and position played).

This test is best run at the end of a fairly light practice because it is
exhausting. It does not take long to complete, however (less than 10
minutes from start to finish). This test should not be used with
pre-pubertal athletes, IMO.

Following completion of the test, players are asked to record the level at
which they could no longer complete the run. This information is kept on
file and compared with subsequent runs to produce a cumulative record of

Here are the times at which the whistle is to sound:

Level           Rep            Time
  1  (16"/rep)   0               0     <-- i.e. start
                 1              16"
                 2              32"
                 3              48"     Duration of level 1: 2 min
                 4            1'04"
                 5            1'20"
                 6            1'36"
                 7            1'52"

  2  (14"/rep)   1            2'06"
                 2            2'20"
                 3            2'34"
                 4            2'48"
                 5            3'02"     Duration of level 2: 2 min
                 6            3'16"
                 7            3'30"
                 8            3'44"
                 9            3'58"

  3  (12"/rep)   1            4'10"
                 2            4'22"
                 3            4'34"
                 4            4'46"
                 5            4'58"
                 6            5'10"     Duration of level 3: 2 min
                 7            5'22"
                 8            5'34"
                 9            5'46"
                10            5'58"

  4  (10"/rep)   1            6'08"
                 2            6'18"
                 3            6'28"     Duration of level 4: 1 min
                 4            6'38"
                 5            6'48"
                 6            6'58"

  5  ( 9"/rep)   1            7'07"
                 2            7'16"
                 3            7'25"     Duration of level 5: 1 min
                 4            7'34"
                 5            7'43"
                 6            7'52"

  6  ( 8"/rep)   1            8'01"
                 2            8'09"
                 3            8'17"
                 4            8'25"     Duration of level 6: 1 min
                 5            8'33"
                 6            8'41"
                 7            8'49"
                 8            8'57"

  7  ( 7"/rep)   1            9'04"
                 2            9'11"
                 3            9'18"
                 4            9'25"     Duration of level 7: 1 min
                 5            9'32"
                 6            9'39"
                 7            9'48"
                 8            9'55"

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Cooper test (12-minute run)

Date:         Wed, 19 Feb 1997 10:09:30 +0000
From:         Juan Manuel Arrieta Ugarte 
Subject:      Cooper Test, Tables of Results

        The Cooper test give an idea of the aerobic capacity (maximum
consumption of oxygen, VO2max(ml/kg/minute) of a person by measuring the
distance run in 12 minutes.

        VO2max = 0.17((X/12)-133) + 33
                Where X is the distance in meters.

        The data below (Male data) has been kindly provided by Gonzalo Abando,
Physical Trainer of the Athletic Club of Bilbao, a profesional club
founded in 1898.

        The test is made in a Soccer field  with
soccer shoes and the track is a rectangle of 100x50. So, when the test is
made is regular track (400mts) and with proper equipment, the results
should be increased by a 10% at least.

Juvenil de 3 ano (18 years old, U18?)

        Mtrs.           VO2max          Index

        3300            62.3            10
        3200            60.2             9
        3100            58.              8
        3000            55.5             7
and so on.

        (17 years old)

        3200                            10
        3100                             9
and so on.

        (16 years old)

        3100                            10
        3000                             9
and so on

Cadetes de 2 ano (15 Years old)

        3000                            10
        2900            53.3             9
        2800            51.3             8
        2700            49               7
and so on

                 (14 Years old)

        2900                            10
 and so on.

Infantiles de 2 ano (13 years old)
        2800                            10
 and so on

                 (12 Years old)

        2700                            10
        2600            46.5             9
        2500            44.6             8
and so on.

        Obviously the index is not a closed one, sometimes you can found
a young that can index 12 in his group of age, but anyway you can control
his/her development.
        This index is related with the best players in our region. Any
feedback will be wellcome.

       Juan Manuel Arrieta
       Departamento de Quimica Inorganica
       Facultad de Ciencias
       Universidad del Pais Vasco-E.H.U.
       Apdo 644, 48080 Bilbao

       Voice: 34-4-4647700 Ext. 2981
       Fax  : 34-4-4648500
       E-mail: qiparugj@lg.ehu.es

More Cooper results (U19 boys)

Date:         Tue, 1 Oct 1996 10:45:59 -0300
Sender:       Soccer Coach Mailing List 
From:         Mourad Farid 
Subject:      Re: Player Performance (speed)

On Sept 27th, Perrone Ford Wrote:

>>H.S. Female - Varsity
>>   I was wondering if any of you coaching this age players might indulge
>>me your players' performance numbers in the following areas:
>>40yd dash
>>400 meters

I don't know if what follows will be of any help to you but here are the
figures for two fitness tests taken this summer.

U19 BOYS SELECT - (Cooper Type 12 minute run Test)- Conducted at mid-season.

SETUP: on a 400 meter running track. Cones are place at 100 Meter intervals,
thus 4        cones for the full track. On signal players start their run
attempting to             complete as many laps as possible in the 12 minute
time limit.


a - Midfielder - 8.00 laps (3200 meters)
b - Midfielder - 8.25 laps (3300 meters)
c - Midfielder - 7.00 laps (had been sick)(2800 meters)
d - Defender - 6.75 laps (2700 meters)
e - Striker - 8.00 laps (3200 meters)
f - Striker - did 6 laps then quit with stomach cramps
g - Defender - 7.75 laps (3100 meters)
h - Defender - 8.25 laps (3300 meters)
i - midfielder - 8.50 laps (3400 meters)
j - Striker - 8.25 laps (3300 meters)
k - Stopper - 7.75 laps (3100 meters)
l - Mid/Striker - 8.25 laps (3300 meters)
m - Sweeper - 8.25 laps (3300 meters)
n - Goalkeeper - 8.00 laps (3200 meters)
o - Midfielder - 7.75 laps (3100 meters)
p - Defender - 8.00 laps (3200 meters)

2 players were injured (Hamstring and sprained ankle)
1 player did not attend due to work commitments.

UNDER 19 BOYS SELECT - (200 meter Shuttle runs 2x with 30 seconds rest).

SETUP: On grass,  (5) cones are placed at 10 yard intervals.

       X          X          X          X          X
      (a)        (b)        (c)        (d)        (e)

At the signal, players sprint from a-b and back to a, a-c and back to a, a-d
and back to a, a-e and back to a (1 set).

Although we have varied the number of sets, going as high as (10) sets, the
following figures are for 2 sets with a 30 second rest period between sets:

POSITION              FIRST SET             SECOND SET

a - Defender -           36.3                  38.74
b - Striker -            34.5                  40.43
c - Defender -           35.58                 40.06
d - Midfielder -         35.27                 38.13
e - Goalkeeper -         36.18                 39.44
f - Midfielder -         34.47                 38.5
g - Defender -           35.01                 40.29
h - Midfielder -         35.04                 37.13
i - Sweeper -            34.64                 36.74
j - Stopper -            34.65                 40.05
k - Goalkeeper -         38.18                 40.89
l - Striker -            35.65                 38.07
m - Defender -           35.67                 38.77
n - Midfielder -         34.52                 39.38
0 - Striker -            36.11                 37.86
p - Defender -           35.23                 38.11
q - Defender -           36.41                 39.38

two players absent.

Again, I don't know if this will help at all but you might be able to do
some comparatives.



Fartlek Training

Download the training instructions in RTF format.

"Fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play", and refers to a system of aerobic endurance and power exercising that varies the speed and intensity to produce and "interval training" effect. The document included here is simply one possible implementation of fartlek training; there are as many others as there are trainers interested in the method. This document, in RTF format, can be downloaded and converted by word-processing software to your favour format. It was produced by Christopher Williams, who has given permission for it to be included in the manual:

From: Ciscooh@aol.com
Date: Tue, 1 Dec 1998 20:37:20 EST
To: dgraham@morgan.ucs.mun.ca
Mime-Version: 1.0
Subject: Re: Fartlek training

Thanks for your interest.  Please feel free to use the information in whatever
manner you may find beneficial.  Also this document shall serve as a
disclaimer/grantor that you may use that information in your manual as well.

If you are interested, I have a program outline that you might want to look
through.  Give me a call at 614-478-7888 if you are interested, and I'll see
about getting a copy to you.  It is formatted for coaches of U10 and above,
and may provide some guidance tocoaches that are struggling to find their way.

Let me know if you are interested, and I would also be interested to hear what
your colleagues think of it as well.

Christopher Williams,
Columbus, Ohio
Updated 18 March 1999