EXPERT SESSIONS AND ADVICE FROM QUALIFIED AND EXPERIENCED GRASSROOTS RUGBY COACHES

Five easy to set-up fitness tests

If you have some cones, a stopwatch and some space, here are five great fitness tests to check your players’ conditioning progress. Measure them regularly through the season.

Cooper VO2max Test

The objective of the Cooper test is to predict an athlete’s VO2max, otherwise known as their endurance capability.

Set up

Mark out a diamond shape on the pitch, with 50m stretches.

How

See how far a player can run/walk in 12 minutes. Record the total distance covered.

Each lap is 200m. The best players will be covering up to 15 laps.

Split into pairs, so one watches the other run and counts their laps.

Based on the distance covered, an estimate of the athlete’s VO2max can be calculated as follows: VO2max = (Distance covered in metres – 504.9) / 44.73

Example: VO2max = (3400m – 504.9) / 44.73 = 64.72 ml/kg/min.

2 Hexagonal Obstacle Test

The objective of the hexagonal obstacle test is to monitor the athlete’s agility.

Set up

Mark out a hexagonal shape with cones, with 66cm (about two feet) between each cone

How

The player stands in the middle of the hexagon, facing line A, and at all times throughout the test, faces line A.

The player jumps with both feet over line B and back to the middle, then over line C and back to the middle, then line D and so on. When the player jumps over line A, and back to the middle, this counts as one circuit

Complete three circuits and record the time.

Rest and then repeats the test. On completion, determine the average of the two recorded times.

Jump the wrong line or land on a line then the test is to be restarted.

A good score for a 17-year-old male is 11.2 seconds.

505 Agility Test

The objective of the 505 agility test is to monitor the athlete’s speed and agility with a 180-degree turn.

Set up

Mark out a 15m box, with a line 10m into the box.

How

The player runs from the start line (A) towards the 10m line (B). As they pass the 10m line (B), the clock starts. They run onto the 15m line (C), turn and run back towards the start line. Stops the watch when the player passes through the 10m line.

The best of the two trials is recorded.

Core Muscle Strength and Stability Test

The Core Muscle Strength Test can be used to monitor the development of the player’s core strength.

How 

Throughout the test, the back, neck and head should be maintained in the posture as in the picture. If the player cannot hold this position, then the test is to be stopped.

Start in the “Chinese Press Up” position (as in the picture). Start the watch

Stage 1: Hold this position for 60 seconds.

Stage 2: Lift right arm off the ground and hold for 15 seconds.

Stage 3: Return the right arm to the ground and lift the left arm off the ground: 15 seconds.

Stage 4: Return left arm to the ground and lift the right leg off the ground: 15 seconds.

Stage 5: Return right leg to the ground and lift the left leg off the ground: 15 seconds.

Stage 6: Lift left leg and right arm off the ground: 15 seconds.

Stage 7: Return left leg and right arm to the ground. Lift right leg and left arm off the ground: 15 seconds.

Stage 8: Return to the basic Chinese Press Up position: 30 seconds.

Record the stage at which the player is unable to maintain the correct body position or is unable to continue with the test.

Standing Long Jump Test

The objective of this test is to monitor the development of the player’s elastic leg strength.

How

Place their feet over the edge of the line. They then crouch and leap forward. 

Measure from the edge to the nearest point of contact. The start of the jump must be from a static position.

Repeat and then record the best effort. As with all the data from these tests, use it as a reference point for future tests.

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