JOURNAL ARTICLE

The Yo-Yo IR2 test: physiological response, reliability, and application to elite soccer

Peter Krustrup, Magni Mohr, Lars Nybo, Jack Majgaard Jensen, Jens Jung Nielsen, Jens Bangsbo
Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2006, 38 (9): 1666-73
16960529

PURPOSE: To examine the physiological response, reliability, and validity of the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery level 2 test (Yo-Yo IR2).

METHODS: Thirteen normally trained male subjects carried out four Yo-Yo IR2 tests, an incremental treadmill test (ITT), and various sprint tests. Muscle biopsies and blood samples were obtained, and heart rate was measured before, during, and after the Yo-Yo IR2 test. Additionally, 119 Scandinavian elite soccer players carried out the Yo-Yo IR2 test on two to four occasions.

RESULTS: Yo-Yo IR2 performance was 591 +/- 43 (320-920) m or 4.3 (2.6-7.9) min. Test-retest coefficient of variation in distance covered was 9.6% (N = 29). Heart rate (HR) at exhaustion was 191 +/- 3 bpm, or 98 +/- 1% HRmax. Muscle lactate was 41.7 +/- 5.4 and 68.5 +/- 7.6 mmol x kg(-1) d.w. at 85 and 100% of exhaustion time, respectively, with corresponding muscle CP values of 40.4 +/- 5.2 and 29.4 +/- 4.7 mmol x kg(-1) d.w. Peak blood lactate was 13.6 +/- 0.5 mM. Yo-Yo IR2 performance was correlated to ITT performance (r = 0.74, P < 0.05) and VO2max (r = 0.56, P < 0.05) but not to 30- and 50-m sprint performance. Yo-Yo IR2 performance was better (P < 0.05) for international elite soccer players than for moderate elite players (1059 +/- 35 vs 771 +/- 26 m) and better (P < 0.05) for central defenders (N = 21), fullbacks (N = 20), and midfielders (N = 48) than for goalkeepers (N = 6) and attackers (N = 24). Fifteen elite soccer players improved (P < 0.05) Yo-Yo IR2 performance by 42 +/- 8% during 8 wk of preseasonal training.

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that the Yo-Yo IR2 test is reproducible and can be used to evaluate an athlete's ability to perform intense intermittent exercise with a high rate of aerobic and anaerobic energy turnover. Specifically, the Yo-Yo IR2 test was shown to be a sensitive tool to differentiate between intermittent exercise performance of soccer players in different seasonal periods and at different competitive levels and playing positions.

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