Saturday, 13 Jul 2024

Fitness Tests for Football

Fitness testing plays a crucial role in soccer, providing valuable insights for player development, training programs, injury prevention, and performance enhancement. By assessing various fitness components, coaches, trainers, and players can optimize their physical abilities and achieve their goals on the field.

Recommended Tests

To gauge fitness levels in soccer players, the following battery of tests is recommended. While there are alternative tests available, these provide a solid foundation for assessing different physical attributes.

Body Fat

Excess body fat hinders a player’s mobility and increases fatigue. Monitoring body weight changes or using the skinfold method can help gauge body fat levels.


Flexibility is vital for mobility and injury prevention. The sit and reach test is useful for assessing lower back and hamstring flexibility, which are crucial for ball-kicking skills.

Strength and Power

Determining strength levels and monitoring changes is important. The vertical jump test measures leg power, while other tests evaluate maximal strength for specific exercises.


Maximum running speed and acceleration are key factors in soccer. Conducting a sprint test over 40m, with a split time for the first 10m, provides valuable insights.


The ability to change direction quickly is essential in soccer. The 505 agility test measures the ability to change direction by 180 degrees, while other more complex tests are designed specifically for soccer demands.

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Repeat Sprints

Soccer players frequently engage in short bursts of high-intensity work. Repeat sprint tests assess both anaerobic power and the ability to recover from such bursts. Tests like the Sprint Fatigue Test simulate the demands of soccer matches.

Aerobic Fitness

Maintaining high intensity throughout a 90-minute game requires excellent aerobic fitness. The shuttle run (beep) test or specialized soccer-specific tests, like the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test and the Yo-Yo Intermittent Tests, can assess aerobic capacity.

Special Considerations for Goalkeepers

Goalkeepers have unique fitness demands. Tests for goalkeepers should focus on explosive power, flexibility, and reaction time.

Example Test Protocols

In 2013, the Milan Soccer Academy used the following test protocol, alongside technical tests for dribbling and finishing:

  • Aerobic Endurance: A timed test over 1000 meters at maximum speed or the Yo Yo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 1.
  • Flexibility: Sit and reach test.
  • Strength and Coordination: Vertical jump tests for leg power and coordination. Sit-ups and push-ups are also included.
  • Speed: Measuring reaction speed, maximum speed, and technical running movements over 15 to 20 meters, with and without the ball.

Other testing examples include the MLS Player Combine, the Soccer SPARQ fitness testing, and previously used tests for the US Women’s National Soccer Team. Bayern Munich FC’s fitness test video showcases many of the tests they conduct.


Turner, Anthony & Walker, Scott & Stembridge, Mike & Coneyworth, Paul & Reed, Glen & Birdsey, Laurence & Barter, Phil & Moody, Jeremy. (2011). A Testing Battery for the Assessment of Fitness in Soccer Players. Strength & Conditioning Journal, 33, 29-39.

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Related Pages

  • Soccer/Football-Specific Tests, such as the Footeval Test — a football (soccer) specific fitness test with one-minute intervals incorporating ball dribbling.
  • Anthropometry for football — information about football player’s body size and body composition.
  • Poll about the fitness components for soccer.
  • Who Is The Fittest Footballer (Soccer Player) Ever?
  • MLS Player Combine — entry tests for Major League Soccer players.
  • Soccer SPARQ fitness testing rating system.
  • FIFA Interval Test 1 and Test 2, designed for testing the fitness of soccer referees.
  • Fitness testing for the US Women’s National Soccer Team.
  • Fitness testing for other sports.
  • About Testing for Intermittent Sports.
  • Why Fitness Test Your Sports Team.
  • Fitness for Soccer.

Q: What is the importance of fitness testing in soccer?
A: Fitness testing helps optimize player development, training programs, injury prevention, and performance enhancement in soccer.

Q: How can flexibility be assessed in soccer players?
A: Flexibility can be assessed using tests like the sit and reach test, which focuses on lower back and hamstring flexibility, crucial for ball-kicking skills.

Q: Why is aerobic fitness important in soccer?
A: Aerobic fitness is vital in soccer as players need to maintain high intensity throughout the 90-minute game.

Fitness testing is essential in soccer for player development, injury prevention, and performance enhancement. Recommended tests cover various fitness components, including body fat, flexibility, strength and power, speed, agility, repeat sprints, and aerobic fitness. Goalkeepers have specific fitness demands, focusing on explosive power, flexibility, and reaction time. Examples of test protocols, such as those used by the Milan Soccer Academy and other organizations, provide practical insights into assessing soccer players’ fitness levels. References and related pages offer further information and resources for fitness testing in soccer.

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