Research to Improve Yo-Yo Test Performance

If you are looking to improve your yo-yo test score, first check out our page about Maximizing Your Yo-Yo Test Score, which in part involves Training to improve your Yo-Yo Test score. You might also find these Top-10 Tips to Maximize Your Score useful.

In addition to those methods mentioned above, there are scientific research papers which have investigated the effect of various methods and supplements on yo-yo test performance. While the purpose of these studies is usually to investigate physiological responses to exercise and other interventions, only using the yo-yo test as a tool, it may provide some information which could help improve yo-yo test performances.

Go to Altitude

A group of Australian footballers showed an increase in Yo-Yo IR2 performance after spending 19 nights at 3000m simulated altitude (Inness et al., 2017). The study involved a group of players staying overnight at a simulated altitude for at least 12 hours each night, and comparing their results to a matched control group that did not. After 19 nights, the group that was "living-high training-low", performed 13.5% better in the yo-yo test compared to the control group.

Even greater improvements in yo-yo test scores can be achieved using intermittent hypoxic training (IHT) (Brocherie et al., 2015, Inness et al., 2016). Inness et al. found the IHT group had a 27% greater change in Yo-Yo IR2 performance than the control group after only 6 sessions of IHT.

Take some Sodium Bicarbonate

Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) has been shown to increase exercise performance, especially in high-intensity and interval activities, and several studies have shown improvements in the yo-yo test. Krustrup et al. ( 2015) found that bthe distance ran increased by 14% in the Yo-Yo IR2 following pre-exercise bicarbonate supplementation. Another study by Dixon et al. (2017) saw an improved Yo-Yo IR1 performance under the NaHCO3 condition (610±267 sec), compared to the placebo condition (556±259 sec).

Take some β-alanine

Beta-alanine is a compound that plays a role in muscle endurance in high-intensity exercise, and aids in the production of carnosine. Saunders et al. (2012) found that beta-alanine supplementation with 3.2 g·day-1 of β-alanine over a 12 week period improved YoYo IR2 performance.


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