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.

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 int he 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 NaHCO3

Distance ran increased by 14% in the Yo-Yo intermittent recovery test level 2 (Yo-Yo IR2) following pre-exercise bicarbonate supplementation (Krustrup et al. 2015).

Also by Dixon et al., 2017. 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 supplementation alanine improved YoYo Intermittent Recovery Test Level 2 (YoYo IR2) performance (Saunders et al. 2012). Test subjects were supplemented with 3.2 g·day-1 of β-alanine over a 12 week period.


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