Fitness Testing for AFL

Fitness is a very important aspect of success in modern AFL football, and it is important to measure fitness in the course of training - to get baseline measures, to identify strengths and weaknesses, and to monitor changes in fitness over time.

Most senior AFL players are in great physical condition. The attributes required for AFL include good physical size, excellent running speed and agility and aerobic capacity (see more on the fitness components for AFL). At each year end the AFL conducts a draft camp in which prospective players are put through a battery of fitness, physical and psychomotor tests. More details of these tests and the results can be followed on the AFL Draft Camp.

Here are some recommended fitness tests for assessing AFL players. Many of these are the same as used in the AFL Draft Camp.

Example Test Protocol

A fitness testing regimen for AFL would include a wide range of physical tests, based on the demands of the game. Brett Deledio, a senior Richmond footy player was tested in 2009 (as detailed in the Herald Sun Newspaper). A summary of his results are in the table below.

Fitness Test Result
body mass (kg) 87.5
height (cm) 187.9
Skinfolds, sum of 7 sites (mm) 39.6
Grip Strength (kg) 67
1RM Bench Press (kg) 145
Vertical Jump (cm) 76
Sit and Reach (cm) +14
VO2max (ml/kg/min) 60


His body strength for his size is very good (he can lift 1.66 x his body weight), which is important in AFL as players need to have strength without too much bulk. He is a good all round player, with a high VO2max endurance score, but still very good leg power (vertical jump).

Overall Football Ability

An article about the AFL draft from 2005 listed these 14 key performance indicators that AFL talent scouts used to rank players. Some of these are physical abilities, but there are also many other non-measurable aspects of the game. This list may or may not be used today by the talent scouts, but either way they provide an insight into what the AFL considers the important characteristics of the elite AFL players.

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