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Fitness Tests for Rugby League

As with most team sports, there are many components of fitness that are important for success. Strength, power and aerobic fitness would be important attributes for a rugby league player, but also important are anaerobic fitness and running speed and agility. See our discussion about Fitness Components for Rugby League.

The importance of each component of fitness will depend on the playing position, e.g. strength is more important for the props and speed for the backs. For expected scores in these tests, you should also check out the fitness assessment results from senior Newcastle Knights players.

Fitness Component example tests comments
Aerobic Fitness The shuttle run (beep) test would usually be the most appropriate test for testing a team. You can find information on many other aerobic tests here. Aerobic fitness is a very important component of fitness for rugby. 
Flexibility The sit and reach test can be done for lower back and hamstring flexibility.  Good hamstring flexibility is important for rugby players in running and for ball kicking skill. 
Strength & Power The vertical jump test can be performed to measure leg power. Maximal strength tests for specific exercises should be conducted.  Strength (and power tests) should also be done to determine strength levels and to monitor strength changes in conjunction with training programs. 
Speed Sprint time over 40m, with a split time for the first 10m should be done. Maximum running speed and acceleration are very important in rugby. 
Repeat Sprints A repeat sprint test is designed to measure not only anaerobic power, but also the ability to recover from short bursts of high intensity exercise. You can test just the repeat sprint ability with tests such as Running Based Anaerobic Sprint Test (RAST). Rugby players are required to continually produce short bursts of high intensity work interspersed with lower intensity activity.
Body Fat Body fat can be measured using the skinfold method. If this is not available, monitoring body weight changes would give an indication of body fat changes, assuming no change in muscle mass. Excess body fat would affect the player's ability to move freely around the field, and the extra weight will increase fatigue during the game. 
Agility An agility test in which the player has to make a turn of less than 45 degrees would be suitable, as no turns greater than this are made a speed during a game. The ability to quickly change direction is important for rugby. 


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