Acceleration, speed and endurance are essential weapons in any sportsman’s arsenal and the England rugby anaerobic fitness test pushes each of these to the limit.
The test is made up of five sets of sprints around cones set 5m, 10m and 20m apart. The aim is to complete each set of reps as quickly as you can so you have a lower total time, as well as longer rest periods to catch your breath. You need two stopwatches: one a running clock to measure overall time and the other to time how long you take to complete each set (you’ll probably need someone else to take care of this).
The first set, which is one rep, starts when the clock is at zero. The second set, which is two reps, starts on 45sec. The third set of two reps starts at 2min 15sec. The fourth set of four reps – known as ‘the killer’ – starts at 4min. The final set of just one rep starts at 6min 15sec.
At the end of this you should have five times, one for each set. Add these together to give you a total time that it took to complete the test. Stridgeon says, “We’ve had forwards who’ve done it in 229sec, but if you beat 300sec you’ve done all right,” says England’s national fitness coach Paul Stridgeon.
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Sam Rider is an experienced freelance journalist, specialising in health, fitness and wellness. For over a decade he's reported on Olympic Games, CrossFit Games and World Cups, and quizzed luminaries of elite sport, nutrition and strength and conditioning. Sam is also a REPS level 3 qualified personal trainer, online coach and founder of Your Daily Fix. Sam is also Coach’s designated reviewer of massage guns and fitness mirrors.