5 Rugby Fitness Tests

We often get asked “what is the best rugby fitness test?”. Well firstly the number 1 rugby fitness test is on a Saturday! Unfortunately there are no rugby specific tests that really predict performance. What fitness tests do give us is an indication of what you need to improve to get better. When we look at them in conjunction with a whole battery of tests we can see what is the priority for you to improve to take your game to the next level. Here are 5 tests to challenge your general fitness for rugby that all you need is a stopwatch and some cones!

The Rugby Fitness Tests

Bronco Test

The Bronco Test comes from New Zealand and has been tested by some of the top All Blacks players. It’s a shuttle run for total time. You need cones at 20, 40 and 60m and perform shuttles there and back to each distance. That’s one set and you do 5 of those. Here’s the real kicker though; there’s no rest between!


Backs: 4:23 – 4:40 mins

Forwards: 4:35 – 5:00 mins

WAT Test

rugby fitness testsThe WAT Test or the Welsh Anaerobic Test was developed by the WRU to test the fitness of it’s international players. It’s a good choice of test as it includes change of direction and getting off the floor which make it a bit more rugby specific than other tests. It also includes rest periods to better mimic the demands of rugby. You need cones at 0m, 2m, 5m and 15m. Perform a Down Up at cone A, then run a figure 8 round cones B and C, sprint to Cone D and then back to the start. Record Time! Perform one rep every 40s for 10 reps total. Add your time of each rep to get a total.


Backs: 131-138s

Forwards: 136-150s

10x100m (1km!)

This is the easiest to setup as you just run from try line to try line. Do it 10 times and record the total time taken. No rest, just run! Simple and effective, it gives you an indication of you or your player’s aerobic ability. We used this at Gloucester Rugby this year as a pass/fail on the players return from the offseason. You don’t want to fail it!


Backs: 3:10 – 3:20

Forwards: 3:20 – 3:45

MFITS (Metabolic Fitness Index for Team Sports)

This is a great test to do if you have access to a track. It consists of 100m Sprint 10 mins rest 400m run 20mins rest and finally 800m for forwards and 1500m for backs. The benefits are that it gives you an indication of a players ability of each energy system. ATP-CP for the 100m, Anaerobic Glycolytic for the 400m and aerobic for the 800/1500m.


Backs: 5:25 – 5:35 min (1500m)

Forwards: 2:40 – 3:00 min (800m)

The Impossible Test!

Not a running test but a great back up for someone who is off running. It is a savage test that will challenge the best of athletes and is the brainchild of Paddy Anson Head of Strength & Conditioning at Worcester Warriors. You will need a Concept 2 Rowing machine and Ski Erg and a WattBike. The test consists of a 1km Row, 3mins rest, 1km Ski, 3mins rest and finally a 2km WattBike.


Backs: <10 min

Forwards: <9:30 min

Give it a go and you might just find out why it’s called the impossible test!


There you go 5 rugby fitness tests for you to try out and see how you compare to the pros. Let us know how you get on!

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