In this article, we’re going to cover what the 505 agility test is, how to perform the test and provide normative data for athletes competing in various sports and at various levels.
505 agility test
The 505 agility test is a test that involves an athlete sprinting forwards to a line 15m ahead, turning 180 degrees and sprinting back 5m. It is also written as the 5-0-5 agility test, and was first developed in 1985 with the demands of a batsman or women running between the wickets in cricket in mind. It’s now regularly used by many other sports which require a rapid change of direction.
What does the 505 agility test measure?
Given the 505 agility test’s name, it’s easy to assume it measures agility, but it doesn’t. The 505 agility test instead is a measure of an athlete’s ability to change direction. To get our head around this, it’s important to understand the difference between agility and change of direction:
- Agility – “a rapid whole-body movement with change of velocity or direction in response to a stimulus.”
- Change of direction – “a rapid whole-body movement with a pre-planned change of velocity or direction.”
When an athlete is undertaking the 505 agility test, they know exactly what to expect, the turn is pre-planned and they aren’t responding to a stimulus, which means the test is a measure of change of direction. If you want to be more specific, lets break down what the test measures a bit further…
The 505 agility tests indicate an athlete’s ability to decelerate rapidly from high-speed running, reorient the body to perform a single 180 degrees turn in a horizontal plane and then rapidly reaccelerate.
Procedure for the 505 agility test
To perform the 505 agility test, you will need:
- 30 x 20m testing area
- Six cones
- Stopwatch or timing gates
- Measuring tape
- Recording sheet
- Test administrator
- Line judge
Set up for the 505 agility test:
- If you have access to timing games, place a channel at the finish line (indicated by the orange circles at the finish line in figure 1) and two channels of cones at the start and turning lines (indicated by the orange circles in figure 1). If you don’t have access to timing games, place a channel of cones where the timing gates would be.
- The test administrator should stand in line with the finish line and the line judge should stand in line with the turning line.
- The athlete will stand on the start line.
- The test administrator will stand in line with the finish line and will count “three, two, one, go.” On “go” the athlete must accelerate 15 yards (note, the time starts when the athlete runs through the first set of timing gates, at the 10m mark, also labelled the finish line in figure 1), to the turn line (one foot must be on or over the line), change direction and accelerate 5 yards through the finish line.
- Once the athlete accelerates through the finish line/ timing gates for the second time, the administrator will press stop on the stopwatch.
- The athlete will complete the test three times turning in each direction and may have 2-3 minutes rest in between each test. The best time of the three tests in each direction should be recorded to the nearest 0.01 seconds.
Creating valid and reliable data
To maximise the reliability and validity the test, there are several factors we must consider:
505 agility test normative data
Normative data for the 505 agility test can be seen in the table below, where we have average times to complete the 505 test for athletes competing in various sports and at various levels, which we can use to compare our athlete’s times too.
Frequently asked questions
When does the timer start?
The timer starts when the athlete runs through the first set of timing gates (at the 10m mark, also labelled the finish line in figure 1) and stops once the athlete accelerates back through the timing games/ finish line.
Do you need two-line judges?
The test can be conducted with one test administrator who stands at the finish line to start and stop the stopwatch. To ensure the test is completed correctly, it’s useful to have a second test administrator who stands at the turning line to ensure that the athlete’s foot is on or over the line when they turn. If you don’t have a second test administrator available, you can still conduct the test but it may reduce the validity of your results and should be considered when analysing your athlete’s data.
T-test vs 505 test vs Pro agility test
Each test measures a different type of change-of-direction ability and is underpinned by slightly different physical requirements.
Consider which of these physical requirements are important within your sport, and this will help to determine if the T-test, Pro Agility Test or 505 Agility Test is most appropriate for your athletes and sport to undertake.
The 505 agility test is a great way to measure an athlete’s ability to change direction in the horizontal plane. It can take athletes around 2 seconds to complete the test, which is convenient when working with a team and results can be compared to normative values or monitored over time.
For more on fitness testing for athletes check out this article. Or for more specific test guides check out these links for grip strength testing, The Yo-Yo Test, the Illinois Agility test and the Sit and Reach Test.
- Haff & Triplett (2015) – Essentials of strength training and conditioning 4th edition.
- Nimphius et al (2017) – Change of direction and agility tests: challenging our current measures of performance
If you quote information from this page in your work, then the reference for this page is:
Shaw, W (2021). The 505 agility test: procedure, testing & normative data. Available from: https://sportscienceinsider.com/the-505-agility-test/ [Accessed dd/mm/yyyy].
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Will is a sport scientist and golf professional who specialises in motor control and motor learning. Will lecturers part-time in motor control and biomechanics, runs Golf Insider UK and consults elite athletes who are interested in optimising their training and performance.