The World’s Hardest Sports
Trying different sports is an excellent way to raise your fitness levels and challenge your body. The competitive element of sports can really push people to another level of effort and achievement.
But which sports are the toughest? We’ve assessed the skills and fitness needed for registered sports, and narrowed down the hardest sports you can do.
Of course, the effort levels you put in can rapidly alter the workout your body gets. The more you put in, the more you get out, as the old mantra goes! So if you’re favourite sport isn’t in here, that’s not to say it’s easy. Try out one of these sports and compare it to your usual workout, and see how they compare.
Boxing requires a very high level of cardiovascular fitness. A great deal of strength is also required to progress in boxing. Plus, there’s a big chance you’ll get punched in the face. To last a whole boxing match is to be able to manage 12 rounds of 3 minute HIIT sessions. And the intensity of those sessions is why boxing is often considered the world’s hardest sport.
A boxer must be nimble as well as powerful – or as the mighty Muhammed Ali put it “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”
A gymnast must be flexible and powerful, and able to not only support their bodyweight but propel it at speed. Gymnastics requires full body fitness, with each muscle getting a thorough workout. With many of the gymnastic disciplines, there is no room for anything other than full effort. The likes of High or Uneven Bars necessitate the full body’s engagement. If you don’t train like gymnastics is the world’s hardest sport, you’ll soon end up flat on your face.
Power and endurance are essential for rowers. In particular, the legs, arms and back muscles receive an intense workout. Rowing is also often considered a mental workout, too. The drive to win a race or hit a PB takes a lot of personal drive.
Keeping speed, power and balance on ice whilst withstanding barges and tackles certainly sounds tough. Ice hockey players need to be able to access explosive bursts of speed. Whilst working as a team means that all players do not have to work flat-out for the whole match, the shorter, intense bursts where they are vying for control of the puck or to out manoeuvre another player are feats of cardio ability and strength.
Swimming is sometimes considered a relaxing or therapeutic sport, particular given its reputation for being easy on joints. However, competitive swimmers will attest it takes far more effort than a leisurely dip. Swimming competitively is a cardio workout that tests levels of endurance and strength. Muscles all over the body must be rigorously trained to create enough propulsion to out-swim your competitors. The body must be incredibly efficient in its movements to create the least resistance with the water, including when lifting the head to breathe.
Okay, so this isn’t one that you can try out at the gym, but motocross riders are often credited with incredible fitness levels. The back and core muscles are the key to manoeuvring a motocross bike in tough terrain, while the arms keep the bike’s direction on track.