Top 15 Fittest Sports: Which Has the Fittest Athletes?

(Last Updated On: June 10, 2022)

It’s no secret that in order to be a successful athlete, you have to be in excellent shape. But what sports have the fittest athletes?

In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the most fitness-intensive sports and find out which ones demand the most from their competitors. Whether you’re an avid exerciser or just starting to get into shape, these sports will definitely give you a challenge.

sports with the fittest athletes

What Do We Mean When We Say Fit?

When we talk about fitness, we’re not just referring to physical strength or endurance. Being fit also means having the agility, coordination, and balance to perform complex movements. So it’s not just about how much you can lift or how fast you can run.

It’s also important to note that there are different types of fitness, each of which is important for different sports. For example, powerlifting requires a lot of explosive strength, while distance running relies more on aerobic endurance.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the most physically demanding sports in the world and see what kind of fitness they require.

 

#1 Wrestling/MMA

Fittest sports

Wrestling and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) are two of the most physically demanding sports out there. They require a high level of strength, endurance, and agility.

Wrestlers need to be incredibly strong in order to perform all of the various takedowns, throws, and other moves. They also need excellent endurance to keep going for the entire match. And finally, they need to be very agile in order to avoid their opponent’s moves and counter with their own.

MMA fighters need all of the same attributes as wrestlers, plus they need to be able to deliver powerful punches and kicks. So not only do they need to be strong and agile, they also need to have excellent coordination.

And if you aren’t fit, and your opponent is, you will get your butt kicked. So you better be in shape.

Bottom line: If you want to be a successful wrestler or MMA fighter, you need to be incredibly fit.

 

Related: The 25 Most Jacked MMA Fighters




 

#2 Boxing

sports with the fittest athletes

Boxing is another sport that requires a very high level of fitness. Boxers need to be strong, agile and have excellent endurance.

They need to be strong in order to deliver powerful punches. They also need to be agile to avoid their opponent’s punches and land their own. And finally, they need excellent endurance to be able to keep going for the entire match.

Just like in wrestling and MMA, if you’re not fit, and your opponent is, you will have a tough time. So again, being in excellent shape is a must if you want to be a successful boxer.

Bottom line: If you want to be a successful boxer, you need to be incredibly fit.

 

Related: Top 13 Sports With The Best Athletes

 

#3 Triathlons

triathlon runner
Gwen Jorgensen of Waukesha, the world’s dominant female triathlete, will compete for Team USA in Rio. Credit: Associated Press

Few sporting events can match the level of fitness required for a triathlon. This event combines swimming, cycling, and running – three sports that are each incredibly demanding in their own right.

To be a successful triathlete, you need to have excellent endurance and the ability to maintain a high level of intensity for extended periods of time. It would help if you were strong, as all three disciplines require some strength and explosiveness.

In short, triathlons are the perfect test of all-around fitness, and it’s no surprise that the athletes who compete in them are some of the fittest in the world.




 

#4 Water Polo

Water polo is without question one of the most demanding sports out there. It is a physically and mentally challenging sport that requires athletes to be in excellent shape.

Water polo is a team sport played in the water between two teams. The game consists of four quarters, during which the teams try to score goals by throwing the ball into their opponents’ net.

Players must be able to swim well and have good endurance, as they are constantly swimming during the game. They also need to be strong and fast, as they need to be able to swim quickly and make sudden changes of direction. Water polo players must also have good hand-eye coordination, as they need to be able to catch and throw the ball accurately.

Players are not allowed to touch the bottom of the pool or the side of the pool, and they can only hold the ball for a maximum of three seconds. This means that players must be able to tread water for long periods and have good stamina.

 

#5 Rugby

Sonny Bill Williams

Rugby is another demanding sport that requires endurance, strength, speed, power and agility. Honestly, there aren’t any physical attribute that isn’t needed for rugby.

Players need to be able to run long distances while also having the power to take down opponents. They also have to be agile enough to avoid being tackled and must be able to think quickly on their feet. For all of these reasons, rugby players are some of the fittest athletes in the world.

 

Related: See the 15 Most Jacked Rugby Players in the World

 

#6 The Decathalon

decathlon

The Decathalon is an athletic competition consisting of ten different events. These events are spread out over two days, with the first day being the “field” events and the second day being the “track” events. At the end of the competition, the athlete with the highest point total is declared the winner.

The decathlon is considered one of the most demanding sports there is, both physically and mentally. Athletes competing in this event need to have a wide range of skills, including lower and upper body strength, speed, endurance, agility, and coordination. They also need to be able to learn and adapt to new situations quickly.

Decathlon events include: the 100-meter dash, 1500-meter run, high jump, shot put, javelin, 400-meter run, long jump, 110-meter hurdles, pole vault and discus.

These events are spread out over two days, with the first day being the “field” events and the second day being the “track” events. At the end of the competition, the athlete with the highest point total is declared the winner.

The decathlon is considered one of the most demanding sports there is, both physically and mentally. Athletes competing in this event need to have a wide range of skills, including strength, speed, endurance, agility, and coordination.




 

#7 Cross Country/ Distance Running

cross country running
Phot Credit: Canadian Running Magazine

Cross country running is a sport in which athletes compete against each other by racing over open or rough terrain. The courses are typically 5 to 10 kilometers (3.1 to 6.2 miles) long, but can be longer for elite runners. Cross country running is one of the most demanding sports there is, as it requires a high level of aerobic fitness as well as strength and endurance.

Distance running is a sport in which athletes compete against each other by racing over long distances. The courses can be anything from 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) to the marathon distance of 42 kilometers (26.2 miles). Distance runners need a high level of aerobic fitness and the ability to maintain a relatively high pace for long periods of time.

Some of the most famous distance runners in the world include Ethiopian runners Kenenisa Bekele and Tirunesh Dibaba and Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge.

Cross country running can be done individually or in teams.

 

#8 Hockey

hockey game

Hockey is a sport that requires a high level of fitness, as players need to be able to skate quickly, change directions quickly, and have a good level of endurance. Hockey is also a contact sport, so players need to be strong enough to take and give hits.

Hockey is typically played on an ice rink but can also be played on rollerblades or in water. The game is played with a stick and a puck, and the objective is to score goals by shooting the puck into the other team’s net.

Hockey is a popular sport in many countries, including Canada, the United States, Russia, and Sweden. Some of the most famous hockey players include Wayne Gretzky and Sidney Crosby.




 

#9 Soccer

female soccer player

Pele, David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo. Soccer players are some of the most popular and easily recognizable professional athletes in the world. But they’re also some of the fittest. To play at a high level, soccer players need exceptional endurance and the ability to sprint, change directions quickly, and jump high. They must also have excellent coordination and ball-handling skills.

While the physical demands of soccer vary depending on position (forwards need more speed and agility, while defenders need more strength and power), all players must be able to sustain long periods of running and have the explosive burst of speed necessary to make sudden changes in direction or take advantage of an opportunity on goal.

To build the stamina and strength required to play soccer at a high level, players typically train several hours a day, including running, weightlifting, and plyometric exercises. They also spend time working on their ball skills and practicing game scenarios.

At the pro level, there is no substituting either. Once you come out you don’t go back in. That means many players will play the entire game. There are also no timeouts for breaks either, only halftime.

 

#10 Basketball

fit basketball player

Basketball players need agility, coordination, speed, and power to succeed on the court. A study of NBA players found that the average player had a VO2 max of 48.9 mL/kg/min, which is significantly higher than the average person’s score of 31 mL/kg/min.

Players also need to have a high level of anaerobic fitness to be able to sprint up and down the court for long periods. A study of college basketball players found that they had an average anaerobic fitness score of 749 watts, much higher than the average person’s score of 400 watts.

Not only is basketball physically demanding but it is also likely the most athletic sport on the list.

 

#11 Swimming

fit swimmer

Most people believe that swimmers are some of the fittest athletes in the world. After all, they have to be able to swim long distances and often do so at high speeds. What many people don’t realize, however, is that swimming is also an excellent workout for your upper body. In addition to working your arms, shoulders, and chest, swimming also gives you a great core workout.

One of the most incredible feats in swimming is to swim the English Channel, which is 21 miles. When currents are taken into consideration, it is thought to be around as much as 39 miles.

The first person ever to swim the English Channel did it in 21 hours and 45 minutes. Since then, the record time has gone all the way down to a mind-blowing 6 hours and 55 minutes.




 

#12 Cycling

With its origins in Herne Hill, London, way back in 1868, competitive cycling has come long. It is one of the most popular sports globally, with multiple disciplines to choose from. The fittest athletes tend to succeed in road race and track race events.

The key to success in these races is having a high VO2 max, which measures the amount of oxygen that your body can utilize during exercise. Road racing cyclists need to have a solid endurance base, as they often cover distances of over 200km in a single race!

On the other hand, to be successful in track racing, cyclists need to have explosive sprinting power to win short races of around 250m. These cyclists need to have a high anaerobic threshold, which is the point at which your body starts to produce lactic acid faster than it can be removed.

 

#13 Lacrosse

lacrosse player

Lacrosse is a team sport that originated among Native Americans in North America. It is now played in many countries worldwide, including the United States, Canada, and Australia.

The lacrosse game is physical and demanding, requiring players to have a high level of fitness. The best athletes tend to be those who are fast and agile, with good hand-eye coordination.

Players need to be able to sprint up and down the field while also changing directions quickly. They also need to have the stamina to play for an extended period of time, as games can last up to two hours.

In addition to being physically fit, lacrosse players also need to have good mental toughness. The game is fast-paced and can be chaotic, so players need to be able to think quickly and make split-second decisions.

 

#14 Rowing

female rowing

Rowing is a sport that has been around for centuries, with its origins tracing back to the ancient Greeks. It is now one of the most popular sports globally, with multiple disciplines to choose from.

The fittest athletes tend to be successful in the sprint events, such as the 500m and 1000m. These races require a high level of aerobic fitness and explosive power.

Rowers need to have strong legs, core, and back muscles to generate the power required to propel the boat forward. They also need good cardiovascular fitness to sustain a high level of effort for the race duration.

In addition to being physically fit, rowers also need to have good mental toughness. The sport is extremely demanding and can be frustrating at times, so it takes a lot of mental fortitude to succeed.




 

#15 Tennis

fit tennis player

Tennis is a racket sport that can be traced back to the 12th century. It is now one of the most popular sports globally, with multiple disciplines to choose from.

The fittest athletes tend to be successful in the singles and doubles events. These events require a high level of aerobic fitness and explosive power.

Players need to have strong legs, core, and arm muscles to generate the power necessary to hit the ball. They also need good cardiovascular fitness to sustain a high level of effort for the match duration.

In addition to being physically fit, tennis players also need to have good mental toughness. The sport is highly demanding and can be frustrating at times, so it takes a lot of mental fortitude to succeed.

 

Final Word

So, what is the fittest sport? This is a difficult question to answer definitively. There are many variables that go into fitness, such as strength, speed, agility, and endurance. What might be the fittest sport for one person may not be as fit for another person. That being said, there are some sports that seem to have athletes who are generally fitter than others. Leave me a comment and let me know what you think is the fittest sport.

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