What is the Most Physically Demanding Sport?

What is the Most Physically Demanding Sport?

Boxing is considered the most physically demanding sport by science. This is because it requires more muscle movements, power, and durability to win over your opponent as you withstand powerful hits over a certain period of time. Here, you need to deal with both pain and fatigue. Plus, you need to dedicate months of training before the fight, unlike other sports.

Extreme Sports can be physically demanding. They don’t just work your mind but your whole body as well. However, there are some sports out there that can be more physically demanding. And boxing is one of them as it requires a lot of energy, power, endurance, and quick reflexes.

But, aside from boxing, there are also other sports that are physically demanding. Here are some of them.

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the sports that can be physically demanding. Like in boxing, this sport also requires months of training  Fighters also need to cut a lot of weight before their fight to be eligible to join in their respective weight divisions. And even in this part alone, many fighters are put at risk as they are prone to dehydration.

While they’re cutting weight, they are still training. In some cases, this part could even lead to serious consequences that could lead to deaths. The weight-cutting part is even more taxing than the fight itself.


Wrestling is also a bit similar to boxing and mixed martial arts. In this sport, you also need to train harder and lose a lot of weight. But, compared to the two sports, wrestling involves more body contact, stamina strength, and power Not to mention, you also need lots of mental effort, so you can think fast and balance well to overpower your opponent.


Gymnastics has many forms. But, regardless of which form we’re talking about, this sport requires physical fitness combined with good reflexes, balance, and mental strength. 

Like in the first mentioned sports, gymnastics also put a lot of strength in the body even during training. And even if you’re naturally born with the skills required for this sport, you’ll still need to train hard to perfect everything.

Gymnasts may make it look easy on television as they move swiftly and smoothly. But, this sport is actually one of the most challenging in the world.

Motocross Riding

When watching hoe motocross riders compete, it seems as if the sport is simple as you’re riding a motor. But, it can still be taxing to the body.

Apparently, even if you’re riding a motor to compete, your body still needs a good balance and strength to maneuver your bike. And whether you’re training or competing, your heart is working harder compared to doing other sports.

Here, your heart rate will range from about 179 to nearly 200. And to be able to handle and sustain this heart rate, you need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to training too. You need to give your 100% effort in watching your diet and training on and off the track.


Many people like playing tennis as a hobby as it’s one of the sports that are easy to learn. But, once you take it seriously, the sport can be physically and mentally demanding too. For this sport, you must have great strength, speed, control, and power as you hit the ball. 

While it may seem easy as many people play it as a hobby, all the training and playing under the sun for hours will work your whole body.

Alpine Skiing

Skiing is also one of the sports that doesn’t look physically demanding. But, it turns out, it actually is too.

Like tennis, skiing is also often played as a hobby. And, it’s can also be learned easily. But, mastering it is hard. In fact, for you to advance to the elite level, you ust develop anaerobic power, anaerobic endurance, great coordination and balance, as well as flexibility, agility, and muscular strength. 

This way, it’s easier for you to maneuver across the obstacles as you descend at great speeds. Over time, you will develop a stronger body. But, for you to reach this level, you will also need to practice a lot. And it would take months or years for you to master it, which can also be taxing to your body.

American Football

American football is also a well-loved sport around the world. And just by watching it, it would seem that the sport is fun, easy, and less risky as players are wearing protective gear, such as paddings and helmets.

But, despite the protection that players have, the sport can also take a toll on the body. This is because you need to be fast and strong to play. And, for you to achieve this, you need to have exceptional athleticism for you to take the hits, blows, and every physical challengees that the sport demands.

You’re also at risk of numerous injuries. And even if you wear your helmet, you’re still at risk of concussions and other head traumas.


This might also come as a surprise for a lot of people, but basketball is also a physically demanding sport. Contrary to what you see on screen, you don’t just need a sharp eye to aim for the basket and shoot the ball.

The sport also involves lots of running, which demands speed, endurance, agility, and jumping power for basketball players. You also need to have a healthy heart and lungs for this game. 

And, of course, you also need weeks of training for this, which can take up a huge chunk of your energy and strength even before the official day of your game. In some cases, you also need to compete a few times a week, leaving you with lesser time to rest compared to other sports.


Triathlon is unlike other sports where you will need to master only one sport. Apparently, for this race, you will need to be good at swimming, cycling, and running. For this, you need great speed, endurance, and cardiorespiratory fitness.

And to train for these, you can’t just focus on mastering one sport. Thus, this requires months of training too. And because you’re trying to master multiple sports at a time, your whole body will surely need to work harder compared to doing other sports on this list.

Ice Hockey

Ice hockey can be physically demanding too. Aside from all the fighting involved between the players, you also need to be prepared for racing around the ice chasing a puck with huge sticks for an hour. Even if you can ask for a sub, you will still need to work hard to win the game.

And because the ice can be slippery, you will need lots of agility and strength to change directions quickly and more frequently – faster than skaters.

What is the most physically demanding sport in the Olympics?

Playing sports, in general, demands a huge amount of physical effort and energy. But, when you’re competing for the Olympics, your 100% isn’t always enough as you’re competing with the best players in the world.

In the Olympics, sports medicine experts have actually named a few sports that are more physically taxing than others: water polo, gymnastics, and boxing.

Water Polo

Playing in the water seems fun and relaxing for some. After all, the water can be relaxing, which helps your body feel lighter and less stressed. However, water polo is different.

For this sport, swimming isn’t only the skill you need to train for. Aside from mastering how to tread water for 30 minutes, you also need to deal with blows that other athletes may throw at you.

Since the sport is done in water, it’s not easy to monitor how players move. Hence, the sport can get as physically demanding and violent as soccer and ice hockey as players can sneak in blows to each other.

While there are rules, it’s not that easy to watch each player’s move. So, it’s a piece of cake to hit other players while everyone is trying their best not to drown or touch the ground while scoring points all at the same time.

Additionally, you need to work well on your aerobic and anaerobic capacity to stay afloat, fight against other players, and score points.


Experts also named gymnastics as one of the sports that can be physically hard in the Olympics. This is because aside from the physical strength that the sport demands, you also need to be mindful of the technicalities of the sport. And, of course, you need to have a good amount of mental strength.

For this sport, you need to master balance and be flexible. Plus, your body needs to be strong and you need to have endurance, as well as high levels of alertness. This way, you can perform the stunts perfectly despite crushing falls.


Boxing, of course, is included as one of the toughest sports in the Olympics. Just like in mixed martial arts and wrestling, boxers need to train well while trying to cut back on their weight. And this part can be dangerous.

Since you need to watch your weight, many boxers go to great lengths and even dehydrate themselves as it’s an easier way to lose weight fast. And physical training can take a toll on the body more when you’re dehydrated. Hence, the training part can be dangerous.

During your fight, you also need to be well-prepared for getting hit hard on different parts of your body. Even in some divisions, players can wear headgear to protect their heads and prevent head traumas and injuries, you’re still at risk of injuries.

In boxing, both the training part and the actual fight itself are dangerous and physically demanding. Hence, sports experts also choose this sport as a runner-up for the most physically demanding and dangerous sport.

Playing sports is not all fun and games. For you to win and master them, you need to pay the price of the physical effort that it requires. 

Related article:

What are the new extreme adventure sports

About David Miller

Passionnate about extreme sports since a young age, I started my journey with brazilian Jiu Jitsu and skydiving. After 2000 jumps, I’m now a professionnel skydiver focus on wingsuit flying. I’m writing about all kind of extreme sports, trying to find the best spots in the world to do it.

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