Testing for the World's Fittest Athlete

Fitness itself is hard to define, so it makes this often asked and debated topic equally difficult to answer. Fitness is a variable thing, you can be fit for one job but not another. A very fit marathon runner would struggle in a sprinting race, and vice versa. We have gone to great length discussing the world's greatest athlete, a title that requires not only superior fitness but exceptional sporting skill and possibly other attributes. The following discussion is solely about how we can test for the fittest athletes. As you will see there are some athletes with exceptional fitness who would struggle in any competitive sporting situation. We have some lists of the World's fittest athletes. You may also be interested in reading about the Fittest Sports, which looks at sports which are considered to have the fittest athletes.

How many Can You Do?

One way to test fitness is by measuring the performance in a standard fitness exercise or test. The title of the world's fittest human may come from the athletes who push themselves to the limit, which they often do with more than one exercise. The world's fittest human may be Japanese athlete Minoru Yoshida, who performed 10,507 non-stop push-ups in October 1980. That is certainly someone who I would call fit. Another contender is Kílian Jornet Burgada - currently the most dominating endurance athlete in the world. There are many athletes who have put up world best performances in things like push-ups and sit-ups, walking across the USA, climbing mountains. It is a tough thing to decide who can claim to be the world's fittest, and that is why you will hear that title placed on so many people. See also the Fitness Test Records.decathlete

Cross Fit Champions

The fittest athlete on earth may be the champion of the Cross Fit Games. Cross Fit is a strength and conditioning program created in the US in 2000, involving short but high-intensity workouts comprised of functional exercises. Cross Fit have been organizing an annual competition since 2007, the Cross Fit Games, in which the winner is awarded the title "Fittest Man on Earth".

The competitors qualify through a series of regional events around the world, and the final competition pits the leaders against each other over a few days. The competition is decided on a range of grueling challenges which competitors only find out about shortly before the event. The challenges include such things as running and squats, to more exotic movements such as climbing and odd object lifting. The athletes will complete short sprint-type events, medium-duration challenges, and longer tests of endurance. The winner is determined by combining the points for placing in each event.

Guinness World Record Physical Fitness Challenge

In an attempt to define the fittest person in the world, the great people at Guinness World Records ratified this supreme test of fitness, to be completed in the shortest possible time. The specifics of the test may have changed a little over time, and there are several people who claim to currently hold this title - either way they are all 'quite fit'! Here two versions of the test. A version of this test is called The World Fitness Championship - see the comparison below. It makes me tired just reading the lists.

Guinness World Record Physical Fitness Challenge (as defined by Paddy Doyle) The World Fitness Championship (as defined by Rob Powell)
  • 12 mile run
  • 12 mile walk (25 lb back pack)
  • 1,250 push ups
  • 1,250 star jumps
  • 3,250 sit ups
  • 1,250 hip flexors (10 lb weight)
  • 110 mile cycle
  • 20 mile rowing
  • 20 mile cross trainer
  • Weights 300,000 lb {various lifts}
  • 2 mile swim
  • 2 Mile Swim
  • 10 Mile Run
  • 10 Mile Hike
  • 500 Pop-Ups
  • 500 Hanging Leg Lifts
  • 100 Mile Cycle
  • 20 Mile Row
  • 20 Mile Elliptical
  • 3,000 Crunches
  • Lift 300,000 Pounds of Weight (Upper Body Only)

Some Fitness Champions

These are some of the worthy holders of the fittest human for completing the above Fitness Challenge in the shortest time. There may be others that can claim this title too.

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