The World's Fittest Sports - What You Think
There are individual athletes from a large range of sports which would be considered extremely fit, whichever way you define fitness (see info about the world's greatest athlete). However, here we are interested in the SPORT which requires the greatest demands of fitness. As fitness is not defined by just one component like endurance, speed or strength, the world's fittest sport would be one that requires the highest level overall on a wide range of factors.
We have come up with a list of factors of success in sports, and ranked just the fitness components of these for a range of sports to create our list of the World's Fittest Sports. In a similar process used by ESPN (Most Demanding Sports), by rating each of these factors in a whole range of sports, the profile of each sport can be compared to determine the sport ranked highest in terms of these fitness and sport psychology factors. See also my ranking of fittest sports using the same method as below. These sports rating figures are also being used to compare sports 'head to head', with interesting results so far.
Water Polo is your Fittest Sport
The following ranking is based on your ratings of just the main trainable fitness components (aerobic, strength/power, speed, flexibility and agility) of the factors of success, with a weighting giving more leverage for aerobic power, then strength and speed, with the least effect of agility and flexibility.
Water polo was considered the most overall physically demanding sport based on your ratings.
This table was created December 2019 - the ratings are still being made so the rankings are expected to change over time. You can add your rating too. There are over 50 sports being rated, however there may be other sports that could score as well as these if they were included.
|Ranking||Sport||Overall Fitness Rating (%)|
|14||Swimming (200m Free)||76.4|
|26||Football / Soccer||73.2|
Sports Ranking for each Fitness Component
The table above is based on the average ranking for all of the trainable fitness components: aerobic, strength/power, speed, flexibility and agility. We have also ranked the sports for each of these components to see what is thought to be the sport requiring the highest level of strength, speed etc. See the complete lists of factors of success sports rankings.
- POLL: What do you think is the world's fittest sport?
- A discussion about what is the Fittest Sport?
- See the ESPN Most Demanding Sports List.
- The complete lists of factors of success sports rankings.
- Some of the World's Greatest Athletes
- Who is the Greatest Athlete of All Time?
- Sports Head to Head Comparisons
- Fitness Testing for Sports
Commenting is closed on this page, though you can read some previous comments below which may answer some of your questions.
- Lisa (2014)
Hello; swimming? Have you any idea of the training schedule and fitness level of competitive swimmers? Ask Michael Phelps!
- Cody Lewis (2020)
I would drop American Football down the list drastically. Other than running backs, wide receivers, cornerbacks, free safeties, some line backers and the odd QB, they really aren't known for being in shape. Recent studies have shown up to 97% of NFL players are overweight while 56% of players qualify as obese.
- Gaelic football (Irish football) amateur sport but fitness of professional ... has to be in there along with Australian football ... soccer or rugby union do not have the same amount of fitness. (from Jamie, Jan 2013)
- Australian Rules Football really does wipe the floor with every other sport in the world. Number one easily. (from Ashley, Oct 2012)
- Jeet Kune Do is the most demanding sport in the world! (from Daniel, Oct 2012)
- In your list have you considered AFL Australian Football? (from Keith Davis, April 2011)