Top 10 Most Demanding Sports

The Top Ten
1 Motocross

As a privateer professional rider, I can tell you this is the most physically and mentally demanding sport there is. These pro races are 30 minutes long, with your heart rate ranging from a low of 165 to a maximum of 200 or maybe even more, depending on the rider. To be able to sustain that maximum heart rate, you must dedicate everything to your training, both on and off the track.

From diet to riding to training, everything must be at 100 percent, and these riders put their life on the line every single time they swing a leg over the bike. There are no timeouts, no breaks, nothing - just racing.

2 Swimming Swimming is an individual or team sport and activity. Competitive swimming is one of the most popular Olympic sports, with events in freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke, and butterfly.

Swimming is most definitely the most demanding sport. I have been swimming for just over a year, and have worked extremely hard, and am now at the level of swimmers who have been at it for years. Compared to other swimmers, our practices are relatively easy, and yet, they are not easy! Swimming uses every single muscle simultaneously.

Every set, you move your arms like lightning, and every race, your legs feel like they are going to snap off. In a set, even if you are the fastest on the team, you swim a 200 sprint with limited breaths. Guess what? Once you finish, you get five seconds rest and have to do it again, faster this time, than the absolute fastest you can go.

Swimming is not just going back and forth, just like track is not just running around in circles. Swimming is the most physically taxing sport around because if you feel like you are about to die, go beat your best time in a 100 free. And if you miss the best by one hundredth of a second, you break down in tears because you have worked so hard just to shave off .01 seconds.

Many, if not most, swimmers break down in tears multiple times. And I am still at a relatively low level. Swimming is the most demanding sport for sure.

3 Boxing Boxing is a martial art and combat sport in which two people wearing protective gloves throw punches at each other for a predetermined set of time in a boxing ring..

I have watched boxing for years and not until I stepped into the ring did I understand how tough it was. It is both physically demanding and mentally draining on two levels. Mentally, you have to strategize like a chess player planning five moves ahead, but with your whole body. And mentally, on another level, you have to be psyched up for taking a punch or two or three or more. Total exhaustion in 30 minutes.

I'm a boxer, and I'll tell you right now it's not just a few punches then you move on. You need serious time and effort to get in the right shape, and you need to be motivated and dedicated. Once you get used to the training, you just go ahead and make it harder or switch some things, and if you're doing it right, you shouldn't get used to it in the first place. Boxing is not your grandma's sport.

4 Gymnastics Gymnastics is a sport involving the performance of exercises requiring strength, flexibility, balance and control.

People don't realize how demanding this sport really is. You work for 30+ hours each week, and never have an "off season". Most people can't walk in a straight line, or even do a single push up. Gymnasts do standing flips on 4-inch wide beams, and flip higher than you can even imagine.

You see basketball players sitting out with ice packs all over because they sprained an ankle. When gymnasts get hurt, they put some tape on, and go right on flipping. Also, I don't know if it's just where I'm from, but every time we did any type of physical activity, the gymnasts come off on top. Above the football players, above the soccer players, and above the basketball players.

Gymnastics is certainly more demanding, mentally and physically, than any sports most people would think of.

5 Ice Hockey Ice hockey is a contact team sport played on ice, usually in a rink, in which two teams of skaters use their sticks to shoot a vulcanized rubber puck into their opponent's net to score points.

Hockey is the hardest team sport played in the world. Not only do you have the speed of the game and the blades on your feet, but you also have 6'5, 250 lb men that can come at you with incredible speeds. While all this is going on, you have to focus on keeping a little rubber puck under control.

If you're a goalie, you have to deal with 90+ mph shots, some reaching nearly 110 mph, as well as sometimes having your vision blocked by opponents. Not to mention all the times someone has caught a skate blade in the neck and nearly bled out.

6 Figure Skating Figure skating is a sport in which individuals, duos, or groups perform on figure skates on ice. It was the first winter sport included in the Olympics, in 1908. The four Olympic disciplines are men's singles, ladies' singles, pair skating, and ice dance.

The number of times a skater falls before mastering a jump and achieving consistency is too many to count. The average person can barely skate, let alone learn a double axel or a quad toe loop!

I am really sad right now. Why is skating 24th?

Figure skaters experience more g-forces than an F-18 pilot and hit the ground more often than a rodeo bull rider. They can do one-legged squats all day long, while marines can barely do 10.

7 Rugby Rugby league football, usually called rugby league, league, rugby or football , is a full contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field.

It is a beautiful combination of elegance and speed, and brutality and strength. Top-level athletes train like Olympic sprinters, lift like Olympic lifters, and are capable of taking the force equivalent of being hit by a small car multiple times in a match.

Rugby involves strength, endurance, speed, agility, knowledge, and so much more in order to be successful in the game. Not to mention the extreme amount of injuries and concussions many players end up playing through.

Soccer is not demanding at all! Soccer is full of all these tryhards that think they are so good. Rugby is way better because it's more entertaining, physical, and more unpredictable. In soccer, all you do is pass the ball back and forth for 90 minutes.

8 Water Polo

I want everyone to go look at what's in the two spot: Swimming. I'm a year-round swimmer and water polo player. I used to be terrible at swimming. I played water polo, died the first few practices, then got better. You know why? Because water polo is a lot harder and you need a lot more endurance.

Do you have to keep your head up in swimming? No. Is someone constantly scratching, kicking, trying to exploit your weaknesses in swimming? I think not. And while all that is happening, are you trying to score goals? No.

Honestly, I don't know much about the field because I'm a goalie, so for all the goalies, are you throwing yourself in front of a ball going at least 18 miles per hour (or 60 if you're against that one guy from Croatia)? No. So don't start saying swimming is harder, it's not.

9 Soccer Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a sport played between two teams of eleven players each. It is played with a spherical ball. The objective is to score the ball in the other teams goal.

As a player for my school soccer team, I have had to pull through a lot of tough stuff. When a player receives the ball, they have 0.5 seconds to figure out their best passing option. This forces a ton of mental strain, not to mention the fact that one wrong move, and you could screw up the game.

Another reason this is, in my opinion, the most demanding sport is the fact that when a player has a breakaway, they must run as fast as they possibly can, covering an average of about 20 yards in 4 to 5 seconds on my team. During practices, coaches like to work on their players' core and upper body. This includes around 50 push-ups for us, 30 sit-ups, and 2-minute wall-sits after all training. This also plays a big factor in the reason that most teams have super tough try-outs and practices.

10 Wrestling Wrestling is a combat sport involving grappling type techniques such as clinch fighting, throws and takedowns, joint locks, pins and other grappling holds.

As a high school wrestler myself, I can tell you that wrestling is definitely the hardest sport you can get yourself into. I understand how Motocross can be very intense and cause a lot of adrenaline, and swimming requires a lot of conditioning and hard work on your body. However, I can tell you right now why I believe wrestling is so much harder and should be number one.

To start off with wrestling, there is the common saying that most young people say nowadays which would be that wrestling is gay. I won't deny it does get kind of weird at times in certain positions, but like my coach says, "Don't make it gay." But anyways, just to clear the air.

Wrestling is one of the sports where you have to manage your weight the most. I know wrestling isn't the only sport in which you have to manage your weight obviously, but this is the least of it, and to be honest, it's not that easy especially when you are trying to go down in weight or cut weight which can be so physically enduring. During the season, I was off weight by .4 pounds and my coach made me work so hard that I had lost almost 2 pounds in 20 minutes.

Now obviously, different people in wrestling may have different opinions on difficulty, but at the high school I go to, the exercise we are put through could be considered torture. They make us do sprints until we literally cry, and I can't even tell you how many times the coaches have worked us so hard we puked.

Then, people may say, "Oh well, the matches are only like 3 or 6 minutes so it's not that hard." Well guess what, it's a lot more complex than that. First of all, you are literally throwing around someone of your weight and that takes a lot of strength, which is why when you see wrestlers in the Olympics or just any wrestler in around the 130-150 pound weight class, they are pretty shredded. If you need an example of a really big guy in wrestling, look up Brock Lesnar.

If you still think that a wrestling match would be... more

The Contenders
11 Full Triathlon

To do this sport, one has to also do two of the others on the list and then run on top of that. The only power comes from you, the athlete. No motor on the bike. Longer races require sustaining high effort levels for hours on end. No 5, 10, or even 30-minute effort and done.

You must train like a swimmer and train for distance running - equally as hard as swimming - and bike on top of it. You must be an expert in 3 areas. Nothing, I mean nothing, compares to the fitness of a triathlon athlete! How many swimmers can run? Very few.

Having trained for many sports and then adapting to triathlon, this is by far the toughest. I raced Ironman 70.3 in 2014, Full Ironman Zurich in 2015, and now training for Ironman Maastricht in 2016 - it is so hard and so demanding. The time and commitment is insane. I now look back at when I trained for just a marathon, and it seems so easy compared to multi-discipline sports.

12 Skateboarding Skateboarding is an action sport which involves riding and performing tricks using a skateboard. Skateboarding can also be considered a recreational activity, an art form, a job, or a method of transportation.

You can never master skateboarding because the amount of skills, tricks, and spots are endless. There is so much more to it than standing, pushing, and jumping. People think skateboarding is simple. It's about timing, skill, balance, consistency, and skateboarding is so technical. You need a big set of courage to skate big gaps, take leaps, and face fears. Skateboarding should be ranked much higher than 25th.

There are so many technicalities, and you have to get everything perfect, or you're going to fall hard. You need balance, consistency, board control, and a lot of courage.

13 Skiing Skiing can be a means of transport, a recreational activity or a competitive winter sport in which the participant uses skis to glide on snow.

All big muscles are used to their maximum in skiing competitions, and I'm not just talking about downhill here.

Nordic skiing is the most physically and mentally demanding sport. There is literally nothing harder.

14 Rowing

Rowers cross their aerobic threshold within the first 20 strokes of the race. Then they have 200 more strokes to go. A typical top-level crew will train 600-800 hours a year for a 6-minute race. At the end of a race, if you can get out of the boat then you didn't race hard enough.

People think rowing is poetic, but they're wrong. Rowing is not poetic. Inside the boat, each rower is pushing him or herself to the point of passing out and poetic movements are the last thing on their minds. The only thing each rower wants is to put their opponent in so much pain that they give up and quit. That is how a rowing race is won - enduring more pain than your opponent and not giving up. This endurance of pain is what makes rowing the most demanding sport.

15 Cross Country

In my mind, cross country is one of the hardest sports around, not football, not soccer, not basketball. None of those add up to cross country. It's not only a physical state but a mental state too. I'm just starting my freshman year and I've run in junior varsity but a 5k.

I really realized that point in your life when you've been running for 2 miles in a meet and you're coming up on the finish and you realize you don't feel anything, nothing at all. At that point, the last 100 yards to go, you dig down deep and push as hard as you can. That moment, nothing matters but finishing, you can hear the screams of the crowds.

Peace, that's peace. It's like you're gliding over the course, peace. That's the best part of running and few people know how it feels but when you do know how it feels, you know. No matter how much the football players talk trash, you know they have no clue what hard is until they run with you.

16 Weightlifting
17 Dance

Dance isn't just ballet. It incorporates elements of fencing, cheerleading, and tumbling. Dance commonly utilizes lifts, stunts, tumbling passes, and acrobatic tricks. In ballet alone, you can always improve. The ideal turnout is 180 degrees or more, with flexed and pointed feet that can touch the ground. You must use every muscle while making it look effortless.

You can always leap higher, turn longer, balance longer, get your leg up higher, hold your core, and move faster. These are some of the main aspects you try to obtain in ballet along with performing and telling a story. To maintain skills, I, as an unprofessional competitive dancer, only dance about 17 to 20 hours a week while other competitors practice 25 hours a week. I even dance for over six hours straight some days, with brief drink and food breaks lasting about a minute or two.

Many dancers, even when they know it might not be the right thing, have to dance through pain, broken feet and ankles, sprained wrists and ankles, pulled muscles, soreness, and illness. This is because even missing a few days of your routine will set you back in your hard work and artistry. When dancing, you must always have the proper expression or emotion you are trying to convey in order to give a great performance. No matter what you are feeling, you have to fit the dynamics of the dance much like an actor on a set.

18 Cycling

Cycling is not a finish-and-get-a-medal sport. You only glory with a podium. It's not an entry-level sport like triathlons. Even the beginner class or category 5 is legitimate and you have to be very fit just to not get dropped at that level. The advancement system beyond category 5 ensures that each class only has guys that had success in the previous group so the difficulty at each step up increases dramatically.

It's not like a triathlete that is going for a personal best and tends to be weak except for the elite level guys. Cycling is full of strategy and structure and requires in-depth training even to be a beginner.

19 Wakeboarding
20 Climbing

Rock climbing is a very vigorous and physically demanding sport. You must have tremendous strength, particularly in the back, shoulders, hips, and arms. Of course, some climbers may not realize that being mentally prepared is just as important.

For instance, you must have full body awareness, such as knowing where your feet and hands are before you make your next move. Also, you must be able to focus on recurring challenges while trying to maintain your balance and get into the perfect position for your next move. And all this for up to 8-10 hours a day when on tour.

21 Tennis Tennis is a racket sport that can be played individually against a single opponent or between two teams of two players each.

Tennis is the most demanding sport. I am only 14 and take all AP classes. While doing this, I train up to 40 hours a week including mental and physical training. The gym and running are a must, and my diet is completely revolved around tennis.

Every weekend, I am shoved into a sectional or national tournament with 5AM warm-ups and up to 5 matches a day. I have been doing this for 10 years and am still only at the level to play college. Tennis requires movement, endurance, coordination, and extreme strategic skill.

Tennis may not be the most demanding sport, but it certainly deserves to be in the top 5 on this list. Let's look at the physical, psychological, technical, and strategic demands.

Physical: Tennis combines anaerobic and aerobic exercise to an extremely difficult level. In any match where opponents are at a similar skill level (singles players being at least low intermediate or doubles players being high intermediate), pacing yourself during and between points is crucial. Two-hour matches are not uncommon in these situations, and in the pros, this can often extend to four or five hours. But despite the crucial need for endurance, tennis requires fast sprints and constant direction changes in almost every point. It's one thing to be able to run for an hour or two. It's another to be sprinting half the time. And if you think that the breaks between points allow you to 'recover', think again. Sprints are anaerobic, which means breathing is limited. Recovery from this takes time, and tennis players simply don't have that time. You're gasping for breath and, boom, here comes another serve.

Psychological: I wonder how many sports have as many embarrassing mental breakdowns as tennis. Tennis is extremely technical, and if one in fifty elements in a stroke is off, be it the bend in your knees or the pressure in your foot, things go wrong. But it's often difficult to tell just what is wrong because there are so many factors. You watch, clueless, as your game falls apart. What's more, no matter what pressure you're under, you feel unbelievable pressure. If you're down, you have to find a way back in a game that seems lost. But if you're up, you know that lead can disappear with ease. You have to maintain focus as your opponent messes with their emotions and skills, trying to find a way to get back in it. For some, singles have extra psychological stress as you have no support, while for others, doubles can have crippling pressure for fear of weighing your... more

22 Snocross

This category should be with motocross. It takes a lot of endurance and strength to hold on to those machines at top speeds, hitting jumps and half the time you can't see where you are going with snow blinding the riders.

Snocross should certainly be in the same category as motocross, ranked number one. Athletes train the same, and during racing, the stamina and physical demand are the same, if not more.

I agree, Snocross is just as demanding as Motocross and should be included with Motocross as the most demanding sport.

23 Lacrosse Lacrosse is a contact team sport played between two teams using a small rubber ball and a long-handled stick called a crosse or lacrosse stick.

Try being a midfield player in lacrosse and run about 20 fast breaks in total. You'll realize that when cradling a ball and carrying a helmet and pads with you, things are going to get really tiring. It fully works your upper body, and at the same time, you need to run like a horse. It should easily make the top 10 in this list, beating basketball and soccer by far.

Midfielders run all game long while carrying up to 7 pounds of equipment. They have to control the ball, dodge, shoot, all while being hacked at by metal poles.

24 Football American football is a sport played by two teams of eleven players on a rectangular field with goalposts at each end.

I would love for some of you to play football. It's a lot harder than people think. It hurts. It's tough. It's hard. It's demanding. You have to lift to help you. You have to know all the plays. If you're a lineman, you have to know all the plays and like 4 different positions and ways for each play. Running backs, wide receivers, and quarterbacks get hit all the time. Just because they have pads on doesn't mean it doesn't hurt.

This is an extremely demanding sport because of the mental and physical toughness required to play it. As a player, I can tell you this. A) It's extremely hot. Under all of the pads, especially upper body, and on a hot day, the oxygen you intake seems to turn to pure heat. B) It's rough. Football is not a sport for the weak and faint-hearted. C) It's exhausting. Though there is a break in between plays, when the ball is actually in play, it is physically and mentally agonizing.

25 Endurocross

I have raced snocross, which was the toughest thing I have ever done... until I tried endurocross. Ten laps of snocross racing was easier than four laps on an endurocross track.

How is this not number one when the races are so long? It's hard to think of anything more demanding in one continuous period.

It's the same as motocross, but the races last a lot longer, between three hours and sometimes up to over six hours.

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