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Playing a sport gives an athlete pride. Not only in the competitive aspect of fighting for a championship, but in the sport that the athlete chooses. A soccer player likes to think that he might play the toughest sport, while an ice hockey player may politely cover his laugh when he hears the soccer player say that his sport is the toughest workout. Here are the five toughest sports that provide the toughest workouts.


Lacrosse. This ancient sport requires explosive strength, speed and quickness, endurance and durability. When you play lacrosse, you need the speed to break away from your defender, the ability to fend off blows with your opponent’s stick and the ability to concentrate on putting the lacrosse ball in the goal even when your strength and speed are dissipating due to fatigue. The ability to maintain your form and not drop your stick after a long game requires as much mental strength as it does physical strength.

Ice Hockey. Hockey places huge energy demands on its players. The athlete will have no chance of competing without explosive speed and quickness that allows him to make creative plays. However, a hockey player must also have endurance so he can make as many plays in the third period as he does in the first. A hockey player has many physical confrontations with opponents. Those high-speed collisions on the ice can be jarring and bone-rattling. However, after enduring a big hit, the hockey player must maintain concentration and finish the play. Durability is vital for any hockey player who wants to make a career out of playing the sport. It’s no wonder that shifts are so short in hockey!


Olympic-Style Wrestling. This is one of the most grueling and demanding sports any athlete can choose. Wrestlers must maximize strength, develop incredible quickness and learn how to make decisive moves after absorbing significant punishment from his opponent. A wrestler is out on the mat alone and must endure pain, fatigue and injury while continuing to compete. It requires significant physical energy to endure a wrestling match and maintain technique through the end of a match. Wrestlers also have to put defeat behind them quickly, because they may have to wrestle again hours after their previous match. They cannot linger on a past loss or the lack of concentration could result in another defeat.

Football. American football is a series of collisions on every snap of the ball. There is no avoiding physically demanding blocking and tackling on every play. Football players need maximum speed, endurance, explosive strength and a killer instinct to succeed. The multitude of hitting that takes place on an every-game basis has been compared to the force involved in car collisions. Plays last only three-to-five seconds, but there may be 90-to-120 plays in a given game.


Mixed Martial Arts. MMA requires as much strength, power, explosiveness and quickness as all the other sports but the endurance needed may be double or triple. In many mixed martial arts bouts, fighters go at each other for three or five rounds of five minutes. This requires maximum conditioning. There are no timeouts once a round begins and five minutes of brutal fighting can cause significant injury every time fighter steps inside the mixed martial arts cage. A fighter has to develop his own strategy and then come up with counters for his opponent’s moves. A misstep or failure to recognize what an opponent is doing can result in a loss, or worse, a devastating injury.