Top 10 Toughest Sports in the World

We know that no sports are accessible. But, even among them, there are exceptional ones that stand out. So, today we will be looking into some of the most challenging sports globally. 

As tough as these sports are, they also receive much attention and viewers. After all, people only flock towards complicated and exciting sports, don’t they? Similarly, these sports require a lot of physical and mental training on the athletes who perform them.

Olympic Freestyle Wrestling, Rio 2016. (Source: Wikimedia) 

We all have participated in either of the sports mentioned in the list, so we might have a clue or two on how straining these sports could be. 

Top 10 Toughest Sports in the World 2022

Here’s a quick look at today’s ranking. 

RankName of the sportType
10Cross-country RunningLand sport
9Freestyle WrestlingCombat sport
8Figure SkatingIce sport
7Horseback RidingLand sport
5Bull RidingRodeo sport
4Water PoloWater sport
3SwimmingWater sport
2GymnasticsAcrobatic sport
1BoxingCombat sport

10. Cross-country Running

If you’re searching for a sport that would best test your mental strength and endurance, then Cross-country running is the sport you might consider looking at.

Without a doubt, this sport will test your every ounce of physical and mental ability. 

Cross-country USA. (Source: Wikipedia)

Talking about its challenges, this sport challenges you mentally and physically endure through long, daunting miles in the day’s scorching sun.

Plus, this isn’t the only difficulty runners face; they also face different health issues like muscle tear, ligament damage, blurry vision, fatigue, muscle cramps, and physical injury.

When it comes to Cross-country running, health issues aren’t the only difficulties runners face. As in this sport, weather plays a big part in determining the difficulty.

Not to mention, races are scheduled on random days regardless of the weather condition. 

Sometimes runners are seen running on extremely sunny days, whereas sometimes, they are seen running in wet and muddy fields.

So, without a doubt, Cross-country running is one of the toughest sports in the world. 

9. Freestyle Wrestling

If you imagine Freestyle wrestling with WWE wrestling, let us correct you.

Freestyle wrestling is a form of combat sport where two opponents go against each other to pin each other down on an octagonal mat inside a circle. 

2018 Summer Youth Olympics

Moreover, freestyle wrestling is a physically demanding sport that requires immense strength and techniques.

To clarify, this form of wrestling brings together traditional wrestling, judo, and sambo techniques.

Besides, we can also see it being contested in the Olympic Games. 

Likewise, Freestyle wrestling can also be practiced in American high schools as a sport. 

However, as expected from all forms of physical sport, wrestling also has a high chance of internal and physical injury.

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8. Figure Skating

Figure Skating is surely one of the most beautiful forms of sport.

A form of sport that is widely loved and admired by many. However, as beautiful and elegant it is, it is equally difficult to perform and master. 

Ekaterina Gordeeva and Sergei Grinkov
The Four-Time World Champion Figure Skating

Figure skating is a form of ice sport that can be done individually, in pairs, or groups.

Basically, the athletes are supposed to perform elegant and beautiful dances, acrobatics, and skating to please the crowds and the judges. 

Not to forget, all this happens on top of the ice. The figure skater has to find their balance on top of this slippery solid surface on a four-millimeter thick blade performing all the moves and maneuvers. 

Without a doubt, figure skating is a challenging and injury-prone sport. Similarly, this sport is also highly competitive.

This sport is more complex and mentally challenging with highly talented competitors and rivals. 

So, the athlete must take utmost care and take every step with reflexive sense to perfectly coordinate their balance and movements.

Here, a mistake isn’t an option because one simple mistake would result in a brutal fall and injury. 

7. Horseback Riding

Our 7th ranking toughest sport in the world is horseback riding. Originally named Equestrianism, horseback riding is a sport that consists of riding discipline, partnership, trust, and hard work. 

Moreover, just as the name suggests, this sport includes horses for practice, display, and competition.

Horseback riding. (Source: Stockvault)

In other words, it is a team sport, but unlike other sports where you team up with humans, here you’re teaming up with a horse. As a result, this sport tests your patience, dedication, and trust with your horse. 

No wonder this sport is considered one of the most challenging sports globally.

On the contrary, this sport also includes steeplechasing with horses. The jockey needs to build trust, discipline, and a sense of coordination with their horse. Doing this one could perform well in events and competitions. 

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6. Motocross

Initially developed from moto trials, Motocross sport is a motorcycle racing held on enclosed off-road circuits.

Not to mention, it is a very physically demanding and competitive sport.

Racing Sport Motorsport Motocross Motorcycle Bike. (Source: Max Pixel)

Here, riders need to face off against each other in off-road circuits with lots of pathway twists, turns, and elevations.

The soil is sometimes sandy and sometimes muddy, making it equally difficult for riders to maneuver in such terrain. 

As a result, it takes a lot of experience, mental focus, and physical ability to finish the round. 

However, some riders use PED for better performance during the match. But, using PED is strictly illegal and can result in severe consequences.

But, even with all the difficulties and obstacles, it is undoubtedly among the most fun to watch. 

Also, if this sport weren’t to be hard, it wouldn’t have ended up in the toughest sports in the world listing. 

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5. Bull Riding

As fun as it is to watch, Bull riding is an equally dangerous and tough sport with many risks.

It takes a lot of courage and will to participate in this sport. No wonder Bull riding is considered one of the toughest sports globally.

Bull riding. (Source: Wikimedia)

Not to mention, you would have to mount a 2000 pound bucking bull and attempt to stay mounted while the animal tries to throw you off.

It is a hazardous sport, with accidents and injuries unavoidable. 

There is a reason why this sport is called “the most dangerous eight seconds in sports.”

Given this, Bull riding is not for faint-hearted ones. Just imagine trying to keep your balance on top of a wild beast.

Not to mention, the beast is many times larger and stronger than you. Also, your opponent is an animal, not a human. 

However, as risky as the sport, it attracts millions of viewers and attracts attention and viewers. So, despite its risk, it is one booming sport that is super popular worldwide. 

4. Water Polo

Ever imagined swimming for 28 minutes? Imagine playing a kind of hand version of football in a swimming pool for 28 minutes.

Yes, as tiring as the game itself is, it is considered among the toughest sports in the world. 

Water Polo. (Source: Wikimedia)

Talking about the sport, it is a competitive team water sport played between two teams with seven players on each team.

Each side attempts to score goals by throwing the ball inside the opponent’s goal post. 

Winners are decided on the number of goals each side scores. Moreover, the game is divided into four quarters, each quarter being 7 minutes long.

Between 7 minutes, there is a 2-minute interval. Hard, isn’t it? 

It is the one sport you don’t often see people playing because of how hard it is. Hence, making its way into today’s ranking. 

3. Swimming

Most of us already know how tough swimming can be, especially the competitive ones.

Else, it wouldn’t have been ranked 3rd in the toughest sports in the world ranking. 

Mack during his swimming tenure
Mack during his swimming tenure (Source: Instagram)

Moreover, this sport is played on an individual or group level. In this sport, one must use the entire body to move through the water in the fastest and the most efficient way possible. It is performed in pools or open waters. 

Similarly, it is trendy in the Olympics. It consists of different styles and category races like backstroke, freestyle, individual medley, butterfly, and breaststroke.

Without a doubt, it is a very tiring and tough sport, as swimmers are tested for their strength, endurance, and skills. 

Besides, swimmers are prone to injuries like muscle tearing, cramps, dislocation, and even drowning. 

2. Gymnastics

Ranked 2nd in today’s raking, Gymnastics was sure to make a list, with the complexity and difficulties it consists of.

Moreover, it is a form of acrobatic sport that consists of physical fitness and exercise, which requires flexibility, agility, strength, balance, coordination, endurance, and dedication. 

Gymnastics at 2018 Summer Youth Olympics. (Source: Wikimedia)

Not to mention, Gymnastics is very good for our health and physical well-being since it contributes to the growth and development of arms, legs, back, chest, shoulders, and muscles development. 

Besides, the ancient Greeks used to use Gymnastics for exercise. 

Also, Gymnastics is very popular in the Olympics and other renowned international competitions. 

Likewise, Gymnastics can be practiced for recreation or well-being. It is a beautiful sport that is equally beneficial for our health. 

1. Boxing

The toughest and one of the world’s riskiest sports, Boxing is number one on today’s list. 

To clarify, this sport consists of two opponents fighting against each other in a ring to knock out each other and gain points landing the most hits.

Boxing in the Olympics (Source:

When it comes to Boxing, landing hits isn’t the only thing in play. Dodging, footwork, strength, endurance, skills, style, courage, willpower, dedication, hard work, training, and agility are the factors that come into play. 

Unlike other sports, Boxing requires years’ worth of practice, dedication, experience, and hard work. It isn’t something built within days. One small mistake could end up losing the game. 

So, without a doubt, Boxing is the toughest sport globally. 


As tricky as these sports are, they are equally fun and exciting to watch and play. Else they wouldn’t be as famous as they are today. 

So from the toughest sports in the world mentioned above, which one was your personal favorite? Do let us know in the comment section down below. 

Also, for more future posts like this, follow up on our content. 

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