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Strength and endurance are among the most impressive traits in all of sport, and there are some sports out there with incredibly strong and powerful athletes. This doesn’t just meant the biggest or the most muscular, because there are a lot of factors that can determine strength. Here is a list ranking the sports with the strongest athletes in the world:

Water skiing

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Water skiing might not be viewed as a particularly common sport, and in a lot of ways it’s more like a hobby. But, water skiers will require great strength in order to be able to grip the tow rope safely, as well as maintaining their balance whilst being pulled though the water.

Tug of war

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Okay, so tug of war isn’t technically a sport, but it still requires an amazing amount of both upper and lower body strength, in order to pull the opposition team across the line. This is a team pursuit, but it still requires the individual competitors to be strong and powerful.


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Soccer is the most popular sport in the world, and with good reason. And soccer players are pretty strong, something which is essential for winning challenges, making saves, and shooting with power. Retired English soccer player Adebayo Akinfenwa has been classed as the strongest footballer ever, and received a strength rating of 98 on the FIFA videogame series.


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Sprint cyclists compete in one of the most physically intensive pursuits in all of sport. The physical toll of sprint cycling is huge, and riders need to have powerful leg muscles and amazing core strength, in order to generate the explosive bursts of speed necessary to be competitive.

Figure skating pairs

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Not only do figure skaters require great core strength in order to be able to maintain balance and control on the ice, they also need it for their partner. In order to be able to execute lifts and stunts with the right precision and grace is an essential part of being a figure skater, and this is why they require strength and power.


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Similarly to baseball, softball players need to have excellent upper body strength, and they have to be able to deliver pitches, hit balls, and field with power and accuracy, and this is important for helping them excel at their jobs. Softball players are among the fittest and strongest out there.


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Competitive divers require strong core muscles to help them with the precise movements and control required during dives. Divers need to have a lean and powerful physique in order to make sure they can accomplish the most precise and complex dives, and this is what makes them so strong.

Rock climbing

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Rock climbing is something that can be enjoyed both competitively and as a hobby. Rock climbers are so strong because they require powerful upper bodies, such as strong arms and shoulders. This is key for allowing them to grip better when they are trying to ascend challenging routes.


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Believe it or not, tennis actually requires great strength to be able to play. Traditionally serve-volleyers needed to have the most strength for a big serve, but the sport has evolved to the point where players need to be complete athletes. They need strong arms and shoulders for serving and shot making, and strong legs for movement around the court.


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Baseball is a sport that involves a lot of skill, but it’s also something that requires great strength too. Pitchers need strong arms to be able to deliver fast and accurate balls, and batsmen need to have strong arms and muscle mass to be able to hit balls as hard and as far as they possibly can.


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Squash is a pretty intensive sport, requiring a lot of stamina and strength for non-stop movement around a small court. Squash players need to be strong in order to help them accomplish more powerful shots, as well as giving them swift court coverage at the same time as well.


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Hurdling requires power, poise, and grace, and this is what makes hurdlers some of the strongest athletes around. They need powerful legs and the agility to be able spring into action, clear obstacles whilst sprinting, and ensure they keep their balance and maintain a competitive edge.


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When you look at NBA players, you think speed, agility, accuracy and poise. But you might not be aware of just how strong professional basketball players are. Driving to the basket, defending, and rebounding are all key elements of basketball, and all of them involve great strength.


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Taekwondo us one of the most popular martial arts, and a sport that has become hugely popular since its inception at the Olympics in 2000. In order to compete, practitioners of taekwondo need to have incredibly strong leg strength in order to conduct high kicks and make powerful strikes.


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Volleyball is another physically taxing sport, particularly beach volleyball. Players require strength throughout their bodies to allow them to excel at things like spiking, blocking, and serving. They also need to have power and precision with shot making, and this is what they need to be as strong as possible.

Ice hockey

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Canada’s national sport, ice hockey, has been a mainstay in North American elite sport for some time. Ice hockey players are among the strongest athletes around, because they need to be able to shot with power and precision, keep their balance on ice (at speed), and withstand body blows.

Long jump

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Long jump is an incredibly powerful sport, as it involves having to have great speed in the build-up, as well as powerful and strong leg muscles to be able to propel yourself forwards and get the farthest possible jump. Long jumpers need excellent muscle definition strength throughout their bodies.


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Sprinters like Usain Bolt are among the most iconic athletes in the world, and they need to possess amazing strength to help them propel themselves at great speeds. Incredible leg strength is essential, but strong arms and shoulders are also key for balance and poise.

Paddle sports

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Paddle sports require a lot of core strength and muscle density to be able to paddle fast across long distances. This means strong arms, shoulders and back muscles are required, as well as strong legs to give balance and support, and to take the weight of your body.

Highland Games

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The Highland Games is one of the sports in which you will find the strongest athletes, because of the nature of the kinds of events involved. Whether it’s hammer throwing, stone put, or caber tossing, these are all events that require you to have immense physical strength.


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Rowing is one of the more intense Olympic sports, and something that requires incredible amounts of upper body strength, as well as leg power. Rowers have to use their muscles to row as quickly and powerfully as possible in order to propel the boat through the water over long distances, and in competition with others.


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If you’ve ever tried CrossFit before you will be aware of how physically taxing it can be. CrossFit athletes need to have great strength in order to boost their overall fitness levels. To perform high-intensity strength and conditioning training requires you to be strong already, and will help you build excellent core strength too.


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Football players need strength to help them excel in particular positions and phases of play. Defensive players need to be strong and powerful to make tackles, and to try to sack the quarterback. Offensive linesmen are also engaged in physical battles too, so they need to have the strength to best their opponent.

Hammer throw

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Hammer throwing is one of the most impressive feats in all of sport, and it also requires competitors to be strong and powerful too. Strength is essential here for generating rotational speed and force, as well as to hurl the hammer the farthest possible distance.


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Discus throwers need to have strong upper body strength, such as in the arms and shoulders, in order to throw great distances. They need strong hands to grip the discus in the optimal way, and they require strong legs in order to get more power and distance on their throws.

Shot put

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In a similar ilk to hammer and discus, shot put requires competitors to have amazing strength and power in their upper bodies. You need to have incredible shoulder and arm strength in order to be able to launch the shot put as far as you can, and those things are not exactly light.


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Rugby players are known for their great strength, which is necessary for making tackles, scrumming, ploughing through defensive units, and keeping possession. Think football but without the padding; that’s how strong these guys need to be to excel in their sport!


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Of all the martial arts, judo, in many ways, requires you to be the most powerful. The reason for this is that judokas need to be strong enough to carry out throws and holds and grapple with their opponents in a controlled and tactical way to emerge victorious. Upper body strength and leg power are essential for achieving success in judo.


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Swimmers like Michael Phelps rank among the pantheon of greatest ever athletes, and with good reason. Swimmers require strong legs and upper bodies to provide them with the speed and endurance they need in the water. Swimming is a gruelling sport that works muscles you may not even realise you have.

Water polo

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Water polo is a sport that requires a lot of strength and power, because it involves competing in water. You’ll need to tussle for the ball, be able to swim and stay buoyant in water, which requires strong legs and arms, and you’ll need to be able to through accurately and possibly long distances, in water.


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A triathlon is one of the greatest feats of human endurance, and the strength of competitors is breathtaking. Triathletes need strong upper and lower body strength for swimming, cycling, and running, and being able to do it all against the clock. Strength is the key to endurance, which makes triathletes incredibly strong.


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Boxing is another sport that involves great strength. In many ways boxing is all about footwork, but it is also about how hard you can hit, and how hard you can get hit, and both of these things involve needing to be strong and powerful. Boxers are among the most powerful athletes on the planet, and they need to be to avoid serious injury.

Sumo wrestling

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Sumo wrestling is one of the greatest disciplines in the world, and requires remarkable strength. Competitors need to have incredible core strength, as well as fantastic lower body strength, in order to be able to push their opponents out of the ring, and compete on a regular basis.


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Mixed martial arts has grown in popularity in recent times, and boasts some of the strongest athletes in sport. MMA fighters need a combination is amazing physical strength and excellent technique to allow them to carry out a range of strikes and defences, and for grappling as well.


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Wrestling is about raw strength, power, and ability, and whether it’s freestyle or Greco-Roman wrestling, having significant strength to control opponents, perform takedowns, and maintain positioning, whilst managing time and intensity is essential. Strength is one of the most powerful weapons a wrestler can have.


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Bodybuilders are strong because this is a necessary requirement of their roles. Being a successful bodybuilder is all about sculpting a toned and muscular body, and this is something that is achieved through rigorous strength and endurance training, not to mention exercises to help build muscle too.


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Pound for pound, it is believed that gymnastics are the strongest athletes, and you can understand why. Gymnasts need to have the core strength to work on their poise and precision, as well as to catapult their bodies through the air, and to be able to undertake a range of different disciplines successfully.

World’s Strongest Man

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The clue is pretty much in the name with this one! These guys are absolute beasts, and to compete in the World’s Strongest Man requires showcasing immense strength across your entire body. Competitors have to undergo gruelling events that tend to involve, pushing, moving, lifting, or carrying incredibly heavy objects.


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Powerlifting involves demonstrating strength through three primary lifts, including bench pressing, deadlifts, and squats. In order to power lift, you need to be incredibly strong, with fearsome upper body strength to hold and lift heavy weights, as well as the leg power to maintain balance and ground your power.


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Weightlifting is arguably the sport that requires the strongest competitors, and the vast majority of weightlifters are absolutely enormous. Known for their incredible strength, these men and women have to lift some of the most staggering weights relative to their size, and this requires developed muscles and a strong core.