It’s an age-old source of debate among athletes, pundits and fans alike. But, after much research, the team at Pledge Sports are providing a definitive answer to a near-impossible question: “What is the fittest sport?

The Fittest Sport

It’s important to note, by “the fittest sport” we aren’t referring solely to an athlete’s level of general fitness, but rather their all-round ability, fitness and skill their sport requires.

For example, a marathon runner runs 26 miles per event, but a soccer player averages 7 miles per game – including sprints, constant change of direction, tactical awareness, physically battling opposition players, dribbling and kicking a ball. The comparison of skill set is an unfair contest.

In a five-part series of The Fittest Sport, Pledge Sports will take each individual sport and provide in-depth analysis into what makes particular athletes fitter than the rest.

So far we have analysed the fitness of professional soccer players, professional tennis players and professional boxers. This week we turn our attention to rugby. 


Fitness in rugby has increased drastically over the past fifty years. Gone are the days of lighter backs, and overweight front rows.

Nowadays, your typical elite rugby player will be lean, muscular and exceptionally fit, regardless of their position on the teamsheet.

According to a study by Health24, elite rugby players have increased in mass by over 10kg in the past half-century. This is a direct result of newer generations of rugby players all working towards the synchronisation of two main physical aspects – strength and power.

Beyond that, the game itself requires an extremely high level of talent and skill.

For 80 minutes each player must be mentally switched on and tactically aware, they must have perfect hand-eye coordination in order to give and receive passes at high speed, they must be intelligent and decisive in their movements, and they must endure opposing athletes of similar stature tackling and fighting for every ball over the course of the game.

Want to read more about what makes rugby "The Fittest Sport"? Read the full article here

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