I’ve read statistics that Motocross is the #1 most physically demanding sport in the world, with which I agree. Some have said that soccer is most physically demanding. I suppose that everything polled is based on opinion of each individual, and their prior experience with a particular sport.

I can say that, for me, I believe it is. I’ve played several different sports for several years each, and Motocross was definitely the most thrilling, exhilarating, and the toughest on the body.

I’ve played baseball, football, soccer, golf, wrestling, track running, trail running, rock climbing, weight lifting, water skiing, Jet Skiing, snow skiing, snowboarding, and mountain biking. Each of these sports present their own challenges on the mind, the spirit, and the body. But in competitions where there is no break, no rest period, no bench seats, and “it ain’t over til it’s over,” those are the most physically demanding.

Most people think “oh you just sit and twist the throttle”, lol no. In motocross you use up to 60% of all your muscles, everything from your wrist to your shoulders to your ankles. Studies have shown that a full motocross race, which is about 25-30 minutes is close to sprinting as hard and as fast as you can for 25 minutes. Now this could just be me, but that is some damn good endurance if you can do that and place even top 10 in a race.

Motocross most physically demanding sport
In Motocross, a rider will enter a race that consists of 2 or 3 “motos,” or qualifier races. Each moto runs between 20 minutes and 45 minutes, depending on the event / location / or track. What sets this sport apart from most all others is, the bike is heavy, the track surface is gnarly, you are constantly pulling in the clutch lever, brake lever, changing gears, twisting the throttle, bouncing around, jumping through the air, pulling the bike sideways through turns, and this uses EVERY muscle in your body – including your brain – PERIOD.

All this is happening for 20 – 45 straight minutes – NONSTOP. No rest break. No bench time. No pit stops. If you’ve never done anything like it, then just imagine it. Your lungs get winded, your head starts pounding, your forearm muscles start hurting, then cramping (from vibration and pulling in the clutch 100’s of times per race), your biceps, tricpes, lats, chest, quadraceps, shins, and calves continually BURN for half an hour or more… Then try holding on to a 225 pound dirt bike and manipulating its every move. That’s tough, no matter WHO you are.

In order to really excel in the competition, you have to TRAIN your butt off, to prepare your mind and body and get in the greatest shape ever by working out – DAILY. Weight lifting, swimming, bicycling, running, and manual exercise (push-ups, pull-ups, lunges, etc…). And the workout, in itself, consists of 7 to 10 other sports – combined!

I’d say that the guys and girls who are the most successful in the sport are the ones who train the hardest and have the most natural talent. Prodigies, if you will. They are the competitors who have figured out how to exert the least amount of energy for the longest amount of time, and find the areas of the track to move the fastest through, over their competition. This requires amazing depth perception, lightening-fast reflexes to react to split-second changes and movements, and mental integrity that is unmatched.

Motocross riders are proven to operate at a high cardiovascular intensity
You could never fully understand these dynamics unless you have experienced them for yourself, so here’s a study.

This study measured the heart rates of motocross racers while they completed both of the motos (each 30 minutes + 2 laps). The results found that for both the motos, the racers were operating at 94% and 96% (respectively) of their maximum heart rate. This shows that there is an incredible cardiovascular demand for motocross. This beats out other similar duration high-demand sports such as mountain biking.

Imagine being near your maximum heart rate for nearly 40 minutes! I can’t think of a single other sport that requires non-stop action for 40 minutes where you are expected to perform at 100% for every one of those seconds.

So what do you think? Is motocross the most physically demanding sport? Or do you want to make a case for another sport? Share your experiences!