Which sport creates the fittest athletes? It’s a regular subject of discussion in the MF office and probably yours – or your gym changing rooms or local pub. In short, it’s something we all wonder about.
But unless you could get a load of top-level athletes in a room and have them compete against each other in a battery of tests that target different elements of their fitness, how could you ever really know?
MF did exactly that. With the help of sports nutrition brand Multipower, we lined up athletes from a wide variety of sports – a gymnast, an MMA fighter, a rugby player, a freerunner and an Olympic lifter – and took them to the well-equipped gym at Leeds Rhinos rugby league club to test out the different areas of their fitness.
Price of victory
We also enlisted leading strength and conditioning coach and performance nutritionist Drew Price to come up with a set of tests that would give a good picture of each athlete’s all-round fitness. ‘Fitness divides into different components, and it was a case of choosing movements and tasks that would test these well but wouldn’t favour or disadvantage particular athletes too much,’ says Price. ‘I also had to take into account the different builds of the athletes, making everything relative to their height and weight.’
Price decided on eight tests: a vertical jump to test explosive power; a max weight squat to test leg strength; max rep pull-ups to determine upper-body pulling strength; a hexagon agility drill, where you jump clockwise in and out of a hexagon shape on the floor; standing on one leg on a wobble board to test balance – a challenge known as the stork; a standing box reach, where you stand on a box with a ruler attached and see how far you can reach down, to test flexibility; an interval row to target cardio; and, finally throwing darts at a target to test hand-eye co-ordination. A carefully calculated methodology decided how many points were awarded to each athlete.
Master of all
But there’s more to this than simply finding out who’s the fittest sportsman. Anyone can use these tests to become a more well-rounded athlete. And we should all try to do just that, because being a bit better at everything means you’ll be able to take on more exciting physical challenges.
So what’s Price prediction? ‘MMA is a sport that relies on a lot of different components – strength, power, endurance, flexibility and agility are all important, says Price. ‘Others, such as rugby and gymnastics, also need broad fitness but they lean towards certain areas. My money’s on the fighter.’
Do you agree with Price? Or do you think there’s a dark horse in the pack? Read on to find out how each of the competitors got on.
Thanks to Multipower
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