The world is full of brilliant sports that are just as fun to play as they are to watch. Clearly, all sportspeople are fantastic athletes. They’re way above the average human in terms of cardiovascular endurance of muscle strength. But, what are the best three sports for keeping fit and building muscle?
After surveying the possibilities, these three sports stood out:
Tennis is the ultimate high-intensity interval training sport. It involves periods of constant movement at 110%, followed by very short bouts of rest. Watching the Wimbledon Final recently, and these two players were on the court for 4 hours. That’s longer than most sports by a long shot – and they were moving for the majority of this.
What’s more, tennis involves full body movements so it works all your muscles and helps you build a strong core, strong legs and a strong upper body. This also means it’s very taxing. While this is great for your cardiovascular health, it means you need to pay attention to post-session recovery! Eat a hearty meal, stretch, run an ice bath or do anything to avoid excessive muscle soreness.
MMA – or mixed martial arts – is a combat sport that’s very full-on. You don’t have to get in the ring for it to provide an effective workout either. There are loads of places where you can practice MMA using punch bags, dummies, or with other people. One of the best martial arts to do for general fitness and muscular strength is Brazilian jujitsu. It’s worth finding a BJJ gym where you can be put through your paces – you’ll feel the intensity within minutes.
This particular martial art – and MMA in general – builds strength as you’re always gripping things or tensing your muscles to receive impacts. There are lots of isometric holds that really burn your muscles and give them one hell of a workout. At the same time, the cardio benefits are obvious as you’re always moving around and need to fight hard when sparring.
Boxing is another combat sport that’s fantastic at building muscle and burning calories. In fact, this is probably the best of all three sports as it’s one you can do all by yourself. Get a punching bag, some boxing gloves and a skipping rope and you’re ready for a boxing workout.
Punching a bag over and over again will develop your shoulder and arm muscles incredibly well. At the same time, the stance you take and the way you punch should work both your core and leg muscles. It’s a much more full-body sport than people realise! Skipping has always been a big part of boxing workouts, and it is one of the most effective ways to burn calories in a short space of time. The great thing is, most gyms these days will have areas with boxing bags and skipping ropes, so you can try this workout next time you go.
We could’ve included a vast range of sports on this list – like Basketball, American Football or Rugby – but we settled on these three as they seemed the most intense and are all easier to perform alone or with one other person. You can even get a great workout in by hitting a tennis ball against a wall! If you’re looking to mix up your workouts, maybe it’s time to give one of these sports a try.