Science Shows Gymnastics is the Most Difficult Sport in the World

Most Difficult Sports

And Gymnasts Are the Best Athletes!

Science finally has some facts to prove what we have all known for some time – Gymnastics is the most difficult sport on the planet for women (and men), both mentally and physically. And here are the scientific facts and statistics to prove it.

As impressive as these stats and facts are, they would be even more impressive for currently competing International Elite gymnasts or male gymnasts, doing even more difficult skills and routines and with more speed and power. Here are the factors that put gymnasts and gymnastics at the top of the sports hierarchy difficulty in:

  • Balance
  • Rotation
  • Spatial Awareness
  • Nine times Body Weight Strength
  • Proprioception and Kinesthetic Awareness
  • Skill and Routine Timing to Six Thousandths of a Second
  • Short Distance Sprint Speed of 16+ (20+ for men) Miles per Hour
  • Tumbling and Vault Heights of 13+ (16+ for men) Feet High
  • 900 Degrees of Rotation and 360 Degrees (1080 Degrees now being done) of Twisting in Less Than One Second

Most Difficult Sports

In additions to the above factors in the video, there are numerous other areas where gymnasts must exceed all other athletes:

  • Strength to Body Weight Ratio
  • Leg, Back and Shoulder Flexibility
  • Female Upper Body Strength
  • Explosive Power
  • Kinesthetic Air Sense and Awareness
  • Focus
  • Concentration
  • Pressure Competitions

With All the Comments, Had to Add a Men’s Video and Show Some Strength

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49 Responses to “Science Shows Gymnastics is the Most Difficult Sport in the World”

  1. Brandon LeBlanc November 4, 2013 at 8:31 am #

    “Science” changes its mind every month, this is just one of the MANY things that science tells us before changing its mind a few weeks later.

    The same company, ESPN, states otherwise in this article to find the hardest of sports, and in fact this time it says boxing is, with gymnastics only being 8th.


    • Gymnastics Zone November 6, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      Including different criteria will alter the results of any scientific study. If you include criteria that don’t apply to a particular sport, the results do indeed skew the results. There are basically two major types of sports – individual and direct competition sports. Direct competition sports have an opponent who actively tries to fight against and beat you. Boxing, soccer, football, etc, are sports where competitors compete directly against each other and athletes must adapt to the changing actions of their opponents. Individual sports like gymnastics, archery, target shooting require athletes to compete against themselves and there are no easy bouts where athletes compete against a weaker opponent.

      In the ESPN article you provided the link to, the criteria include 3-4 criteria that don’t apply to the sport of gymnastics. And a couple of others where gymnastics is underscored, like for example, speed. Hand speed is, no doubt, an extremely important characteristic of boxing and many boxers have extremely quick hand speed. But I challenge you to go demonstrate your, even if exceptional, hand speed against a speed or heavy bag and then try to quickly rotate your entire body fast enough to do a standing back somersault. On a beam! With a 1/2 twist. With a full twist! You will quickly understand the higher level of difficulty that full body speed requires (and similar to boxing, the amount of punishment your face takes if you don’t make the somersault).

      In the article you refer to, in addition to rating gymnastics on sport characteristic that don’t apply to gymnastics at all, like endurance, I would contest some of the other score ratings. Pound for pound (strength-to-body weight ratio), gymnast are some of the strongest athletes, if not the absolute strongest. Have any of your boxers or hockey, football, basketball or tennis players jump up on a set of bars or rings and we will quickly see how truly strong they are (or in fact, are not).

      So while we give all due respect to high level athletes in any sport, we will stand by our original evaluation that gymnastics is the most difficult and gymnasts are demonstrated in the above video to be the best athletes in the world. And the video actually underestimates gymnast exceptionalism by only studying college gymnastics and not International Elite gymnasts.

      • zak June 3, 2014 at 12:47 pm #

        gymnastics is hard but its definitely not the hardest sport in the world. I know it requires skill to do but its not the most hardest sport in the world and science has to research in all areas of the body to work out the physical and mental tests of a sport. Have you ever thought about lead climbing? That is hard when you’re on a wall or a rock and the weight of a rope is pulling down on you plus you have the rock to get up, and don’t forget about parkour where you create a shortcut route and there’s many more.

        • zaks mom January 8, 2015 at 2:10 pm #

          Ah, “Parkour”. Yes, I believe I’ve seen these “athletes” at many an Open Gym trying to learn gymnastics. Because parkour would not exist without gymnastics skills. Idiot.

        • kevin November 7, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

          Sorry, doesn’t touch gymnastics

        • Gracie November 24, 2015 at 8:21 am #

          Actually according to the first article: “Science Shows Gymnastics is the World’s Hardest sport mentally and physically and lead climbing is not a sport

          • Jill Pentkowski January 27, 2016 at 4:07 pm #

            thank you for saying that and gymnastics is the hardest sport

      • Gabby Douglas June 14, 2016 at 2:23 pm #

        Oh, shut up! climbing is just placing your hand somewhere and pulling yourself up over and over again. Get a life, you !@&#$% son of a #&!@$

        • Simone Biles June 14, 2016 at 2:43 pm #

          Gabby, that was rude. But she’s right. Gymnastics is the hardest, and science has just proven it. Lead climbing is not a sport, by the way, it’s a hobby. You’re overrating yourself which can lead to lots of bad things, like people telling you to do something you can’t. Thank you for all your research on gymnastics and for proving it as the hardest sport in the world. I find it amazing that you could and did-compare sports. It’s risky stuff and can and will give you a lot of haters. You have a lot of confidence in this which will lead to a bright future. I find that a great trait that few people have. But one thing that I find the most outstanding is that you compared these with a great amount of information to back it up. The facts are what people believe in and you gave them to us.

          Gymnastics is a great sport that everyone should try. If you are lucky, you are a born gymnast. But if not, you will need to work to it. Men are naturally strong, and girls are naturally flexible. We all need to work for our endurance, which I still fail to obtain. I remember as a kid I was always the best at fitness testing because I was in gymnastics. I always got double the amount of pull ups the highest boy got, and could sit-and-reach further than any of the girls.

          So I feel that these people got this correct. Thank you for having such confidence and for giving us so many facts. As for you haters, listen to gabby (no offense). But as Taylor says: Haters gotta Hate.

          Simone Biles 😀 😀

        • Gymnastics Zone July 5, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

          Is it illegal to impersonate a famous Elite? Probably not, but no need to be rude.

      • Itybigy999 November 17, 2016 at 7:53 am #

        I am a gymnast, and I completely agree with this article. I know what I do, and I know that the author is not making the stuff up. It is true. We do all of these things and more. I may not be an Olympian, but I know that the things we gymnasts do are among the most difficult in the world.

  2. uhnonotreally November 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm #

    This is silly. Its just saying that gymnasts are good at stuff they need to be good at; comparing one sport to another is stupid. In any sport you are competing against others, and that’s how you determine how good or athletic you are…its human spirit and natural talent against everyone elses human spirit and natural talent. Every elite athlete has pushed themselves to be excellent at their particular sport, but its a niche. It doesnt make any athlete better, or any sport more or less difficult, because its relative to who you are competing against. For example, put a gymnast in any other sport; they would be terrible because they didnt train for that sport. There is no need for a soccer player to be able to do the iron cross. I dunno…this article just rubbed me the wrong way. probably because the dude who posted it on FB where i saw it is a mediocre ex-gymnast who is pompous beyond comprehension due to the fact he was a gymnast. Not taking away from the sport, its amazing what they do, but saying its the most difficult is silly.

    • Gymnastics Zone November 6, 2013 at 8:24 pm #

      I certainly agree that comparing sports is a tricky business. And reaching the top of any sport is exceedingly difficult. Plus specialization has reached such high level now that you rarely find athletes who can be at the top of more than one sport any more (radically decreased numbers of 3 letter high school athletes, for example).

      But there is also no doubt that certain sports require a higher number of physical and mental requirements to reach the highest levels. Soccer is a lower body sport. Boxing is an upper body sport. Gymnastics requires full body strength, flexibility and coordination. There is no danger or fear of catastrophic injury in tennis or basketball. Gymnasts face that every day in practice and competition. So as the video concludes, when you count up all of the physical and mental characteristics an athlete needs and the relatively high level of each necessary to the sport, gymnastics still comes out on top (with the most physical and mental requirements)

    • Niyah November 20, 2013 at 5:40 pm #

      If you put a gymnast in the majority of sports excluding golf, with our pound for pound conditioning, we excel at most other sports. I know that other gymnasts do several other sports and we have been the best on those other teams. Guaranteed, gymnastics is the most difficult sport. Let other athletes throw their bodies like that, face those mental and physical challenges and do our strength. See if they survive. See if they can throw their body weight around like us. See how they leave because of the blood, sweat and tears gymnastics takes. I dare you and anyone else who says gymnastics isn’t the hardest sport to do all that we do and our training. I swear it would change your mind.

  3. Erin November 4, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I’m not saying gymnastics isn’t impressive but I think it’s hard to judge the “most difficult” sport. The stats and figures are definitely hard to hit but what about endurance athletes? That’s EXTREME mental strength. You try running 3.1 miles in under 16 minutes.

    • Gymnastics Zone November 6, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      No one is saying that other sports are not difficult and don’t have their own challenges. I love sports of all kinds. But endurance athletes, unlike gymnasts, are more of a one-trick pony. They only need to fight the pain and pressure of pushing their endurance levels and for example, endurance athletes rarely have exceptional speed (indeed endurance training tends to minimize speed improvement).. Gymnasts must excel in so many areas all at the same time – strength, flexibility, explosive power, overcoming psychological fears, facing the potential of catastrophic injury, speed, balance, air sense, etc.

      • Sadeyama November 8, 2013 at 12:46 am #

        I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m still not convinced that gymnastics is the hardest sport. Martial artists at the highest level have all those those traits you mentioned, but they have more strength, speed, endurance, tolerance, reaction speed, a greater chance of injury, dealing with the fear of facing an enemy that is planning to make sure you don’t leave in one piece, and just as much balance. (Then again, I don’t know if the true martial arts tournaments you can’t see on TV are still considered on sport)

        • Gymnastics Zone November 9, 2013 at 11:47 am #

          As we also pointed out, it is a very different thing to compare the requirements of a sport, in general, to the specific performances of only the Elite level. You appear to be comparing a small group of the athletes in a renegade offshoot (unregulated, unethical? very definitely not a sport) vs. traditional for-defense-only martial arts. I am great friends with the Wushu martial arts (the competitive sport version of martial arts) National Team head coach of the Netherlands, so I am very familiar with the level of those martial arts athletes at the World Class level.

          It is simply not demonstrably true to state that your envisioned martial artists have greater strength-to-body-weight ratios, faster speed or reaction times, better balance or greater risk of catastrophic injury, especially if you want to count male and female International Elite gymnasts.

        • Gymnast November 11, 2013 at 9:55 pm #

          I know I’m pushing this pretty far, but I might point out that gymnasts need all the qualities mentioned by you and by GymnasticsZone, but also, combined with that, gymnasts need grace and flexibility. We need to master routines and blend power and strength with dance and elegance. It is very difficult. Gymnastics requires a performance component, and it is onviously an individual sport instead of a team sport, so you are evaluated for what you do, which is based off what the judges see from you. As a gymnast you need to be SO exact it’s crazy. You need to point you toes and straighten your knees and all those little details or you could find yourself with a broken neck. I am not lying, if you get into bad habits with gymnastics, it will not go well for you. Put on your grips wrong consistently and you are guaranteed to slip off the bar and hurt yourself. Any idiot would also know that martial arts requires extreme timing and technique, I’ll give you that. But gymnastics in fact requires all of that too. Okay I’m done. Sorry if I bored you.

  4. Runner November 7, 2013 at 3:51 am #

    I would concur with the study results after being actively involved in a number of sports at a competitive level, including football, rugby, mountain biking, sailing and skiing.

    Most recently (last 10 yrs) I have turned to athletics running sub-16 5k and sub 2:30 marathon. I have tried some gym, it is significantly harder as it requires all round control, strength, speed and timing.

    As a athletics coach I actively seek disillusioned gymnasts to move into athletic programmes as the have a base which is second to none allowing them to rapidly outperform their peers. This is not because they are talented, but because of the hours of conditioning and practice required to be even a half decent gymnast.

  5. Tupelo November 8, 2013 at 11:44 am #

    I’ve coached and participated in many sports for over twenty years. If for not other reason, gymnastics is the hardest sport because it requires both extreme flexibility and an insane strength to weight ratio, as well as the mentally taxing task of conquering fear EVERY day, especially at the higher levels. You don’t even have to get to elite to know that every gymnast around Levels 8-10 have something they are afraid of (in varying degrees) that they do almost daily in their practice.

  6. Bruce November 9, 2013 at 8:25 am #

    I can prove Gymnastics is the hardest sport, you can box, play soccer, basketball or endurance run for a long career. Many athletes peaking their performance in their 20’s or 30’s. Swimmers can last at the top for 10 to 15 years. This is not so with Gymnastics most are top for 2 or 3 years at best, and female gymnasts rarely continue in their sport past their teenage years. The demands of the sport will not allow for an Elite level participant to stay that long and many have tried, do I need to list them for you?

    • Anna November 11, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

      Amen to this!

    • zak June 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

      it’s not about when you can no longer take part in the sport. it’s about physical and mental work of your body and gymnastics is not the most testing on that

  7. Ralph Barrett November 11, 2013 at 1:44 pm #

    Not only is gymnastics the best sport for physical development, it is the ultimate sport for neurological development. I conducted a study for USA Gymnastics nearly 10 years ago in which we sent an email to gyms all across the United States. We had responses representing nearly 2,000 gymnasts. We discovered that, of the boys and girls in gyms practicing gymnastics over 10 hours per week, over 75% were honor roll students and over 60% were straight A students. I have received several honors for my work on the mind/body connection and how gymnastics impacts this relationship. For more information, do a web search for “Ralph Barrett SMILE Lab.”

  8. That Gymnast November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm #

    Seriously, gymnastics requires strength in all areas (even areas you didn’t know needed strength) and most other sports only require it in the upper or lower body, not both. And let’s not forget how much mental strength a gymnast needs. Speaking as a gymnast myself, I know it hasn’t been easy. I miss out on do many things people my age get to do to go to practice. And the mental blocks are the worst. Competing is stressful enough and putting something your terrified of in your routine and needing to compete it is legit torture and you can’t sleep, eat, or focus on anything but training until that competitions over. Pretty much the only other sport that i know if that you get mental blocks in is cheerleading. So between the physical and mental strength a gymnast needs i think we should all just agree that gymnastics is the hardest sport out there

    • Thomas December 10, 2013 at 1:51 pm #

      You’re bias is pretty bad, my friend. You don’t know another sport that has mental blocks that bad outside of cheerleading? You don’t know another sport that requires full body strength, dedication, and brains? Come on. Sadly, I think basketball fits in a lot of the argument that all of you make on this forum. The full body strength, the mentality and the dedication. The thing that appears to make you believe that you have a leg up in this “greatest sport ever” competition is that this all takes place in a short period of time. While that is all very interesting, could the same argument be made for a runner but as the antithesis suggesting that it happens in a longer time period and requires them to sustain all of their various skills and attributes through a long period of time? And to go back to the mental block, if you ever truly have watched a game of basketball, you will see what I am talking about. If you have any idea of who LeBron James is then you can cite many examples of mental blocks. Or, if you just want to go through the history of college basketball and the NBA you see mental blocks every single game ever played. And if you want to talk about severity in big moments, it has all of those too. But, your bias is getting the best of you. I like gymnastics, but the argument for it to be the best ever is not one that cannot be shared

      • Gymnastics Zone December 12, 2013 at 8:32 am #

        Again, we are not going to attempt to argue about things which we never said. No one said no other sport has mental blocks, although the consequences of a mental block in basketball is you miss one shot. In gymnastics the consequence of a mental block more likely means that you cannot even compete or you can fall on your head and get injured (no comparison to just missing one of many shots in a game). Basketball requires full body strength? Not! Basketball is an leg endurance sport. No one is impressed by the strength it takes to throw a tiny little basketball 10, 20 or even 40 feet. Some basketball players may have strong upper bodies, but the sport does not require it. On the other hand, the strength required to hold on during the sheer G Force of doing giants on bars requires a huge amount of upper body strength.

        Our argument about a short period of time has to do with mentally getting “in the zone.” In a basketball game, players have a long period of time to get in the zone and are rarely in the zone for the whole game, especially the first minutes of each half. In gymnastics, gymnasts sit and wait for long periods of times (sometimes an hour) and then must get and be in the “Gymnastics Zone” within seconds. Again, some basketball, players may, from time to time, get in the zone in the very beginning of a game or half, but that is unusual, not required as in gymnastics.

        • Thomas December 15, 2013 at 4:57 pm #

          Just by that argument I’m not even going to bother. You clearly haven’t watched a truly competitive basketball game.

          • Gymnastics Zone December 16, 2013 at 10:50 am #

            I am from New York and there playground ball has players good enough to play in the NBA, who just aren’t there apparently only because of gang, drug or even murder convictions. So I think I may have seen a competitive game or two.

        • Thomas December 15, 2013 at 7:41 pm #

          I find it funny how you are speaking for someone else but that’s beside the point. And the sport absolutely require upper body strength. See, here is what makes this argument fruitless. You are absolutely hellbent on proving this point that gymnastics is the most difficult sport. And most likely that is because it is the one sport you are an expert at which is fine. But, go talk to an expert in a sport like say basketball or hockey and I’m sure they could identify a bunch of different ways that the sports involve upper body strength and everything else that you mention, BUT in a different environment. That’s something that your argument doesn’t take into account for at all. Every single sport takes place in a different environment (yes, some are in similar environments but there are adjustments). So my point is that there is no point to this. You put forth this argument and know a ton about gymnastics to the point of arrogance, but clearly know very little about some other sports (seriously, basketball requires no upper body strength! PLEASE DO RESEARCH! IT ISN”T ALL ABOUT SHOOTING THE BALL!) And I am sure you are going to tell me that you aren’t going to debate things you didn’t say but this is just my point. Your argument is narrowed down for the sport of gymnastics. And that is fine, but there are so many factors that it doesn’t take into account. Look, some day some person may come up with some brilliant analysis that could make you absolutely correct. And I don’t even think that basketball is the hardest sport out there, I was just using it to make a point. But, until that analysis happens, there is no freaking way to tout that your sport is the hardest OBJECTIVELY. And please don’t point to your scientific ESPN study because like the guy who posted above me said they put out another one that landed gymnastics 8th. People fighting you on this are bringing up issues that show how the environments and the sports are different. And as much as you want to fit them in these nice little categories you cannot. So my point is that you can go back and forth with me but I already know that this argument is a farce and you are going to stick to your guns and be subjective until the very end. But, I really hope that you realize it isn’t worth it. You cannot compare sports the way you are attempting to.

          You a. Do have an innate bias towards your sport because
          b. you are more of an expert on it than any other sport which leads to
          c. subjectivity.

          And it isn’t just you it is how we all are so really don’t take this too personally. But, this isn’t even an argument because unless you can prove to me that you are an expert at every single sport and have played everyone to the level at which you are creating this argument (college level) then how could you possibly know? Your knowledge of gymnastics is immense and I commend you for it, but you need to reassess just what you are saying here. Sciences job is to use reductionist strategies to come up with a proposal and then conclusions. Your job as a critical thinker is to either accept or reject these conclusions based on your own assertions and reasonable thoughts.

          Personally, I’m glad I read this because it was pretty fun to see how hyped up someone can get about their own sport. But, if you really think that you know that gymnastics is the best sport for certain and you are going to defend it until the very end…well its pretty hopeless and I wish you the best of luck.

          Good luck with your website and the future.

          • Gymnastics Zone December 16, 2013 at 12:01 pm #

            First, I admit that having spent decades coaching and researching gymnastics, i am possibly biased (not innately, but biased) towards gymnastics. Big surprise that you came on a gymnastics website and it is slanted to its gymnastic audience.

            I am actually a little embarrassed that I am not able to match the intense and spirited defense of gymnastics displayed by “shutup” in her comments.

            Second, while feel free to come on and comment, but don’t expect that your biases are going to be accepted (After all, you have not coached every sport to the highest levels, either). Actually no one has or could do such a thing making that comment gratuitous.

            And don’t think that I do not know abut or respect other sports. Actually, i believe it takes the same amount of serious practice to rise to excellence in every sport. I know that it does –

            And much of what I use to train coaches comes from research into other ports as I have spent decades searching for the best training techniques that can be adapted to gymnastics.

            I have also formally and professionally coached a number of other sports, including swimming, diving, soccer, wrestling and lacrosse. I played other sports including football, basketball, baseball, tennis, surfing, swimming and diving. That makes me more than average well-rounded with sports.

            I never really took this article and totally seriously as it does not include data about Elite gymnasts, who compete and train at a much higher level than do collegiate gymnasts. It also does not include male gymnasts.

            But you cannot seriously expect anyone experienced in gymnastic to believe that it takes more upper body strength to play basketball than to perform on the International Elite level on rings. I really actually have better things to do than research what everyone thinks are the criteria and complete list of arguments about which is the most difficult sport in the word. But gymnastics does require the maximum or close to the maximum in more areas than most other sports, physically, mentally, aesthetically, etc.

            There is one area where gymnastics does not exceed many other sports, like basketball, and that is endurance. But strength/fitness is a continuum and endurance training is on the opposite end of the continuum than endurance. As science proves, you cannot train for endurance, as in basketball, soccer and marathon training and also reach maximum potential strength. The different training required for endurance inhibits maximum strength building. In fact, one of common coaching training errors is to do too much endurance type training and not enough true strength training for gymnastics.

            I don’t take any of this personally. My job is to provide gymnastics information and facts, not to convince anyone of anything. But fallacies are not allowed on the site unchallenged.

            In reality, I almost never debate this much on any topic. I have so much more information, products and services to produce that I don’t care to waste the time, but Google favors articles and websites that get a lot of comments and interactivity, so sometimes I make an exception.

            Thanks for the good wishes on the website and the future. Same to you.

          • Thomas December 23, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

            Hey Gymnastics Zone,
            If you need more hits on the website I’ll send this my sisters way. Your final response interested me. And you made my final point for me 😉 You cannot be elite in everything because you have better things to do with your time! So well done with your website and thanks for the debate. It was fun and believe me, gymnasts deserve more credit in my opinion. I just enjoy a good thought problem and the reasonable amount of critical thinking required to solve it. Good luck in the future once again.

  9. Chris November 27, 2013 at 6:35 pm #

    I love it when sports groups get all fuzzy inside when a “study” is released to conclude superiority. Comparing combat sports with gymnastics is a joke. When someone is actively trying to knock you out with hands, elbows, knees, and feet; it can’t in any way, shape, or form be compared to a non-combatant sport like gymnastics. It’s actually offensive in my opinion. Gymnastics requires an inordinate amount of athleticism. But what it does not require is the “toughness” and courage to face an opponent who’s bent on choking you or knocking you out. Sorry folks…not even in the same playing field. Let us not forget gymnastics is consistently rated as one of the most injury-ridden sports for youth participants.

    • Gymnastics Zone November 28, 2013 at 10:00 am #

      Just another (not conclusive) input source on the topic.

    • shutup November 30, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

      I’m sorry. don’t tell me Gymnastics is not a contact sport? Have you ever watched it? A gymnast’s body is either flying above the apparatus or on the apparatus. And that’s only when they’re successful. If they aren’t their bodies will slam into that hard vault table, the rock hard beam. Imagine doing a tumbling pass flipping super fast through the air then not seeing your landing and landing on your neck or head. tha,t for your information, means that the gymnast’s body came into contact with the floor. Did i mention they were probably at least six feet in the air. It happens. A lot. They could have broke their necks and been paralyzed the rest of their lives had they fallen just right. Don’t tell me i don’t know. It happened to me last week in the middle of a double back flip. And you know what i did. I got up, and did it again. Because that’s what you do when you’re a gymnast. No matter how scared, how much pain you’re in you get your butt back up and do it again till its perfect. It didn’t matter that i had a concussion. I did it, then i went and taped ice to the back of my neck and conditioned for the last 2 hours of practice. Is that not tough enough for you silly little boxer/wrestler? What do you do wrestling/boxing? I’ve been training six days a week for four-five hours a week since i was 11. What do you train 3 hours 3 days a week? That’s what i trained back when i was 5 and 6. I bet you think your cool because you probably are all muscular from whatever you do, but have you ever seen a guy gymnast? Their the buffest guys out there. We condition with our guys team, and we have to do 50 of something they have do 100 of that. I have no doubt that a male gymnast could step on to your mat or ring or whatever you compete in and kick your butt. Stop being arrogant. If you had to be a gymnast and do our training for one of our practices you would die. And i literally mean pass out. And don’t tell me gymnastics doesn’t take mental toughness because you’ve never tired it. And you’ve never fallen on your head in the middle of flipping through the air, and you’ve never crotched the beam. You’ve never slammed your hips into the bar (i have permanent bruises on mine) you’ve never face planted into a bar, or into a vault table. And you’ve never had to repeat the skill that cause you to do that cuz you’ve never done gymnastics. I’m sick of people saying gymnastics isn’t a sport. It is and it’s the hardest one in the world, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spirituality. We are literally brought up to ignore pain and do what where told when were told. And never to complain. EVER. Gymnasts go years without finding out they had stress fractures and tiny tears in their bodies because we ignore pain. I don’t see little boy and girl wrestlers/boxers with six pack abs…you know how many little girls and boys in gymnastics have six pack abs. Almost all of them. Normal teenage girls, do they have abs? Nope. Gymnasts in their teens…all have six pack abs or their crazy skinny. Do you know how many people have died and be permanently paralyzed or suffered traumatic brain injuries (in comas) from gymnastics? More than any other sport i can tell you that. It’s the most dangerous and hardest sport ever. You think our mats are squishy…well they aren’t. Their rock hard when you hit them wrong and they might as well not be there. They are not even allowed on beam, floor, and bars in elite competitions. In JO elite they’re only allowed on bars and a tiny little might as well not be there mat is allow on dismount landings for beam. Did i mention that the beam is 10 centimeters wide. They lie to us. They aren’t four inches wide. Their 3.8 inches wide. It makes a difference when you have to tumble on that beam. You’re of the tiniest millimeter you could land on you head, miss the beam, crotch the the beam, break something. Anything can happen at anytime in this sport. There’s no refs to stop us before were severely injured. Just ourselves. The judges aren’t gonna be like stop you”re gonna die don’t flip! So keep your dang mouth shut. I’m right and you know it. GYMNASTICS IS THE HARDEST AND MOST DANGEROUS SPORT THAT THERE IS OR WILL BE. TOUGHNESS IS A GIVEN. YOU HAVE TO BE TOUGH TO BE IN THE SPORT, MENTALLY, PHYSICALLY, EMOTIONALLY, AND SPIRITUALITY. YOU COULDN’T HANDLE IT, THE WAY YOU TALK SO ARROGANTLY. THINK ABOUT THIS BEFORE YOU EVER INSULT MY SPORT AGAIN. ITS MORE THAN A SPORT. IT’S A LIFESTYLE. AND YOU HAVE TO BE THE TOUGHEST, DETERMINED ,MOST DEDICATED PERSON TO BE ABLE TO HANDLE IT. -GYMNASTS EVERYWHERE!

      • Niyah December 14, 2013 at 1:09 pm #

        Exactly, and it appears that only former gymnasts will ever understand. Those who haven’t done gymnastics for 12.5 of their 14 years of life, or even less than that will never understand what it takes.

    • Gymnastics Zone December 16, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

      Pretty sure that hands, elbows, knees, and feet are no harder than a men’s steel high bar, which is always waiting to knock out anyone making the wrong move at the wrong time.

      And doesn’t a sport that is quote-unquote more “injury ridden” take more “toughness” and courage to face, not less?

      And two (or more) sports and any other topic can always be compared. Just set criteria and evaluate the various data about each.

      Actually, martial arts and gymnastics have many training similarities, especially Wushu. But it is also extremely common to have martial artists cross train in gymnastics.

      And please don’t come on a gymnastics site and try to call gymnastics a joke. Gymnastics is no joke, certainly no more than bringing your “hands, elbows, knees, and feet” to a gun fight – lol.

    • Gymnast June 2, 2014 at 3:48 pm #

      listen bud, a gymnast has more courage in one finger than a professional fighter. Tell me what happens if a gymnast is out of his/her mental zone while performing a release move. They break a bone and they are out for 6 months. in addition to that, unlike other sports, if you take as little as even a month off of gymnastics, it is nearly impossible to recuperate.

  10. Thomas December 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm #

    I should note that these additional advantages that are said to be for gymnasts appear to be things that only gymnasts truly need and several of them have bias written all over them. Gymnasts have the best focus? Your proof? Go talk to a distance runner they will say they have the best focus. Explosive power? Not quite sure that one works either. Talk to a sprinter/high jumper/hurdler. Also, female upper body strength is an odd way of phrasing it considering you don’t talk about the male portion of your sport? Where do they rank?

    Also, where is your sourcing to prove that these additional areas exceed all other athletes?

    • Gymnastics Zone December 12, 2013 at 8:16 am #

      First, I needn’t defend against criticisms against arguments I didn’t make. No one said any of one attribute that gymnasts were the only one who had it or even that they had the best and exceed all others in every one of these areas. On the other hand, the very definition of focus would include doing multiple somersaults on beam and not include long distance runners who run out of successful repetitive habitual training, not focus. Explosive power. I know T&T tumbling gymnasts who can do double somersaults higher than the current record for high jump, much less over a hurdle. We talked about female body strength because the study and video were about women’t collegiate gymnasts, not men.

      The conclusion of this scientific study, which is what you describe as my “bias” was that gymnastics overall requires a combination of more athletic traits in higher quantities than other sports.

  11. Natalie December 26, 2013 at 9:22 pm #

    While Gymnastics is indeed difficult, I beg to differ on the notion that it is the most difficult sport to compete in in the world. I have done Gymnastics in the past and find it nowhere near as difficult as competitive swimming, for example, or especially ballet.

    • Gymnastics Zone December 27, 2013 at 8:20 am #

      Interesting, as ballet is a subset of gymnastics training and performance, and gymnasts have to train and perform ballet not just on the floor, but on a 4′ high, 4″ wide balance beam.

      I have coached swimming before and there are only really about 10 skills to learn – the 4 strokes, the turns and starts. Vaulting has the least number of skills to learn and there are easily over 200 vaults and vault progressions to be learned. For the other events, there are thousands of skills for each event, not to mention the almost infinite number of potential 2, 3, 4 or 5 skill combinations.

      Not to mention that falling off pointe hardly seems as dangerous as falling off bars.

      So we beg to differ as well.

  12. steynace November 17, 2014 at 6:14 am #

    i didnt read all the comments…it got a bit too much but i really wamt to give my opinion on why I agree with the research article. i do not diminish the values and requirements for any sport except those where the participants get so pompous and arrogant that you could die…so i’m going to argue with everyone because you kind of missed the key points! firstly gymnasts are well known for their insane strength, you guys have totaly missed that they say STRENGTH TO WEIGHT RATIO makes a gymnast the best athlete because they are as strong as a elite athlete than has double their weight. the environment has absolutely no impact on that and you can argue all you want but comparing a hokey players strength to a gymnast is a bit radical, yes they need strength, but they need to be heavy as well (referring to ice hokey now). secondly the range of movement where a gymnast needs to apply strength is greater than most other because where a martial artist or whatever sport you want, only needs say 80-120 degrees range of motion, a gymnast needs more and they apply it all over the range, not just in certain parts of the range but OVER THE WHOLE RANGE!!this is very important to understand, to explain to the gym junkies, take barbells weighing 15kg and while lying on your back on a bench mimic the maltese they do on rings, basically inverted flys, but let the barbells lower as far as you can below horizontal…do flys and have someone push down when you get to the top…that will prove my point on the strength through WHOLE RANGE OF MOVEMENT…and for that intense suppleness is needed so lets tick that off…as for mentally, each sport has its own challenges, but gymnastics is not only pressure during a movement or competiton, it is worse whe learning something, you can struggle with the same thing for months and then realise it was as simple as just pushing that bit further that you never knew you could do…this obviously applies to all sports but the degree and the frustration tends to be more and it lasts longer…please read that agai to make sure you read what i say in its entirety…and then injuries…ive seen gymnasts fall during routines so hard that they cant even stand up properly and they can barely see, yet they get up on the pbars and finish…i am being blunt in saying i NO other sport will your mentality allow you to continue at that intensity, boxing is probably yhe closest but they still go down with intensity aftdr a serious blow…

    as for my biggest reason why gymnasts are the better athlete is their attitude…yes you get the odd way out cocky and arrogant one, but in sports like football or rugby or even boxing you get the odd nice one that understamds they are not gods gift to the world. and if a gymnast is cocky and his skills match his atitude then i will say he can be so to an extend because only a hand full of people can do what he does. as for the argumeng i read concerning placing a gymnast in another sport? seriously?? dude come on, any fool can tell you that gymnastics is the basis of every sport because of it’s very fruitful influence on development. you place a gymnast that has been coached properly in any sport and he will excel quicker than any other, he might not be the best but they will certainly excel to be some of the better ones quickly…gymnastics is the best sport because it covers the basis of every other sport…

    to conclude, gymnastics is the best because i say so. i dont care what your argument against it is but stay on topic, and dont take it so personally…the only reason you comment on this is because you have some sort of passion for your sport and want to defend it…but it still doesnt change the fact that gymnastics in its ENTIRETY is better than any other….if coached properly

  13. Gymnastics Zone December 12, 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Nice article and videos.



    […] LINK INFO (gimnàstica esport més difícil del món): […]

  2. 7 Reasons Why Gymnastics Is the Best Sport in the World | Gymnastics Beat Blog - December 31, 2015

    […] Strength, coordination, flexibility, grace, and power. It’s no secret that many say that gymnastics is the hardest sport in the world. The sport encompasses so many different athletic capabilities all at once. There is no other sport […]

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