Athletes were assessed on six criteria, including strength: the pushing power of a lineman or the force of an ultimate fighter; speed: the top end of a sprinter or the burst of a running back; endurance: a runner’s bottomless reserve or a boxer’s ability to keep going in a bout; and agility: the balance of a downhill skier or a euro step at full speed on the break. Count down to see who is the fittest male athlete in the world right now.
Though a left quad injury has ruled Griffin out of the Rio Olympics in August, the 27-year-old power forward is known for his dedication to fitness—and for his ripped 6’10”, 250-pound physique. Griffin likes to swim laps in the pool for cardiovascular work and has even tried indoor cycling classes such as SoulCycle in addition to his basketball-focused gym sessions.
At just 22, the compact (5’9”, 163 lbs.) South African has established himself as a possible rival for Usain Bolt. In March he set a South African record of 9.96 in the 100 meters, exceptionally fast for so early in an Olympic season. Working out four to six hours a day, Simbine, who brings a tantalizing blend of power and speed to the track, figures to be faster still come August.
Like his Real Madrid teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, Ramos puts in extra work to make sure he’s game-ready. The 30-year-old captain does individual training in the morning—complete with resistance bands, trampolines, hurdles and more—followed by a team session later in the day.
The 25-year-old Kante was a key part of Leicester City’s 2016 English Premier League title run. Though he may not lead his team in goals or assists, Kante is a relentless midfielder who covers the pitch tirelessly, mixing his steady endurance with bursts of speed throughout the entire match.
Gronkowski’s 6′6″, 265-pound frame is near impossible to stop on the football field thanks to his intense workouts and commitment to fitness. Now Gronk is taking his passion one step further with his new family business, Gronk Fitness Products, a line of performance fitness products built for sports facilities and home gyms.
Four-time All-Star and 2016 NBA assists leader Rondo is a gym rat in the offseason and that work ethic pays off on the court. The 30-year-old’s stamina, speed and athleticism are likely a product of his resisted sprints on the football field. Rondo has even given yoga—and headstands!—a try.
The 26-year-old Canadian is team captain for the Tampa Bay Lightning and known for the practice he puts in to perfect his powerful, accurate shot. When he’s not at the rink, Stamkos adds in sprint days at the track, yoga for recovery and workouts at the gym on the curved treadmill or belt squat machine, two of his go-to pieces of equipment.
Drafted by the Eagles in 2009, Barwin is a specimen NFL defensive end at 6’4” and 265 pounds. He has displayed an incredible work ethic and strength on the field, which he gets from a killer training regimen, complete with recovery methods and proper nutrition.
After Curry led his Warriors to an NBA record 73 wins, the 28-year-old earned his second consecutive MVP award, becoming the first unanimous winner in the award’s history. In addition to practicing three pointers and ball-handling drills, Curry’s training involves various recovery methods, resistance training and more, making him well-versed in several areas of fitness.
Mikulak, whose mother and father both competed in gymnastics for Cal, clearly inherited the right genes. A seven-time NCAA champion at Michigan and a vault finalist in the 2012 Olympics, the 5’6” Mikulak has emerged as an all-around force, taking the national title last year, having worked ferociously to add strength and precision to his brilliant natural acrobatics.
Not just another skinny distance runner, the 2012 Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist is a gym rat whose multi-hour workouts include weights, plyometrics and even soccer and boxing drills. Under coach Alberto Salazar, the 30-year-old Rupp also been known to follow up a record setting race on the track with an immediate treadmill tempo run.
The 27-year-old Irish MMA star may not follow a strict training schedule—“Nothing,” he says, “is set by a clock.”—but he packs each day with a withering array of exercises and fitness drills ranging from free weight work to core training to yoga—plus grueling hours of striking, grappling and jiu-jitsu—all designed to forge a body and a mind capable of championship-level combat.
Hogan may not be one of the most notable players in the NFL, but the former college lacrosse standout and New Jersey native is training to be one of the league’s top (and fittest) wide receivers. His high-intensity workouts hone balance, agility and explosiveness through exercises such as sprints and sled pushes. It’s only right that he trains at a facility called “Freak Strength.”
The 23-year-old Washington Nationals right fielder is still young in his MLB career, but he has already shown exceptional athletic prowess. Named NL MVP in 2015, Harper demonstrates his speed around the bases and has a strong, powerful swing technique, which, among other aspects of his game, showcases his agility and coordination.
The 27-year-old quarterback is only 5’11” but weighs 215 pounds and has legs that are built like tree trunks. Wilson’s strength makes him a dual-threat on the field, both in the air and on the ground, and he keeps up his conditioning through pool workouts, cone drills and more.
A two-time Olympian, the 29-year-old Farris set an American record with a total of 377kg at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and he has earned a spot in the Pan American Championships where he will try for a third-straight Olympic berth. He began weightlifting at age 11 and is now considered one of the top Americans in the sport.
Beckham Jr. may catch with only one hand, but his workouts are multifaceted. The 23-year-old varies his offseason training, doing everything from boxing to trail runs and hill sprints, to even pool work and footwork drills in the sand.
Fit? Isn’t it more like sit—and, you know, turn left? Not for Dixon. The 35-year-old New Zealander, a four-time IndyCar series champion and the 2008 Indianapolis 500 winner, who also competes in triathlons, knows that success behind the wheel requires a tremendous amount of physical strength and endurance (handling loads of more than 3 gs and sustaining a heart rate of 160+ bpm for two to three hours) in addition to otherworldly focus and reaction time.
Great job Jimmy!! Ugh didn't think that was going to end. Happy 50th mate!! Please remember to donate to #stjude Link is in @jleofitness profile #Repost @jleofitness with @repostapp. ・・・ PR - They did it! 50,000 meters and over $3,400 raised for St Jude. Link to donate in profile. @scottdixon9 @hinchtown @emmadaviesdixon @bobbyd983
At 6’5” and 248 pounds, Newton possesses a physique that gives him a commanding presence on the field. The reigning NFL MVP’s freak athleticism comes from his intense training regimen, which is focused on agility, quarterback-specific movements, explosiveness and core strength.
The 30-year-old is celebrated for his 22 medals spanning three Olympic Games. Since his return to competition after a 20-month hiatus, Phelps has rededicated himself to training and is looking to add more gold medals to his collection in Rio in August.
What makes 25-year-old Taylor so impressive is his success, not just in one event but in several: triple jump, long jump, and the 200 and 400m sprints. Because of the nature of his events, Taylor’s workouts contain Olympic lifts, such as hang cleans, to focus on power, mobility and explosiveness.
A sprinter-jumper in track and field at Northeastern, Langton was inspired to take his speed and explosive athleticism to the bobsled track after watching the 2006 Winter Olympics on TV. The ’08 Rookie of the Year and ’09 U.S. national push champion, the 6’2”, 227-lb. Langton—who has a 62” standing box jump— has gone on to win a push world title and earn two Olympic bronze medals.
After undergoing surgery on his right foot in January, the Cowboys receiver is doing everything he can to return to form. From his killer ab workouts to insane treadmill sprints, the 27-year-old Bryant is an example of elite speed, strength and agility.
The King of Sweden is a top striker for Paris Saint-Germain and his goal scoring—from all angles and directions—is a product of his overall athleticism and conditioning base. Ibrahimovic is also a black belt in taekwondo, which is impressive given his 6’5”, 209-pound frame.
At 6-foot and 165-pounds and with chiseled abs, Sharma looks like he lives in the gym. But one of the world’s top rock climbers doesn’t spend time lifting weights; he trains outside on boulders. At 35-years-old, Sharma continues to push the limits of the sport with his strength, endurance, flexibility and fearless attitude.
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When you’re known as Mr. 400 Hurdles—widely regarded as the most difficult sprint event in track and field—your fitness must be top-notch. Already a silver medalist in London 2012, Tinsley trains his 6′1″ and 163-pound body differently than other sprinters, adding in some longer runs to sprint distances and lifting in the gym.
Colby Lopez, better known by his ring name Seth Rollins, is one of WWE’s top stars and an all-around freak athlete. He suffered a knee injury in November but has been rehabbing for months to return, using tools such as the SkiErg (a machine that mimics Nordic skiing movements), the rowing machine and, of course, some heavy weights.
Ibaka’s rise in the NBA ranks is likely due to his disciplined routine. The 26-year-old stands at 6’10” and 236-pounds, but he works hard for his strong conditioning base and prized six pack, adding everything from boxing to yoga and hill runs to hours of shooting practice in the gym.
Just 20, the compact (5’9”, 157 pounds) and dynamic Bromell is charging forward into the front line of international sprinting just in time for the Rio Olympics. The Baylor junior—whose résumé already includes three NCAA titles, a bronze medal in last year’s world championship 100 meters and, most recently, a world indoor championship at 60 meters—has been dubbed “a huge talent” by no less an authority than Justin Gatlin.
Beyond his prowess on the field, Trout is probably best known for the 2014 viral video of his standing vertical jump onto a box 54 inches off the ground. But the 6’2”, 230-pound center fielder has more than just hops. Exercises such as tire flips and pushes also build strength, agility and explosiveness, which likely help with hitting homers.
Want a physique like Davis’s? The Redskins’ tight end certainly has a genetic advantage, but an intense exercise routine and strict diet have also helped to sculpt his 6′3″, 250-pound frame. Entering his 10th year in the NFL, the 32-year-old still strives for athletic greatness.
The 21-year-old Baltimore native boasts the physique of a Marvel superhero. But there’s nothing “bound” about all that muscle. A national champion on vault and rings and silver medalist in the all-around at this year’s American Cup, Whittenburg is the complete package of speed, power, agility and flexibility.
Some know Goodwin as an NFL wide receiver while others remember him for his track-and-field accomplishments in the long jump, including an appearance at the 2012 London Olympics. From leaping into the sand pit to squatting more than 400 pounds, Goodwin’s feats in two elite professional sports speak to his impressive athletic abilities.
Dubbed Mighty Mouse, the 5’3”, 125-lb. Kentucky native won the UFC flyweight crown in 2012 and has successfully defended it eight times. He’s widely regarded as the quickest and most technically-proficient fighter in the sport, one who packs power in his small frame more reminiscent of another cartoon superhero—his personal favorite, Batman.
The 6’ 4”, 245-lb. Read puts the “rugged” into rugby. Considered the world’s finest number 8, the captain of the New Zealand All Blacks was Player of the Year in 2013 and has only become more seasoned and stronger since then. Once a skinny kid, Read focused on fitness and nutrition in addition to his rugby training and has built himself into a dominant force in the game.
A star since his high school days, Rabil graduated from Johns Hopkins in 2008 with two NCAA crowns, a school career scoring record as a midfielder and the label of finest prospect in the history of the Major League Lacrosse draft. With astounding athleticism and an unmatched ability to shoot on the run, the 6’3”, 220-lb Rabil has more than fulfilled that billing, making seven All-Star teams so far.
Super Bowl champion, four-time Pro Bowler and the Seahawks’ top playmaker, Chancellor can deliver punishing hits on the field, thanks to a disciplined regimen. The 6’3”, 232-pound strong safety has taken his fitness addiction one step further by teaming up with trainer Kevin Allen to create the training program Form by Force. Now Chancellor can add women’s boot camp instructor to his résumé.
After undergoing surgery to repair a groin injury, the 6′5″, 289-pound Watt said he decreased his offseason workouts from 10 workouts a week to nine—if you can consider that a reduction. Despite the setback, Watt remains committed to his fitness routine—he still does the signature box jumps and tire flips he’s Internet-famous for—and hopes to return to dominating form for the NFL season.
Considered by many boxing’s current best pound-for-pound fighter, the 30-year-old Kazakhstan-born middleweight champion has transformed himself from a boxing stylist into a 160-pound wrecking ball through hours of punching-specific training. In addition, his relentless stamina work has made him an unstoppable late-round force.
In between creating fashion lines, spending time with his family and team practice, the 34-year-old Wade still finds time for the gym, which is typically Miami-based facility DBC Fitness, a biomechanics-focused program acronymically named for Dumbbells, Barbells and Cables.
Just 5’10” and 152 lbs, the 29-year-old French pole vaulter possesses a towering blend of sprint speed, strength, balance, gymnastic agility and eye-popping nerve, which has carried him to, well, new heights as 2012 Olympic champion and reigning world record holder (20’ 2 ½”). Endurance? He has also ridden in the LeMans 24 Hours for Motorcycles.
The World No. 1 has won 64 ATP titles and 11 Grand Slam trophies in his career so far and his top form indicates he’s not stopping anytime soon. The 28-year-old Serb follows a gluten-free diet and stays in peak physical condition year-round, maintaining the focused mentality, stamina, strength and tenacity needed during a high-level tennis match.
The reigning Olympic 74 kg freestyle wrestling champion (and three-time world champ) started wrestling at age five and, at 27, shows no sign of slowing down. Sure, when asked last month where he would go to celebrate making his second Olympic team, Burroughs replied, “To a 24-hour doughnut place.” But don’t let that fool you; he’s a workout monster whose combination of strength, speed and endurance make him a favorite for Rio.
Fashionable and fit? Everyone knows Westbrook is killing the NBA fashion game, but the 6’3”, 187-pound point guard is also one of the most athletic in the league. The 27-year-old’s workouts focus on speed and stability, but on the court Westbrook shows he also has stamina, strength and a silky shot.
Portugal’s famed number 7 is known for being obsessed with his physical fitness and physique. As a soccer player, Ronaldo’s workouts are a mix of cardio, explosive sprint drills, technical drills on the field, weightlifting in the gym and, of course, core workouts to develop his trademark six-pack.
The world’s fastest human compresses thousands of hours of training into a competitive crescendo lasting less than 10 seconds. Pointing toward a third triple-gold tour de force in Rio, Bolt, at 29, has supplemented his unworldly natural speed with a new degree of full-body fitness and speed-endurance. What’s his nickname, again? Oh, yeah—Superman. Believe it.
The current interim UFC light heavyweight champion, Bones, as he’s known, is widely regarded as the best mixed martial arts fighter in the world. After an intense powerlifting regimen last year, the 6’4”, 28-year-old Jones has packed on enough muscle to make his nickname seem ironic—while, he insists, maintaining his speed and endurance.
Smith has been a staple at the CrossFit games every year since 2009 and he took home the title of World’s Fittest Man in 2015. Now the 25-year-old typically trains at the box he owns, CrossFit Krypton in Chesapeake, Va., preparing for unknown events at the Games with Olympic lifts, kettlebell exercises, rope climbs and more.
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From his explosive energy on a breakaway, to his power on a strong drive to the basket and his ability to sprint and smoothly finish at the rim, King James reigns in all areas of fitness. A two-time NBA champion and four-time MVP, James hopes his elevated level will ignite the Cavaliers to an NBA championship title.
Traditionally, the world record holder in the decathlon has been known as “the world’s greatest athlete.” In Eaton’s case, let’s add “world’s fittest,” as well. With 10 very different events to prepare for, the current record holder—and 2012 Olympic champion—has to touch on every element of physical and mental conditioning every day. Pointing for a title defense in Rio, Eaton is hitting new heights in his routine.