There are many sports that improve core fitness areas like balance and stamina. Yet some of the more interesting strength-training regimens come from emerging sports like mixed martial arts, parkour and sport climbing. Gymnastics is also a dynamic sport aimed at personal development and building muscular strength. Not every sport requires a great deal of muscular power, but most sports will improve your strength and physical performance over time.
Mixed Martial Arts
Mixed martial arts, or MMA, is a rapidly growing sport that combines elements of boxing, wrestling and jujitsu. It is highlighted by powerful strikes from the fists, elbows, knees and legs. An athlete in MMA has to have stopping power and that requires muscular strength. Mixed martial arts fitness programs have been gaining popularity because they offer the disciplined regiment of fight training. MMA training is rigorous, if not brutal. With a mixture of weight training, sparring and boxing, the MMA athlete builds upper and lower body strength.
Parkour, often called free-running, is an emerging sport that involves skillfully overcoming obstacles while maintaining a smooth, running stride. Parkour athletes train for competitions, commercial projects and the sheer love of their sport. Free-running is primarily about balance and developing the proper blend of skills to become a more well-rounded traceur. One of those skills is muscular strength. The purpose of muscular strength in parkour is mainly preventative. Strength brings about a better sense of control. A stronger free-runner has a better chance of avoiding injury during a parkour run.
Gymnastics is an exercise sport that was first developed in ancient Greece. It is one of the first and only sports to combine athletic skills with aesthetic performance. Gymnasts compete among each other individually and as a team on skill apparatuses that challenge their overall sense of balance and power. Gymnastic training drastically improves upper body strength and flexibility. Gymnasts perform exercises that strengthen their deltoids, pectoral and tricep muscles. In fact, many athletes from different sports cross-train in gymnastics to gain a stronger muscle core.
Sport climbing is a form of rock climbing in which athletes use ropes and fixed bolts to sprint up short rock face courses. Climbers don't carry packs and gear, so the climbing experience is purely focused on strength, speed and fluidity. It is a competitive sport but still places a great deal of attention on personal development and individual achievement. Sport climbing works all the muscle groups in the body, especially the deltoids and trapezius muscles in the back. It also greatly improves your posture and muscular elasticity while adding definition and tone.
Frederick S. Blackmon's love for fiction and theater eventually led to a career writing screenplays for the film and television industry. While living in Florida, Blackmon began exploring issues on global warming, health and environmental science. He spent two years as a Parkour and free-running instructor as well. Now he writes everything from how-to blogs to horror films.