Tip: The World's Fittest Athlete

Are the top CrossFitter's really the fittest all-around athletes? Here's one strength coach's opinion.

Lead Photo Credit: Shaun Cleary / Crossfit, Inc.

Who's the World's Best Athlete?

That's a question we've been asking ever since there have been athletic competitions. Is the man who can lift the most weight or run the fastest the best athlete, or is it the one who can run a marathon in the least amount of time?

In terms of the fittest athlete, he'd have to possess the best overall combination of all the main physical qualities:

  • Strength
  • Power
  • Speed
  • Agility
  • Resilience
  • Endurance
  • Mobility
  • Coordination

In my humble opinion, CrossFit is – at the moment at least – the only sport where all the physical qualities are tested to a significant extent.

Photo Credit: Alicia Baldwin / Crossfit, Inc.

Even a very complete sporting competition like the decathlon comes up short in a few categories. As such, the best CrossFit competitors absolutely deserve to be called the Fittest on Earth. Sure, some athletes have better endurance, others are stronger, and others are more skilled. But no class of athletes is good in as many things as elite CrossFit athletes.

Elite CrossFit athletes are roughly at 70-80% of the top levels in most "pure sports" like weightlifting, powerlifting, mid-distance running, rowing, etc. Their only weakness might be swimming, but that's likely because of their high body density due to the amount of muscle and low body fat they carry.

Nobody is best at everything, and those who are among the best at something tend to suck at many other things. So in that regard, the fittest title can only be awarded to a generalist. And CrossFitters are the generalists of the training world.

Christian Thibaudeau specializes in building bodies that perform as well as they look. He is one of the most sought-after coaches by the world's top athletes and bodybuilders. Check out the Christian Thibaudeau Coaching Forum.