The Hardest Sport for Girls: Is Rowing Truly the Toughest?

When it comes to sports, there’s a lot of discussion around which ones are the hardest. For girls, this conversation often centers around the physical demands of certain sports, as well as the gender stereotypes that can make participation more challenging. One sport that frequently comes up in these conversations is rowing. But is rowing really the hardest sport for girls?

The Physical Demands of Rowing

One of the reasons that rowing is often considered a difficult sport is because of the intense physical demands it places on athletes. Rowers use almost every muscle in their body to propel the boat forward, combining strength, endurance, and technique. For female athletes, this can be especially challenging, as they may be smaller and lighter than their male counterparts, meaning they have to work even harder to generate speed and power.

Competition Levels in Rowing

Another factor that contributes to the perception of rowing as a hard sport for girls is the competitiveness of the sport. Rowing is a highly competitive sport, with athletes vying for coveted spots on college teams and national teams. This can create a high-pressure environment that can be especially challenging for female athletes, who may feel like they have to prove themselves more than their male counterparts to be taken seriously.

Mental Strength Required for Rowing

In addition to the physical demands of the sport, rowing also requires a significant amount of mental strength. Athletes must be able to push through pain and discomfort, as well as stay focused and disciplined during long training sessions. This can be especially challenging for girls, who may face additional pressure to be perfect and avoid showing weakness.

Rowing as a Male-Dominated Sport

Another aspect that can make rowing challenging for girls is the fact that it is often seen as a male-dominated sport. This can create a sense of isolation and make it harder for girls to find support and role models within the sport. It can also lead to gender-based biases and discrimination, which can further undermine girls’ confidence and motivation.

Other Sports That Are Challenging for Girls

While rowing is often considered one of the hardest sports for girls, it’s certainly not the only one. There are plenty of other sports that can be physically and mentally demanding, as well as challenging because of gender stereotypes and biases. Some examples include:

  • Gymnastics
  • Wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Hockey
  • MMA

The Benefits of Participating in Challenging Sports

Despite the difficulties associated with challenging sports like rowing, there are many benefits to participating in them. These can include increased physical fitness, improved mental toughness and resilience, and a sense of personal accomplishment. Additionally, participating in challenging sports can help break down gender stereotypes and promote gender equality in athletics and beyond.


While rowing is certainly a challenging sport for girls, it’s important to remember that there are many other sports that can be just as difficult. Whether it’s due to the physical demands of the sport, the competitiveness of the field, or gender biases and stereotypes, girls who participate in challenging sports like rowing can benefit in many ways. By supporting and encouraging girls in these endeavors, we can help them achieve their goals and break down barriers for women in sports.