15 Most Physically Demanding Jobs in the USA

All jobs have value and purpose, but some demand a unique level of physical strength and endurance. These jobs require a person to be strong, as they may need to lift heavy weights and stand for hours until their feet become numb. When we consider some of the most physically demanding jobs in the world, we cannot help but admire those who have chosen these professions.

So, here are the 15 most physically demanding jobs.


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Mining is one of the most physically demanding jobs in the world and one of the most dangerous. Miners often have to work underground for shifts lasting more than 12 hours. They have to use heavy machinery for drilling and shift the ore on the carts to be transported back upwards.

Confined spaces, heavy lifting, and repetitive tasks like drilling and shoveling make mining a tough job. Exposure to harsh conditions like loud noise, poor ventilation, and potentially dangerous materials leads to fatigue, injuries, and long-term health problems like musculoskeletal disorders, respiratory diseases, and hearing loss.

Marine Corps Infantry

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Serving in the Marine Corps Infantry is unquestionably a physically demanding job. It involves rigorous training and active combat, requiring physical strength and mental resilience.

Constructing barriers and barricades, digging foxholes, transporting equipment, and other physical requirements are some of the many duties an infantryman in the Marine Corps is involved in.

The job also requires high endurance, as infantrymen often work in challenging environments under extreme conditions.

Oil Rig Workers

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Working on an oil rig is tough as it involves long hours, heavy lifting, and challenging conditions, often in remote locations. Tasks can include drilling, maintenance, and handling complex machinery.

Exposure to toxic substances can cause respiratory problems. Oil rig workers must be extremely cautious, as any misstep on these hazardous structures could be fatal.


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Ironworking is no walk in the park, literally and figuratively. From heavy lifting and carrying beams to working at heights, it’s a physically demanding job that can take a toll on the body. Repetitive tasks like welding and cutting add to muscle strain, and exposure to harsh weather conditions further increases physical stress.

Ironworkers are involved in installing and reinforcing iron and steel in concrete, bridges, and buildings, which requires significant physical strength and endurance. Ironworkers have to spend a lot of time, many stories high in the heat, and carry a ton of weight for many hours.

Wildland Firefighters

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Wildland firefighting is one of the most physically demanding and a high-risk job. It involves combating wildfires in forests, grasslands, and other wild areas.

The job requires physical strength and endurance for tasks like carrying heavy equipment and working in extreme heat and mental fortitude to make quick decisions in high-stress situations.

Despite the challenges, it plays a crucial role in protecting our natural landscapes and communities from the devastating effects of wildfires.


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A professional roofer’s job includes covering roofs of structures with shingles, slate, asphalt, aluminum, wood, or related materials. They may also spray roofs, sidings, and walls with material to bind, seal, insulate, or soundproof sections of structures.

The work involves performing physical activities such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials. Roofers are also exposed to extreme weather conditions, such as heat, cold, and rain, which can further add to the physical strain.

Bricklayer’s Laborers

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Being a bricklayer’s laborer involves physically demanding tasks like carrying heavy materials, mixing mortar, and lifting bricks. A construction laborer must spend a good portion of their time lifting and moving heavy blocks of stone, concrete, and other structural materials. This constant exertion and manual labor strain their muscles and joints.

A construction worker’s day is long, with some jobs starting at first light and going until the sun sets. It worsens in the summer, with longer days and higher temperatures.

Carers For Immobile Elderly

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Caring for the immobile older people is also a physically demanding job. It requires significant physical strength and endurance, as caregivers often need to assist with lifting, moving, and repositioning their patients.

The constant lifting, repetitive motions, and awkward postures can strain muscles and joints. Additionally, it involves long hours of standing and walking.

Emotionally, it is tough to witness their decline, deal with demanding behavior, and feel a lack of control. The 24/7 commitment, financial burden, and social isolation further add to the challenge.

Climbing Arborist

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A climbing arborist, also known as a tree surgeon, has a highly physically demanding job. This role involves climbing trees to perform tasks such as pruning, felling, and treating diseased trees.

It requires significant physical strength, agility, endurance, and a good head for heights. It is a challenging profession that contributes significantly to maintaining our natural environment.

Climbing arborists face unique challenges. They spend long hours working at heights, often in awkward positions, carrying heavy equipment and maneuvering through dense foliage.


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Lumberjacks work in forests or wooded areas. Their work is physically demanding, involving long hours in challenging conditions such as rain or snow and rough or uneven terrain.

Lumberjacks often work at great heights, such as on the tops of trees or cliffs. They are required to use safety equipment, such as harnesses and helmets, to prevent falls. In addition to the job’s physical demands, loggers may face the risk of injury from operating heavy machines or being hit by falling objects.

To be a lumberjack, a person needs serious physical strength and endurance. Holding heavy machinery for hours and cutting branches or trees into logs is no mean feat.

Automotive Mechanic

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Working as a mechanic is physically demanding, requiring strength and endurance. The job involves long hours of lifting heavy parts and tools, which can strain the body over time. Mechanics often perform repetitive tasks such as bending, kneeling, and reaching, leading to joint and muscle strain.

They also work in awkward positions to repair machines, which can cause back pain and discomfort. Despite these challenges, mechanics must maintain their physical health to perform their duties year after year safely.

Road Repair Crew

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Working on a road repair crew involves heavy lifting, operating machinery, and often working in challenging outdoor conditions. The crew has to stand on the hot asphalt with the constant danger of being pancaked by a tired trucker or inattentive Honda driver.

Tasks can include digging, paving, and repairing road surfaces. Despite the physical demands and potential hazards, they play a critical role in maintaining the safety and efficiency of our road infrastructure.


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Shearers must have exceptional physical skill and stamina to handle and shear large, often uncooperative animals. To become a sheep shearer, a person must have the physical energy to catch, hold, lift, and move sheep into various positions during shearing. They must be able to work fast and consistently with their hands for extended periods.

This demanding work involves intricate hand and arm movements, repetitive actions, and constant bending and kneeling, making it a physically challenging and skilled profession.

Farm Workers

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Farm work is a job that requires excellent physical stamina and strength. Farmworkers ensure the overall quality of a farm is maintained. This can include harvesting crops, operating farm tools, and feeding the livestock. Farmworkers also help maintain a property’s irrigation system.

Farming is tough, even if the farm is highly mechanized. Farm workers should be prepared for this physically demanding job, which requires long hours outdoors in all weather conditions.


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Teaching is not the first profession that comes to mind when we think of physically demanding jobs. However, it does involve a significant amount of standing, walking, and lifting. Teaching involves constant research, preparation, vocal strain, and strain on the eyes, leading to fatigue and muscle tension.

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