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Bodyweight Sumos


Level 7 Valued Member
The amount of strength those athletes have is incredible.
Does anyone know how those guys train?


Level 6 Valued Member
By the way they look, can you tell do they squat?
Hahahaha but in all seriousness (almost) have you noticed that you can’t tell how someone trains simply by looking at them. Just single out some seriously jacked dude at your gym and from sight alone tell me if he lifts sets of three or ten, long rest periods or short, twice per week or three times, bro split or full body? Does he use machines, barbells or dumbbells? It’s impossible to tell from sight alone and that’s why no-one should ever squat. No-one has to do that to themselves. Everyone can keep their dignity and still look great! In a similar vein, because I do mainly barbell work with a hypertrophy emphasis, I laugh at cross-fitters. I mean don’t we all, scoff at them, as they prance about doing their strange things. But, to be honest, they look fantastic. Maybe even better than us! So who should be laughing at who? It doesn’t matter what you do, so just don’t squat


Level 6 Valued Member
Does anyone know how those guys train?
I saw a broadcast of a documentary on the training of the sumo wrestlers , on NHK.

They did not show powerbars and plates. They do carry water and push each other across the practice ring .

Imagine a prowler as big and heavy as you. Push that several meters at a time.

And there's a lot of awkward positions that they practice. Very deep duck walking , and flexibility movements.


Level 7 Valued Member
Does anyone know how those guys train?

When I lived in Japan, I used to go watch tournaments.

A few of the stables also offered tours.

The whole system starts with teenage boys who intern with a stable, and if they're accepted as a novice trainee, they actually become residents at the stable and live there full time.

They spend about half the day training and the other half of the day going to school. It operates like a training hall + boarding school.

All of the training methods I saw were very traditional, using methodologies from 100+ years ago. I didn't see anything resembling modern gym equipment.
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Level 7 Valued Member
I have collected some information on Sumo over the years since I competed in a few amateur tournaments (they were held by the national amateur wrestling association while I was competing in Greco and Freestyle, so I entered both in the lightweight category and the opens for sh*ts and giggles).

While training in the stables varies, it usually contains a few staples: shiko (stomping and squatting, often for 300-500 reps) and a sort of sliding duck walk (suri ashi) for the legs, as well as push-ups (see – this guy is a high school Sumo player who has an entire series on Sumo exercises) and Teppo (slapping a pole) for the arms. Plus sitting in the splits – Sumos are often remarkably flexible, it helps with their wide and low stance. See here: SUMO TRAINING and Apart from that, there are of course wrestling bouts, technique drills and various partner exercises – some shown in the last link. There's a ton of Sumo training footage on Youtube, you should be able to find it with the terms provided.
Some Sumos will also use rubber bands for rehab and prehab, some lift heavy weights (some even move respectable weights powerlifting style) or use machines, but more commonly they do higher-rep stuff with light (10-15 kg) dumbbells, mostly pummeling, curls and duck walks. I have also read reports about dragging tractor tires uphill (with another Sumo riding the tire) but I’ve never seen this. This would however be similar to pushing a person around in the ring. Top Sumos are often remarkably good sprinters, probably mostly due to selection, but also due to the explosive nature of their sport and training.

One thing to always bear in mind: Sumo is a wrestling style, first and foremost. The exercises they do are intended to complement their wrestling practice (not the other way around) – just like in every wrestling tradition ever, regardless of what time or part of the globe we’re talking about. Therefore, taking the exercises and leaving out the wrestling part is going to yield totally different results.

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