Body composition and isokinetic strength of professional Sumo wrestlers

Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1998 Mar;77(4):352-9. doi: 10.1007/s004210050344.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the profiles of body composition and force generation capability in professional Sumo wrestlers. The subjects were 23 professional Sumo wrestlers [mean age 22.0 (SEM 1.2) years] including those ranked in the lower- (Jonokuchi, n=10), middle- (Sandanme, n=8) and higher-division (Makuuchi, n=5), 22 weight-classified athletes [5 judo athletes, 5 wrestlers, and 12 weight lifters, mean age 20.7 (SEM 0.7) years], and 21 untrained men [mean age 20.1 (SEM 0.2) years]. In the Sumo wrestlers, body mass ranged between 77.0 and 150.0 kg, body mass index between 25.9 and 44.5 kg x m(-2), relative fat mass (%FM) between 11.9 and 37.0%, and fat-free mass (FFM) between 59.1 and 107.6 kg. The Sumo wrestlers showed significantly higher %FM and smaller elbow and knee extensor cross-sectional areas (CSA) than the weight-classified athletes who weighed from 90.4 kg to 133.2 kg. Moreover, isokinetic forces in the flexion and extension of elbow and knee joints, respectively, at three constant velocities of 1.05, 3.14 and 5.24 rad x s(-1) were significantly lower in the Sumo wrestlers than in the weight-classified athletes and untrained subjects when expressed per unit of body mass. However, the median value of FFM relative to body height in the higher-division Sumo wrestlers was ranked high in the range of magnitude among those reported previously in the literature for heavyweight athletes. Moreover, the results on the comparisons within the Sumo wrestlers showed that not only FFM but also force generation capability, expressed both as an absolute term and as a value relative to both body mass and muscle CSA, might be factors contributing to the performance of Sumo wrestlers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / anatomy & histology
  • Adult
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Elbow Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Elbow Joint / physiology
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Male
  • Martial Arts / physiology
  • Muscle Contraction / physiology*
  • Weight Lifting / physiology
  • Wrestling / physiology*