Super Sumo Wrestlers

Super Sumo Wrestlers

Sumo wrestlers, world renowned for their great girth, are becoming too heavy for their own legs, say sports physiologists in Japan. New Scientist magazine reports that the incidence of injuries in the two top sumo categories doubled during the past five years, prompting a panel of physiologists to compare the body fat and leg strength of 50 wrestlers. “A quarter of them didn’t have strong enough leg muscles to support their bulk properly,” states the report. The top sumo wrestlers’ average weight rose from 280 pounds [126 kg] in 1974 to 340 pounds [156 kg] in 1999. “It’s partly related to the increase in the average size of the Japanese in general,” says sumo commentator Doreen Simmonds. But greater weight does not necessarily improve performance. “The ideal sumo shape is pear-shaped,” notes Simmonds. “Low hips, massive thighs and oak-like calves.”

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