Why are sumo-wrestlers so fat?

Wednesday 22nd July 2009
Submitted by Len Fisher
Anthony Dee, Dublin

It's to do with Newton's second law of motion, which can be written as acceleration = force/mass. The heavier you are, the more force an opponent has to exert to get you moving and push you out of the ring, or to lift and throw you. The heaviest wrestler ever weighed 267kg, which no weightlifter has ever lifted.
As much of the weight as possible needs to be muscle, rather than fat, to provide the necessary force. To achieve this, wrestlers eat massive quantities of high-protein chankonabe - a chicken, fish and tofu (and sometimes horse) stew. A wrestler who could get most of this weight in his feet, and retain body strength, would be impossible to topple.

Will my eyes pop out if I don't close them when I sneeze?
previous qanda Article
Bullet-proof glass
next qanda Article
Q&A Tabs

It’s not just humans that enjoy a smooch; lots of animals have courtship behaviours involving the mouth. Pigeons touch beaks, cats and dogs nuzzle each other, male fruit flies lick the...

It depends on how high (or low) you set the bar of fluency. Ziad Fazah, born in Liberia, brought up in Beirut and now living in Brazil, claims to be the world's greatest living polyglot, with...

Viagra is the brand name for sildenafil citrate, a drug that was originally studied for use in patients with high blood pressure or heart disease. It works by blocking the action of an enzyme...

Phlegm is the mucous secretion of the respiratory passages. The cilia cells that line these passages are continually driving the phlegm upward to the throat, where it triggers the swallow reflex...

Trees release oxygen when they use energy from sunlight to make glucose from carbon dioxide and water. Like all plants, trees also use oxygen when they split glucose back down to release energy to...

All female mammals have a clitoris, the sole purpose of which is to react to sexual stimulation, and presumably this stimulation has evolved to be pleasurable for most species. But establishing...

To create a sound, we have to set matter - whether it's a gas like air, a liquid or even a solid material - in regular motion, creating a wave of specific frequencies, which we hear as a sound of...

Mirrors don’t reverse left and right either – that’s just our interpretation of what happens. Your reflection in the mirror is actually reversed front to back – if you have...

Discovered by an American student named Gary Flandro in the mid-1960s, the slingshot manoeuvre usually involves spacecraft briefly 'coat-tailing' a planet orbiting the Sun, extracting some of the...

The ice disappears because the wind blows away water molecules that have evaporated or 'sublimed' from the ice, so the ice slowly shrinks in size. The molecules that escape are those with the...