Sumo training

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What are the basic training exercises?

The following are the four main exercises.

  1. shiko: Lift each leg in turn and bring it down. This exercise helps to balance a rikishi’s center of gravity and strengthen his legs and back.
  2. teppo: A rikishi faces a steel pillar and hits it with his hands and legs in tum. This is important for strengthening the upper body and especially upper arms, and is also used to improve leg movement.
  3. matawari: Legs are spread open, with the upper body pressed to the floor. This exercise helps prevent injuries.
  4. suriashi: Rikishi move forward, keeping their feet on the ground. A basic exercise for leg movement.

What do rikishi do during training besides these basic exercises?


Two rikishi fight a bout, the loser leaves the ring and the winner stays and chooses his next opponent.

Sanban Geiko

Two rikishi pair up and fight a number of bouts together.

Butsukari Geiko

One rikishi stands firm, and his opponent plows into him full force. Usually one of the last activities of a training session, the purpose is to improve impact and learn how to take blows and prevent injuries.

What is Degeiko ?

A training session held at another stable. It is common if a stable has a small number of rikishi or if a rikishi wants to study a certain opponent.

What is Rengo-Geiko ?

This is a training session among rikishi of the same clan (stables are loosely linked into groups referred to as clans). This lets rikishi practice with a larger number and variety of opponents.

How is a practice ring purified after a training session?

After practice, rikishi of makushita-rank and under purify the ring. They build a small pile of sand in the middle, use a board to even out the sides, and plant a small sacred staff (gohei) on the top. Then they sling salt over it from three specified points around the edge of the ring.

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