Do Top Level Judo Players Do Regular Weight Training?


As an international Judo player, I have spent a lot of time in Japan training and it always surprises me when people state that the Japanese do Judo every single day and that they do not need to do any weights at all.
I always reply by saying, “Have not you seen the photos of Ishii and Nomura without their shirts on ?? What about multiple world champions Ilias Iliadis and Teddy Riner?”

I do not want to sound like a stalker but if you have seen photos of them with their shirts off you would have noticed that you do not get muscles like that by just doing Judo.

Top-level Judo players Clear do weights (and watch their diet) but you notice that they are built like Judo players – not bodybuilders.

All of these Judo players understand that strength alone is not going to win them Judo matches, and either is technique alone.

With BOTH Judo technique, AND a Judo gym program you will be on track to becoming a stronger Judo player.

You need a strength training rule that fits you and your lifestyle. If you do Judo 3 nights a week then you should perform a strength training regime two to three times a week although if you do Judo only once a week you may want to split program and be in the gym two to four days a week. It is important to find a strength training manual that includes a variety of gym programs including upper and lower body splits, full-body programs and even 30-minute express strength programs as well that way you can pick and choose the routine that suits you and your schedule.

For example, because I have been doing a lot of university work I am currently doing Judo only 3 days a week. Therefore I have been following a basic full-body program which includes:

  • Front Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Weighted Chin-ups & Dips
  • Javelin Press

With this routine front squats are great for the core as well as building lower body strength and stability (great for Seoi nage players), while the Javelin press is a great core exercise that integrates upper body strength at the same time.

Weighted dips are great to hit the upper body while deadlifts are one of the best exercises you can do to build back and grip strength simultaneously.
All of these physical aspects are important to Judo players of all ages and ability levels.

I simply perform this workout two to three times a week for six weeks before having one week rest. After my one week rest, I will continue on another full-body strength routine involving slightly different exercises that will benefit my Judo game.

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