Russian sambo was the official sport of the USSR prior to 1940, and has produced a long list of high-level mixed martial arts performers, none more notable than current UFC P4P king Khabib Nurmegomedov.

This was the first study to date looking at rapid weight loss (RWL) practices specifically in sambo athletes, and was based on rapid weight loss questionnaire data from the 2020 world sambo championships in Serbia. 199 (132 male, 67 female) athletes participated in the study.

The athletes on average cut weight 4.14 times in the last season, cut on average 5.27kg (8% body mass), regained on average 6.79kg (9.5%) before competition and cut for 11.9 days before competition. Athletes reported on average starting to cut weight at age 15.8, and described the biggest cut of their career to be an average of 10.37kg (14.5%).

Many athletes (60%) described the coach as being influential or very influential in prescribing weight cutting methods, while dieticians were only used by 37.4%, and were considered very influential in only 6.3% of athlete’s weight cutting. 

Concerning was the fact that 19.5% of athletes reported sometimes or always using diuretics, and 27% reported sometimes or always using laxatives.

  1. Drid P, Figlioli F, Lakicevic N, Gentile A, Stajer V, Raskovic B, et al. Patterns of Rapid Weight Loss in Elite Sambo Athletes.


About the author

Sam Gilbert

Sam Gilbert is a registered physiotherapist with the Australian Physiotherapy Association (APA) and certified strength and conditioning specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA). He holds a bachelor’s degree in Physiotherapy from Latrobe university (Melbourne, Australia) and a master’s degree in Exercise Science (Strength and Conditioning) from Edith Cowan University (Perth, Australia).

A 3rd Dan black belt in Shinkyokushinkai Karate under the World Karate Organisation (WKO), Sam participated for over 20 years in full contact competition, winning multiple state and national titles, and culminating in a 4th place in the heavyweight division of the Shinkyokushinkai World Cup in 2009.

As the co-founder and clinical director of Club 360, the premier multi-disciplinary health and fitness center in Tokyo, Japan, Sam has combined his practical experience with an in-depth study of sports performance in relation to combat sports, and strives to help other combat athletes reach their full competitive potential, whilst at the same time decreasing injury risk and increasing competition and training potential.

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