What Are the Best Martial Arts for Overweight People?

Our health is important if we want to live long and happy lives. Martial arts are relatively intense sports that are physically challenging, and they can help you lose weight. So, what are the best martial arts for overweight people?

The best martial art for overweight people looking to lose weight is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, as their weight would be a big advantage when pinning people down and passing the guard. But overweight people could also learn Muay Thai, as it is the most cardio-intensive martial art there is.

But those aren’t the only options.

Let’s have a closer look at what martial arts are good for weight loss and what martial arts overweight people can do without injuring themselves. Or even which ones are better suited for larger martial arts practitioners.

How does Muay Thai work for overweight people?

Muay Thai is a fighting style also known as Thai boxing. It is an intense martial art that focuses on kicks, punches, and elbow strikes and will boost overall strength burn a large number of calories, and provide a great cardio workout.

That being said, it is intense and exhausting.

So for martial arts practitioners with very large body composition, it might be best to start with something gentler or less intense and work your way up to Muay Thai.

Muay Thai is a great martial art and a huge part of MMA training.

But it’s not for the faint of heart or those with previous injuries. Training will consist of a lot of striking techniques done on a heavy bag or against a partner wearing sparring gear. It is intense, and quite a workout.

But you will boost core strength and burn a lot of calories.

Can an overweight person learn martial arts?

An overweight person can learn martial arts and get very good at them. However, if you are overweight, you are more prone to injuries. And techniques like falling and rolling properly may be more difficult.

When you are large, you are less flexible than if you are thin and nimble. You should also check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.

This means you may struggle to do some of the techniques in martial arts. If you are overweight, you should make sure you don’t rush yourself. Don’t try and do a head kick in your first week of training. Look to gradually improve.

Overweight people who have no prior experience in combat sports should stay away from sports with a lot of falling over, such as Judo, BJJ, and Wrestling. This is because the bigger you are, the harder you fall, and the last thing you want is to break a bone or get a concussion because you hit the ground too hard.

Judo has a lot of advantages. But there’s also 1 huge con!

If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of Judo, check out this recent article on my site. I talk about the objectives of Judo, Judo injuries, and how to stay safe while training martial arts.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

If you are overweight, you may injure your training partners with your strength. If you have large arms and legs, your strikes will have more momentum. If you have a lot of body weight, people may struggle with being pinned down by you.

Large people have to be considerate training partners.

Overweight people should stay away from martial arts that require big, explosive movements like Taekwondo, Karate, and Wrestling. It is best for overweight people to do a sport like boxing, where you stay on your two feet and just punch.

If you are overweight and want to improve your balance, try Tai Chi.

If you are overweight and not looking to lose weight, then try out BJJ. Your mass will be a huge advantage, as you will be good at pinning people down and very hard to pin down.

Is Wing Chun good for overweight people?

Wing Chun is excellent for overweight people. Wing Chun is one of the many forms of Kung Fu.

Kung Fu is an umbrella term used to describe almost all types of Chinese martial arts. Wing Chun is one of the more active types of Kung Fu and what Bruce Lee practiced originally before developing his own form of martial arts called Jeet Kune Do.

At the dojo I ran for 8 years (and still train at), we had an instructor with a black belt in Wing Chun. And he is also overweight.

I don’t say that to shame him, and I won’t name him. But his weight never affected his ability to punch, kick, or enter the stances associated with Wing Chun.

Wing Chun, among other things, is known for lightening fast strikes and kicks, and his ability to execute those was never hampered by his weight.

Does weight matter in martial arts?

Weight absolutely matters in martial arts. Larger martial artists hit harder than smaller guys, and they also have a low center of mass. Large people are also able to take harder strikes and have a huge strength advantage when grappling.

Techniques are one of the most important things in martial arts, but it is not a golden ticket to winning every time. If a BJJ black belt fought a gorilla, who do you think would win?

When you are large, your limbs are heavy, so your strikes have more momentum.

This means you can hit much harder than a smaller person, and you could probably knock someone out with a single punch if they are 40 lbs lighter than you.

Overweight people have a low center of mass, which makes them very hard to take down in Wrestling, Judo, and BJJ. In addition to that, the stocky, strong limbs of overweight people are very difficult to manipulate, so overweight people are hard to finish with chokes and joint locks.

Is Judo good for big guys?

As a general rule, Judo is good for big guys, as they have a low center of mass, strong grips, and good explosive power, which makes them good at throwing people and defending against being thrown. However, big guys will hit the mats very hard when they fall, and they could get injured.

The ideal body type for Judo, Wrestling, and BJJ is as follows:

  • Slightly shorter than average – have a low center of mass, so you are more stable and harder to take down and throw.
  • Thick forearms – So that you have very strong grips.
  • Thick neck – This makes you very hard to choke and helps you keep good posture when you are on someone’s guard or if they are pulling on your head when wrestling.
  • Strong torso – Most of the explosive power in Judo and Wrestling comes from the quads and hips. A strong torso will make your throws very powerful.

If you are a big guy, I recommend trying Judo only if you have prior experience in a rough and tumble sport.

If you have wrestled before or played football, you will probably handle Judo fine. But if you are overweight and have never done sports before, you have a high risk of getting injured in Judo.

Is there a weight limit in martial arts?

There are weight classes in sport-oriented martial arts to make matches fair and keep all participants safe. However, there is no maximum weight limit. In some martial arts, such as BJJ, they have an absolute division, where everyone of all sizes competes against each other.

And in classes, especially those focused on self-defense, there are no weight classes or restrictions.

Large people could injure small people very easily, so weight classes were introduced to martial arts to make fights fair.

In striking sports such as boxing, the weight classes usually increase in 5-pound increments. For example, you will have a 141-145 lbs division, and the one above that will be 146-150 lbs. This is because, in striking sports, a slight discrepancy in weight can make a world of difference in striking power.

In grappling sports such as BJJ, the weight classes usually increase in 10-pound increments.

For example, you will have a 141-150 lbs division and then a 151-160 lbs division. This is because, in grappling, small differences in weight don’t really make much of a difference.

In fact, most BJJ competitions will have an open class, sometimes called the absolute division.

This is where competitors are only divided by their rank, and you get guys that are 130 lbs fighting guys that are 200 lbs! Almost all martial arts have an ultra-heavy division that has no maximum weight limit.

Some people say that BJJ isn’t worth learning because there is no striking.

That does not mean that BJJ is only a defensive martial art. Check out this recent article on my site about the offensive techniques of BJJ and why BJJ is one of the first martial arts you should learn.

Just click that link to read it on my site.

Is Krav Maga good for overweight people?

Krav Maga, which, unlike traditional martial arts classes, is really more of a self-defense system, is an excellent way for overweight people and helping get to or maintain a healthy weight.

Krav Maga gyms are often next to or inside of CrossFit gyms and there’s a natural correlation between the two.

So you can expect the warm-up drills to be an intense full-body workout. Then you have the Krav Maga self defense curriculum.

This focuses on self-defense skills such as elbow strikes, groin kicks, and strikes that work the entire body and is a great way and fun way not only to learn valuable street fight tactics but also to boost your overall level of fitness.

So if you want to lose weight, or not have your weight affect your ability to train, and you want to be ready for dangerous situations, Krav Maga could be an excellent choice.

What is the best martial art for weight loss?

The best martial art for weight loss is Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, as it is cardio-intensive aerobic exercise class and forces your body to use aerobic and anaerobic respiration. Muay Thai classes are a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT), and this helps to burn fat.

Of course, regular boxing is fine too as it encompasses many of the same workouts and benefits.

Aerobic respiration means ‘with oxygen’, and this is how your body produces energy for low-intensity, sustained periods of exercise, such as jogging.

Anaerobic respiration means ‘without oxygen’, and this is how your body produces energy for high-intensity, short bursts of exercise.

Muay Thai is great for losing weight, as it forces you to use some explosive exercise and some sustained steady exercise. By the end of a Muay Thai class, your whole body will feel fatigued!

I’m fat and out of shape, I can’t do Karate!


Overweight people can train martial arts. However, they should select a martial art their body can handle based on their athletic ability. If you are overweight and have never been active, training Taekwondo, Karate, and other sports with dynamic techniques could lead to injury.

It is best for overweight people to do a sport such as BJJ or Muay Thai, where you don’t have to be as flexible and are less likely to get injured.

Overweight people can join martial arts competitions, as there is a weight class to cater to everyone.

When training with smaller people, overweight people should be careful not to hit their training partners too hard or put their full body weight on them when pinning them down.

Image by Bruno /Germany from Pixabay and Image by Jörg Hamel from Pixabay


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Top Related Posts