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[EXPLAINED] 5 Best Martial Arts If You’re Overweight

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Martial arts offer a variety of physical health benefits for those who practice them.

These high-intensity activities are a great way to lose weight, have fun, and learn important self-defense skills. 

Here are the best martial arts to practice if you’re overweight:

  1. Boxing
  2. Muay Thai
  3. Wrestling
  4. Jiu-Jitsu
  5. Mixed Martial Arts

Let’s look at what these martial are and why they’re good for overweight people looking to get healthier.

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best martial art if you're overweight


The martial sport of boxing needs no introduction.

This fast-paced combat skill uses various systemized methods of training fighters for both offense and defense.

Fighters learn to hone their skills using a variety of punching styles, combinations, and fast footwork.

Boxing is one of the oldest fighting sports and tests a fighter’s ability in various ways, including cardio.

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How Does Boxing Help With Losing Weight?

Boxing forces fighters to stay alert on their feet at all times while moving and reacting to their opponent’s rhythm and attacks. This high-intensity cardio activity keeps your heart rate up for extended periods of time. Engaging most of the body’s muscles, and helps to rapidly burn calories and lose weight.

Boxing is known around the world and can be practiced just about anywhere.

Don’t have and a punching bag or boxing gloves to train at home?

Not to worry, you can shadowbox and it’s free!

Boxing is a great choice if you want to lose weight while also learning useful self-defense techniques.

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Muay Thai

Muay Thai is considered to be Thailand’s national combat sport.

Muay Thai fighters use most of their body to deliver brutal blows to their opponents.

Including punches, kicks, elbows, and knees.

For this reason, Muay Thay is also known as the Art of Eight Limbs.

It’s a great martial art that engages several muscle groups.

How Does Muay Thai Help With Losing Weight

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How Does Muay Thai Help With Losing Weight?

Muay Thai is a kicking-centric martial art, so fighters rely mainly on quick footwork to avoid their opponent’s strikes and set themselves up to return blows or kicks. This intense legwork exercises many lower body and core muscle groups and leads to the rapid calorie burn of up to 600 calories per session.

Muay Thai is a great choice if you want to lose weight and build toned leg muscles.

In addition to this, Muay Thai is a very fun sport to do and watch.

Give this martial art a try if you want to impress your friends and family.


Wrestling is a popular combat sport that relies on different grappling techniques.

Wrestlers are usually sorted into different classes and are expected to take on fierce opponents who will attempt to beat each other using one or more of the following techniques:

  1. Pins
  2. Throws
  3. Takedown
  4. Joint locks
  5. Clinch fighting

Skilled wrestlers must learn how to use their body weight for leverage and position themselves for the perfect takedown.

Wrestling is one of the oldest martial sports and has been part of the Olympics since its inception.

This sport offers many physical health benefits for those willing to put in the effort.

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How Does Wrestling Help With Losing Weight?

How Does Wrestling Help With Losing Weight?

Wrestling makes use of the entire body. This sport is great for working out various muscle groups and becoming toned all over. It is especially useful for building core muscles which help drive movement in other areas. Wrestling’s fast pace makes it a great cardio workout.

Wrestlers draw strength using breathing techniques before moving in to take down their opponents.

It can also be incredibly fun, provided you have the right training partner.

Wrestling is a great choice for anyone that wants to develop their core muscles and get toned quickly.

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Jiu-Jitsu has been practiced in many cultures.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was developed by a pair of Brazilian brothers in the 1920s.

This is a ground-based martial art that utilizes leverage with the help of pressure, angles, and timing.

It focuses on taking down, controlling, and submitting your opponent using various submission holds and chokes.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters perform well in mixed martial art settings because this sport focuses on self-defense.

Fighters are often able to take down larger and stronger opponents simply by utilizing the right techniques.

How Does Jiu Jitsu Help With Losing Weight?

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How Does Jiu-Jitsu Help With Losing Weight?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is great for losing weight because like wrestling, it requires a lot of strength and stamina to do. In Jiu-Jitsu you are fighting someone else’s strength, momentum, and skill. All of these combined factors make for a really good workout, burning hundreds of calories per session.

You can use our handy calorie calculator to find out exactly how many calories you would burn during a Jiu-Jitsu class.

Jiu-Jitsu is relatively easy to pick up, even for people who are out of shape.

The right Jiu-Jitsu routine can help you lose weight over time as well as teach you vital self-defense skills.

So this combat sport is definitely worth considering.

Mixed Martial Arts

Mixed martial arts (MMA) is one of the most recent developments in martial sports.

Popular MMA promotions in the UFC, Bellator MMA, ONE Championship, and many more.

MMA is quickly becoming one of the most popular sports in the world.

It utilizes techniques from a variety of different martial arts including:

  • Wrestling
  • Boxing
  • Karate
  • Judo
  • Kickboxing

This is the ultimate contact sport because fighters can hone their skills from different areas.

This includes punches, kicks, knee strikes, elbow strikes, holds, pins, sweeps, and throws.

Fighters must anticipate their opponent’s moves and respond appropriately within split seconds.

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How Do Mixed Martial Arts Help With Losing Weight

How Do Mixed Martial Arts Help With Losing Weight?

MMA is great for losing weight because it offers an intense workout involving all of the above martial arts like kicking, punching, and grappling. The right MMA program also includes workout routines for building different muscle groups. A single hour of MMA practice can help you burn up to 500 calories.

MMA has been growing in popularity in recent years because it gives fighters the freedom to train however they please.

If you want to lose weight quickly, MMA gives you the option of using a fighting style and routine that works for you.

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If you’re looking for a way to have fun while learning to defend yourself and also losing weight, then choosing one of the martial arts I mentioned in this article will get you started.

There’s no reason losing weight needs to be boring or slow, martial arts combined with the right diet will get you to your goal a lot faster.


Photo by Jonathan Tomas

Photo by Britannica

Photo by Rolling Stone

Photo by Vladislav Bychkov

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