Don’t give up hope; it’s a matter of working out correctly, not “fat genes.”

Let me show you how to melt the fat safely and get super fit.

When I was a personal trainer at a health club, I didn’t have my obese and overweight female clients doing the workouts that most of the other trainers had their heavy clients doing.

That’s because the other trainers were having their overweight and obese women working out wrong.

Best weight loss workouts if you’re an obese or overweight woman?

First, I’ll tell you what will fail: floor exercises.

This includes endlessly-held planks, any kind of crunching, leg raising or being on all fours, or anything in which your legs are handling a fitness ball.

These aforementioned exercises will strengthen the core, but will not trigger weight loss.

And, these floor exercises are NOT the only exercises you’re capable of doing, either.

Get off the floor mentality and start thinking differently if you want to lose weight and get fitter than you’ve ever been.

Feeling too big lately? Here are your ideal exercises.

• Deadlift
• Squat
• Kettlebell swing
• Seated chest press
• Leg press
• Standing overhead barbell press
• Squat dumbbell press to overhead press
• Lat pull-down

Deadlift. Even if you’re morbidly obese, you can do this. It works nearly every muscle group, which means more calories burned.

It will improve your fitness dramatically, since many activities of daily living are derivatives of the deadlift motion (below).

Squat. An obese woman may be able to perform the back squat, but if not, you can do squats with the Smith machine or against the wall using a fitness ball (and holding dumbbells as you get more fit).

Squat. Shutterstock/Reshetnikov_art

Squats target the legs and butt, and these muscles burn a lot of calories.

Kettlebell swing. This, too, can be done despite being morbidly obese, and works many muscle groups at once.

Kettlebell swing. Shutterstock/Nata Kotliar ,

Seated chest press. I recommend this over the bench press for very overweight women because if you’re pushing out from a horizontal position, your chest/stomach girth is less likely to cut short the range of motion.

Chest press

If you bench press, the range of motion will be cut by your chest/stomach girth, and you’ll end up doing incomplete repetitions.

Leg press. As far as positioning, just about anybody can do this, though depending on the girth of your midsection, you’ll need to have your feet and knees spaced very widely apart.

Leg press. Shutterstock/Aleksey Boyko

But wide spacing is perfectly okay, because in a real life situation where you must squat down to pick something heavy up from the ground, it’s better for your feet to be widely spaced.

Standing overhead barbell press. Morbid obesity will not impede you with this. You are on a perfectly equal playing field with a thinner woman. As you become stronger at pushing something over your head, your confidence will soar.

Overhead barbell press. Shutterstock/Comeback Images

Squat dumbbell press to overhead press. This is more suitable for a woman of overweight proportions rather than severe obesity.

I recommend dumbbells heavy enough to complete 8-12 reps. Take one minute rests in between. Complete four sets.

Squat to overhead press. Shutterstock/BLACKDAY

Warning: This routine can be very draining, but it’s over in about five minutes and will leave your metabolism elevated even after you’re finished, not to mention dramatically increase fitness level.

Lat pull-down. I recommend this over the seated row because chest/belly girth will not shorten the range of motion.

The weight should be heavy enough to prevent the mistake of pulling the bar below chest level and bending the forearms to parallel to the floor.

Sharon Smith, 71, demonstrates the lat pull-down.

If you’re able to bend the forearms, the resistance is WAY too light and you’re wasting your time.


• Do the exercises twice a week.

• Four sets each.

• If you can do more than 12 reps, the resistance is too light.

• If you can’t complete eight reps, the resistance is too heavy.

• Take one minute to 90 seconds’ rest in between specific exercises.

I can go on in more detail regarding the configuration of sets, rests, days off, muscles worked, etc., with this workout plan, but the information here is a superb starting point for overweight and obese women who have been struggling to lose weight.

Sharon Smith has been in the fitness industry for 20+ years and specializes in the over-40 client.
Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 



Top image: Shutterstock/ YAKOBCHUK VIACHESLAV
Second image: Shutterstock/SerdyukPhotography