When’s the last time you saw a plus size woman doing deadlifts?

I don’t mean baby deadlifts with a 40-pound short barbell, but hammering it out at the “cage”?

Why aren’t plus size women seen doing intense deadlifts?

There are several reasons, and a few of them are the same reasons why very few women of ANY size are ever seen doing intense or heavy deadlifts.

But there’s one reason that applies specifically to obese women: They fear that this giant movement will make them get bigger.


However, this fear doesn’t explain why the vast majority of plus-size women don’t even do baby deadlifts.

It could be that overweight women don’t think this particular movement will aid in weight loss.

To them, the movement appears too simple: Bending over, picking a barbell off the floor and then straightening with it without bending the arms, then lowering it.

Some obese women see this as a fruitless action that won’t help them lose weight.

Fat Women and Back Pain

An obese woman who has back pain won’t find what appears to be a back-centric exercise too appealing.

But we can’t assume this is the No. 1 reason large women avoid the deadlift, which, by the way, can cure back pain (depending on the cause).

And though obesity causes back pain in many people, this is far more prevalent in people over age 35. What about all the 20-somethings?

Plus Size Women and Fear of Getting Bigger

This fear is totally unfounded, though it can get fueled when one sees an image of a larger-than-life woman deadlifting what appears to be a 400 pound barbell.

This doesn’t mean deadlifting makes a fat body bigger. It simply means that obesity is common and does not stop many women from doing all sorts of things in life—including competitive deadlifting.

If you saw a fat woman skydiving, would you conclude that skydiving makes a woman’s body huge?

Some fat women are adventuresome and will take up many different activities like hiking, scuba diving, inline skating, karate…and of course, deadlifting.

A plus-size woman may be drawn to the deadlift because it doesn’t cause impact to the joints like some group fitness classes, jogging, tennis, etc.

They then discover how addicting this exercise is and decide to train for competition.

But then others see this as a route to an even bigger body—and they are just SO wrong!


While the deadlift may appear to some women to be too easy for weight loss, others may perceive it as too complicated to learn.

This may stem from observing men prepping for super heavy sets, rubbing their hands in chalk, wearing wrist straps, grunting loudly, letting the barbell crash to the floor, etc.

So a woman concludes this is just not for them, that it’s a “man exercise.”

But women of all people SHOULD learn the deadlift, especially if they want to burn a lot of fat.

The deadlift is a whole body exercise that, when done intensely and with the application of progressive resistance, will shear off fat like a hot knife to a stick of butter. Now what obese woman wouldn’t want that?

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: Freepik.com