I wish to lose weight, and was thinking about doing squats to lose weight because they exercise most of the body. My brother, however, tells me that you shouldn't do squats if you are severely overweight like I am.

Is this true? And if so, what all can go wrong?

  • It probably depends on how severely overweight. If an average person who weighs 200 pounds can dead lift 200 pounds, you'd be a match of total weight at even around as much as 400 pounds doing body-weight-only squats. Mar 14, 2019 at 2:45

2 Answers 2


Well, on the scary side, squats can lead to lower-back problems, spinal compression, torn ligaments in several parts of the body, burst capillaries, blown knees, or compound fractures of the leg. On the other hand, major injuries are rare, and even the minor ones are unlikely with good technique (keeping your knees over your feet and a straight back). And multiple sources say that squats are fine even if you're overweight.

Initially, you'll be doing bodyweight squats, and likely with something to hold onto to ensure proper form and to give you a weigh to bail safely, but you can definitely do squats. As regards losing weight, exercise is good for you, weightlifting will build muscle which burns more energy, and it will help with health issues you may have due to your weight. However, other than a small amount of exercise to kick the body into gear, your primary route of weight loss is going to be decreasing your calories below your Metabolic Base Rate (and only by 400-500 calories per day).

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    Naturally, I had to click through immediately on your first link. :-) Yeah, I don't think his leg normally points that direction, but I must say that other than that it's quite mysterious what's actually going on in that photo. Mar 19, 2016 at 3:58
  • @CareyGregory: At one of my prior workplaces, they had that one posted in the gym with a note that one should always exercise proper form. It stuck with me. Mar 19, 2016 at 13:01

Squats are all right if you're not extremely heavy and they are a decent and easy way to burn calories but don't burn many.

For someone who is overweight reducing your calorie intake to 1800 a day and working on cardio and building lean muscle would be the best.

Running is the best way to lose weight and it helps your metabolism work faster. and lean muscle and water intake will help your metabolism as well.

I would suggest 8-15 pound weights 3 sets of eight to start and do either skier or kettlebell swings as they work the whole body and build lean muscle.

You could start out with 15 pounders then work your way up as you build more muscle and lose more weight; once you get used to it up the weights and do it from 10-20 minutes at a time but not to vigorously.

Also cutting out sugar and just eating healthy and only consuming 1800 calories a day can help you lose weight. Personally I lost 18 pounds just by cutting out sugar and eating less and now it's easier for me to exercise, and only eat healthy proteins like eggs and little amounts of cheese and chicken.

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    Speaking as a runner, I'd argue that it is by no means proven that "Running is the best way to lose weight". Also, if someone is overweight, running is more likely to cause issues than weight lifting IME. Mar 13, 2019 at 16:33

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