What can I do to get shoulders and arms like Michelle Obama?

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Wendy Batts
Fitness
Great arms are not isolated to the oval office.  To get lean arms like Michelle Obama you have to challenge the muscles of the arms and shoulders, as well as the entire body with a variety of resistance training exercises while also monitoring calorie intake to ensure that you are eating less calories than you are burning.  By creating a caloric deficit, the body will be forced to use stored body fat for energy, including the fat from your arms.  Once body fat levels drop significantly, the muscles in your arms should begin to show, giving you that lean look you desire.  A couple of arm exercises you can do are the single leg 2 arm cable curl and  2 arm cable pushdowns for 2-3 sets, approximately 12-20 repetitions per set.  For great shoulders, try the single-leg arm V raise and the ball combo 1 exercises.  Perform 2-3 sets for 12-20 repetitions using a light weight.
I’m pretty sure Michelle Obama got those sculpted deltoids from carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders!  Fortunately for you, you don’t have to take on such daunting responsibilities. You could simply lift a couple dumbbells over your head with similar results. Or, you could do an exercise where you take your arms straight over your head in front of you so they end up in a Y-shape with your thumbs pointing behind you, and lower them back down slowly. For your arms, you just cannot go wrong with dumbbell bicep curls and cable triceps extensions.  All lifts should be done in good form, without joint pain, and to fatigue.  As long as you stay consistent you too can press the world overhead in one hand and carry a remarkably stylish pocketbook in the other.

There is no denying that First Lady Michele Obama is a great role model when it comes to health and fitness and her toned arms have become a popular topic of conversation among many. To get a nicely toned upper body like our First Lady you will need to incorporate regular cardio, strength training, and a proper diet into your fitness routine. In order to tone our body we need to increase muscle mass along with decreasing body fat. To decrease body fat you need to burn more calories than you take in. Cardiovascular exercise helps to burn calories while strength training helps to sculpt our muscles and give them a nice defined shape. Even though your arms may be your trouble spot a good strength training program will still focus on all the major muscle groups in the body. Women should also not be afraid to lift heavy weights. Women do not have the high testosterone levels that men do, therefore women will never be able to get as big as men unless some kind of supplement is taken. Choose a weight that makes it very difficult for you to complete three for four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of any exercise. If you could continue to perform more repetitions in a set then you need to increase the weight. Some great exercises you can add into your strength training routine that will help sculpt the upper body and arms include lat pull downs, push ups, seated cable rows, standing cable chest press, dumbbell shoulder press, dumbbell lateral raises, resistance band biceps curls, and cable triceps extensions.

Arm exercises alone are not enough to rival the amazing arms of our first lady.  Similar to trying to reduce abdominal fat or firm up your thighs, you can’t spot reduce and just eliminate fat from the arms; you must train to get rid of body fat from the whole body.

Both cardio exercises and strength training are needed to speed up metabolism and burn body fat.  Many women tend to shy away from strength training because they are afraid of big muscles.  Women don’t have the hormones to develop huge muscles by strength training, unless they’re working out to an extreme or taking steroids.

To begin, I recommend cardio activity done at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, five times a week or vigorous intensity cardio for 20 minutes, 3 times per week.  For those ready to train at a higher level, I recommend interval training, which is a system of high-intensity work marked by short, but regularly repeated periods of hard exercise interspersed with periods of recovery, on most cardio days. 

Strength training increases muscle mass and revs up the body to burn fat at a higher rate, allowing for the lean muscle definition to show.  Try strength training at least twice per week, on nonconsecutive days.  Even though your goal may be better looking arms, it is still important to target all the major muscles and movement patterns of the body.  If solid looking arms are truly important to you, you can add in some biceps curls, dips, front raises, and lat raises.  Adding some rows or pulldowns can help develop the muscles of the upper and mid back which can help the appearance of the shoulder region.

The final component is to maintain a healthy weight.  Do not confuse this with never-ending dieting.  A well balanced diet, being cautious of processed foods, avoiding foods high in fat, and foods with poor nutritional value will help keep your body looking fit.

Remember, everyone’s body is different and muscle definition can take a while to show, so don’t get discouraged if the results don’t show after just two weeks.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.