Michelle Obama: Her Toned Arms Are the Buzz

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Michelle Obama People Magazine cover.

After her appearance in the State of Union address in February, the cover Vogue magazine in March, bare arms in the official White House portrait, and a People Magazine interview; the upper arms of Michelle Obama, 44, are the buzz.

Michelle Obama has said she exercises in 90-minute workout three times a week with a personal trainer and told People magazine that during an average day in the White House, she and President Barack Obama get up about 5:30 a.m. and usually work out and have breakfast.

A friend Sandy Matthews, an executive at a children’s advocacy firm in Chicago who used to work out with Michelle in early morning workouts, reports that the first lady is a fan of cross-training, a mix of strength and cardio exercises usually involving weights, the treadmill, the stair-stepper or a spin bike.

In a speech in early 2008, Michelle Obama told an audience at the National Congress of Black Women in Washington:

The saddest reality is that we as black women still don’t love ourselves enough. We don’t eat right, ladies, we don’t exercise, we don’t demand healthy relationships, we wait too long to address our health care problems…So the question that we must ask ourselves as black women is, ‘Are we really ready for fundamental change?’

Michelle Obama, 44, an accelerated student who skipped second grade, worked as a high-level administrator at the University of Chicago Medical Center before she took leave to help her husband’s campaign and eventually because First Lady. Working mothers performance issues of time management and multitasking are top issues as first lady.

The arms issue isn’t without some controversy. Some say that because the State of the Union Address was formal and the season was winter, a sleeveless dress showing her arms was out of place. Reaction also ranges from “good for her for showing off her assets” to “who cares … we have much bigger problems to worry about.”

Michelle Obama: Official White House Portrait (photograph)
Michelle Obama: Official White House Portrait (photo)
Michelle Obama deltoids and upper arms in official White House portrait
Michelle Obama deltoids and upper arms in official White House portrait

Some helpful exercises that promote upper arm fitness and definition …

Front Raises — Anterior Deltoid exercise (standing preferred for this exercise).

Front Raises can also be done with exercise tubing, such as SPRI tubing (info from CoolFitnessGifts.com).

Lateral Raises — Middle Deltoid exercise (standing preferred for this exercise).

Lateral Raises can also be done with exercise tubing, such as SPRI Tubing (info from CoolFitnessGifts.com).

Dumbbell Lying Lateral Raise — Posterior Deltoid exercise.

For people with bad backs or a big stomach who aren’t comfortable lying face down on an incline bench there is an exercise called Posterior Raises. These are performed one arm at a time, bent over a bench. Dumbbell hangs straight down while opposite arm supports upper body (hand on low bench). Hips are bent 90 degrees, knees bent and back is about parallel with the floor and parallel with the length of the bench. The arm holding the dumbbell is lifted with an almost straight elbow — similar in action to the Dumbbell Lying Lateral Raise, but one arm at a time.

Other exercises that help develop the shoulders include …
Biceps curls, bench press, shoulder shrugs

Cardio training — running, treadmill running, treadmill walking with increased grade, elliptical training.