How to get Michelle Obama Arms

I have had several requests for “Michelle Obama Arms” this summer (Linda I’m looking at you!).  What is her secret to sculpted and toned – but not overly muscular – arms?

Women’s Health has the scoop—an exclusive interview with the First Lady, and confidential fitness advice from her longtime personal trainer, Cornell McClellan.

“My whole thing is moderation,” Obama tells us. “I have to exercise and eat in a balanced way. If I start ignoring both, I will put on weight.”

Obama is seriously dedicated.  She has averaged three workout sessions a week for the past 12 years, usually at 5:30 a.m.  “She’s truly committed herself to the importance of health and fitness,” says McClellan. “That’s the real secret of her success.”

Here is her Strength Program. Try going through these for one minute each, three sets of each exercise.

Dumbbell Lunge: Stand with feet together holding dumbbells at your side.  Step right foot back until your knee almost touches the floor.  Step feet back together.  Switch sides.

Chest Press: Lying on the floor or an exercise ball, hold dumbbells out to the side arms in an “L” shape.  Press arms up to lightly touch weights together over your chest, then back to the starting position.

Hip Raise (bridge): Start lying on your back, knees bent.  Slowly press into your heels to lift your hips off the ground.  Inhale here, then exhale to come back down.

Bent Over Rows: Stand with feet together holding weights by your side.  Hinge forward at your hips keeping back flat.  Pull your elbows towards the ceiling and draw shoulder blades towards each other.  Slowly lower back to your starting position. 

Side Plank: From hands and knees, come into a plank position either with legs straight or knees on the ground.  Keep your right hand on the ground and spin to your left reaching left arm to the ceiling.  Keep your tummy pulled in and back flat as you hold this position.

Arms Superset – Go through all three of these exercises for 15 to 20 reps three times without stopping to rest.  Tricep Press down, Underhand grip Tricep Press down, One minute hammer (bicep) curl alternating arms. (You need a weight machine for these tricep moves, or you can substitute Dips and Tricep  Overhead Extension with dumbbells).  Tricep Press down: Attach a straight bar to the high pulley of a cable system.  Bring arms by your side with elbows bent.  Slowly straighten and bend your arms.  Try these with an overhand grip and underhand grip.  Hammer Curl: Stand with dumbbells by your side.  Slowly bring right arm up towards the front of your shoulder then back down.  Switch sides.

Mountain Climber (Michelle does 50 reps per leg).  Start in push up position, legs and back straight.  Bring your right knee towards your chest, ball of your foot on the ground.  Quickly switch legs, bringing left leg forward and right leg back.



  1. Nice! We tried them tonight and I think I saw some tears during mountain climbers :).

    Let me know how it goes.

  2. Mountain climbers are awesome. They make your legs burn so quickly. I also like the bear crawl for the same reason. I have most of the recommended arm exercises, and they do make a difference. Lead the way Obama! 🙂

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