How to Get Arms Like Michelle Obama Because She's Seriously Strong

michelle obama
Photo: Ethan Miller/Staff/Getty Images

The former First Lady has some seriously impressive tri's and bi's. Try this Michelle Obama arms workout to get White House-worthy guns yourself.

01 of 07

The Michelle Obama Arm Workout

Michelle Obama Hosted a Bootcamp Weekend with Her Friends

Michelle Obama has demonstrated success as a career woman, wife, and mother, but when you look at photos of the former First Lady, yu probably can't help but notice one thing immediately: her strong AF arms. In fact, you can see her proudly show them off (as she should) in sleeveless dresses at formal functions, on the covers of magazines, and on tour for her 2018 book, Becoming.

Obama, like her husband, has said she's been an avid exerciser for years. So, what makes Michelle Obama’s arms so spectacular? Defined shoulders, strong biceps, and tight triceps.

"You need to take a two-pronged approach to achieve beautiful arms," says Kathy Smith, a personal trainer in Park City, Utah. "You need to activate the muscle with strength training and do cardio to lower your body fat."

02 of 07

Michelle Obama Arm Workout Guide

Grabbing dumbbells

How to do the Michelle Obama arms workout: Complete these 5 exercises 3 times a week (it only takes 15 minutes!). Do this entire sequence twice through without pausing between exercises. In two weeks, you should begin to notice buffer arms, shoulders, and upper back.

What you’ll need: A pair of dumbbells; 3- or 5-pounds for beginners and 8- to 10-pound for advanced exercisers. Two of the moves only use your body weight as resistance, which is actually even more challenging on your muscles than using dumbbells. (These best bodyweight exercises will convince you this is true!)

03 of 07

Sun Salutation

What Is a Yoga Sun Salutation and How Do I Do It?

Contrary to what you might think, yoga can be more than a gentle, head-clearing walk in the park. "You're lifting your own bodyweight in some poses," which works your arms, says Smith. "The hour class passes and you don't even realize you've spent half the class on your hands, holding poses such as Chaturanga (aka triceps push-up) and Downward Facing Dog."

  • Stand with big toes touching and heels slightly apart; outer edges of feet are parallel. Relax arms on either side of body, palms open.
  • Inhale, lifting arms straight up, and take palms together to form a prayer over head. Exhale, taking prayer down the midline of the body while folding into a forward bend.
  • Inhale, coming to a long flat spine with fingertips on the ground.
  • Exhale, planting palms shoulder-width apart on the ground.
  • Jump back to Chaturanga (hold body halfway between a plank and the ground, like a triceps push-up, where elbows graze the ribcage).
  • Inhale, pulling chest through arms and flip the tops of feet to the mat to land in upward-facing dog.
  • Exhale, flipping over toes, lifting hips—keeping legs long—and pressing chest back between arms. Reach heels toward the ground for downward dog.
  • Inhale, coming high to the balls of feet, softening knees, and looking between hands. Exhale, piking hips up and jumping to the front of the mat.
  • Inhale to a long flat spine, and exhale to a forward bend.
  • Inhale, hinging from hips with a long spine to come up to stand. Reach arms all the way up to high prayer, above your head. Exhale prayer to the center of the chest.

Do 6 reps of this flow.

04 of 07

Shoulder Press

shoulder press
Mike Harrington/Getty Images

This Michelle Obama arms workout can help strengthen your back muscle for better posture, too. "Muscles such as the rhomboids and rear deltoids are the 'forgotten' muscle groups because you can't see them in the mirror," says Smith. "If you don't strengthen them too, then your upper body won't be strong."

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees not locked, with core engaged. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, just outside of shoulders with palms facing forward, and elbows in a goal post shape.
  • Exhale and press dumbbells directly overhead, stacking wrists directly over shoulders and biceps are next to ears.
  • With control, lower the dumbbells follow the same path to return to starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps.

05 of 07

Dumbbell Curls

Day 12: Biceps Curl
Peter Ardito
  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees not locked, with core engaged.
  • Holding dumbbells in hands with wrists flexed, form a straight line from knuckles to elbow.
  • Engage biceps to curl the dumbbells up to almost shoulder height (moving just the lower half of the arm).
  • With control, lower back to the bottom of the movement. (

Do 8 to 12 reps.

06 of 07

Triceps Dip

triceps dip

No equipment? No problem. This Michelle Obama arm exercise strengthens the backs of your arms using just your body weight as resistance.

  • Sit on a stable chair with hands on the edge next to hips, fingers pointing forward.
  • Press into palms to extend arms, lift hips off the bench, and step feet a few inches forward to shift hips in front of the seat
  • Inhale and bend elbows straight back (don’t allow elbows to flare out) to lower body until elbows form a 90-degree angle.
  • Exhale and press into palms. Engage triceps and straighten arms to return to starting position.

Do 8 to 12 reps.

07 of 07

Staggered Push-Ups

Day 17 Part 2: Triceps Push-Up
Peter Ardito
  • Start in high plank position (or in a kneeling plank as if at the top of a kneeling push-up), with hands directly under shoulders, core engaged, forming a straight, sloped line from shoulders to heels (or knees).
  • Place left hand slightly wider and a few inches forward than standard push-up position, keeping right hand directly under your shoulder.
  • Keep right elbow tucked close to your side as you lower to for a 90-degree angle with arms.
  • Exhale and press into palms as you straighten arms to return to starting position.
  • Complete all reps on one side, then switch. (Up Next: The Workout You Need to Get Arms Like Kate Hudson)

Do 8 to 12 reps per side.

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