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Weight training can get you those first lady arms
From her fashion to her physique, Michelle Obama is setting trends with her updated classic looks and sculpted arms.
A recent cover of Vogue magazine shows Obama in one of the sleeveless dresses she's become famous for, which of course show off her arms.
And it's her arms that have some women doing a little extra work to look good in sleeveless clothes.
The look has helped inspire Yuman Marie Puckett to focus on the area, she said, to help get ready for the summer and the tank tops that come with it.
"She has beautiful arms, and she loves to show them off," Puckett said about Obama.
Puckett said a lot of friends want the look, too.
With the help of trainer Nancy Patterson, director of Club Yuma, a local fitness club, Puckett incorporates weight training that targets the arms into her workout.
"Everybody wants nice arms," Patterson said. "It's actually really easy to see results."
Patterson said four exercises can help women get arms like Michelle Obama's - and they can easily be done at home.
To start, Patterson said bicep curls are an easy way to gain muscle.
Using free weights, five or 10 pounds for a beginner, Patterson and Puckett start with the arms extended and the inside of the arm facing out and curl the weight toward the chest.
And forget counting repetitions, Patterson said: Do it until you feel the burn. That way you're more likely to push yourself harder and not stop after doing a certain amount.
She said doing push-ups is a good exercise that works a lot of different muscles in the upper body such as the chest, triceps, shoulders and back.
Facing Puckett, Patterson does a modified push-up from her knees and after every one, the pair give each other high five. She said push-ups are tough, especially for women. And the high fives in between help motivate them.
Next, Patterson and Puckett do a lateral deltoid raise using the free weights. With their arms at their sides, they raise their arms up, as if to make the letter T, and end with turning the weights down, as if dumping out a cup of water.
Finally, to help target a typical problem area, the flab under the arm, Puckett uses a chair and her body weight to help get the job done.
First, she sits in the chair on her thumbs. Patterson said doing this will help ensure proper spacing, and performing the exercise correctly is important - not only for safety but to work the right muscles.
With her hands holding on to the edge of the chair, Puckett puts her legs at a 90-degree angle and drops her body down, creating a 90-degree angle with her forearm and elbow. Patterson said to make sure to keep your back end close to the chair.
To increase the workout, Puckett extends her legs out and rests on her heels.
Patterson said this type of exercise also helps produce quick results.
Along with the weight training, she said nutrition is an essential part of anyone's plan. And it's also important to incorporate cardiovascular exercise.
There have been other women before Michelle Obama who have envy-worthy arms.
Patterson said celebrities Kelly Ripa, Madonna and Angela Bassett are three examples of women who've worked at it.
But one of the most important parts of exercising is tailoring your routine to fit you, Patterson said.
It's easy for people to stay fit if they're enjoying it.
"As long as they find something they like," Patterson said.
Stephanie A. Wilken can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6857.