This first lady is right to bare arms |

This first lady is right to bare arms

Rhonda Beckham

Jonah M. Kessel / Tahoe Daily Tribune

Look forward to lots of sleeveless styles this spring as first lady Michelle Obama sets the trend. Her arms should be considered a national treasure. She loves to show them and with good reason.

So, what makes those arms so spectacular? Defined shoulders, strong biceps and a lack of triceps flab.

Obama claims to have been a regular exerciser for years and even now squeezes in early-morning workouts in the White House with her husband before dropping the kids off at school and going on to a busy day of meetings and events.

Strong, toned arms are not only nice to look at but also super-sexy, as they imply independence and self-confidence.

Females do not naturally have upper-body strength like males do. Our power is in our lower body. It’s important to build and keep upper-body strength no matter what your age. We need it for functional living.

I have all of my clients perform functional upper body exercises so they can continue to do the things they love to do. I haven’t worked with a rock climber for a while, but if you occasionally climb a ladder, whether it’s around the house or into a boat, you’ll need the strength.

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I am always thankful for my strong upper body when I have to climb into a dive boat with full gear, including a 30-pound tank on my back.

Sierra Athletic Club has a Gravitron 2000. It’s an assisted pull-up/chin-up machine. Most females are not able to do one repetition of a pull-up but are astounded when they can do it with a little help. It’s empowering.

My students in Pilates class always groan (except Mrs. Rice) when I tell them our next exercise is push-ups. I explain how important they are if they’re into snowsports. When we bite the snow we want to easily get upright. As we age and if we have a fall, we want to be able to get back up.

Women may never compete with men in push-up competitions, but I show my female clients how to perform a push-up “prep” which puts them on the road to a full push-up.

Here are a few moves from and Kathy Smith, creator of numerous workout DVDs that will get you tank top-ready in no time. I like this routine because it tones upper body, involves some balance, works core and lower body, and the pace can give you a mild cardio workout.

Do these five fast arm exercises, and celebrate by going sleeveless! All you need is a pair of 3- to 5-pound dumbbells and a stability ball. The weight amounts and reps given here are for beginners. If you’re strong already, you can do the same routine using 8- to 10-pound weights and do the entire sequence three times rather than twice.

Do this entire sequence twice through without pausing between exercises:

Triceps tap

Targets: triceps, abs and butt

Sit on ball with knees bent 90 degrees, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Walk feet forward until upper back and head rest on ball. Lift hips, forming a straight line. Extend arms toward ceiling, then bend elbows to lower dumbbells near ears. Straighten arms.

Do 15 reps; roll back up.

Double-bell row

Targets: shoulders, upper back and biceps

Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding two dumbbells in right hand. Step back with right leg, bending knees slightly, and hinge forward from hips. Place left hand on left thigh. Extend right arm below shoulder. Bend elbow to bring weights to ribs; extend.

Do 12 rows. Switch sides; repeat.

On the fly

Targets: shoulders, abs and butt

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand on right leg, left leg lifted a few inches behind you. With back flat and weights below shoulders, lean forward from hips. Lift arms directly out to sides as you raise left leg and lean forward until body is almost parallel to floor. Return to start.

Do 12 reps; switch legs and repeat.

Squat with twist

Targets: shoulders, upper back, butt and legs

Holding a dumbbell in each hand, stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Squat and bring weights together in front of chest, elbows out to sides.

Floating Curl

Targets: upper back and biceps

Stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent, holding a dumbbell in each hand, arms in front of thighs, palms forward. Lift arms straight up to chest level in front of you. Without moving elbows, curl right hand to right shoulder; extend.

Repeat with left arm. Do 20 curls, alternating sides.

To achieve beautiful arms, you need to activate the muscle with strength training and do cardio to lower your body fat. A minimum of 30 minutes of cardio five to six days a week in order to burn the fat that might be hiding your hard-earned muscle. Eat only healthy fats and stay away from the sugars, and you’ll be proud to show off those guns.

” Rhonda Beckham is owner of Help Me Rhonda Personal Fitness Training. She is a nationally certified personal trainer operating out of Sierra Athletic Club and a Pilates instructor at Emerald Bay Physical Therapy. She may be reached at (530) 208-6369, and