Michelle’s Triceps Continue to Disarm Critics


Jodi Kantor and Lauren Beckham Falcone shriek insecure scolds about Michelle exposing muscles in February.

Boston Herald columnist Lauren Beckham Falcone wrote to Obama, "It’s February. Going sleeveless in subzero temperature is just showing off. All due respect."

But elsewhere, Michelle’s triceps are inspiring women to actually exercise.

Rylan Duggan, a personal trainer who runs Go Sleeveless, a blog that instructs women how to tone up flabby arms and "eliminate bat wings," said that in addition to asking how to get "Madonna arms" or "Kelly Ripa arms," clients are now asking about getting "Obama arms."

"The Obama effect has been that women of all ages have been inspired to take responsibility for their health and their body," said Duggan. "As the first lady of the United States, at 44 years old, and with two young children, Mrs. Obama has shown the world that you are never too busy to take care of yourself and look good doing it too," he said.

Exercise advocates are also fans. "She’s a great role model," said Jessica Matthews, a continuing education coordinator for the American Council on Exercise. "Women shy away from strength training, because they’re afraid of big muscles. She shows nice toned arms and that it’s not going to lead to this myth of a bodybuilder type."


But others were amazed, like 25-year-old Jessie Rosen. After seeing Obama at the speech Tuesday, she went to the Adidas store in New York and bought two five-pound dumbbells. "It was her arms being so toned in spite of her life," she said.

"This woman is redecorating White House, trying to raise two children and backseat driving the nation," Rosen said. "She seems to have time to keep her arms toned, so why can’t I?"

I can think of many less productive things for a First Lady to do than encouraging women to do the weight-bearing exercise that will help them avoid osteoporosis.

Next thing you know it, though, she’ll be encouraging her lanky girls to play hoops. I can see Don Imus now joining Kantor and Beckham Falcone in their shrieks.

40 replies
  1. pdaly says:

    These updates are hilarious. I had no clue that Michelle Obama’s arms were drawing envious attention by other women.

    Next Michelle could do action shots. Isn’t there some White House furniture she can hurdle over to save, for example, a daughter from a mishap?

    Youth, beauty and physical stamina on display for the world.
    Who would begrudge Michelle using her muscles to save her child?

    • TobyWollin says:

      What precisely is it about her face that you find ‘mean looking’? To my eyes, she has a lovely, oval shaped face, perhaps a little longer in the chin than many, but a lovely genuine smile. Certainly more relaxed and sincerely looking than the last First Lady.

      • BoxTurtle says:

        There was photo during the campaign where she was clearly on her last nerve. I don’t know who the Dirty Look was aimed at, but he should have simply turned to ash.

        Boxturtle (Bets the kids to their homework ON TIME, every night)

  2. GregOPauls says:

    always negative, you must have a very horrible life.
    Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and is does not have to be your.
    I will pray for you today…

  3. GregOPauls says:

    her face looks like Karen Black in burnt offerings. A little scary when you stare directly into it. like if you said something derogatory to her she would bite your head off.

  4. GregOPauls says:

    I will move on to where the conversation is more intelligent and someone can state their own opinions with out others jumping to conclusions as to what they are thinking.

  5. TobyWollin says:

    Hey, anyone think that the style of the dress emphasizes her shoulders? I think the cut in of the shoulders makes Michelle’s shoulders look really great.

    • emptywheel says:

      It’s a jog bra with skirt. I can count a number of similar (much cheaper, much poorer fit) dresses in my closet. The perfect dress for an athlete forced to plaay dress up.

  6. pdaly says:

    I agree this is a very bright place. So sorry to hear GregOPauls has to go.
    Movements away from the light remind me of the well-known movements of another of God’s creations: planaria

    A planarian may be a simple organism but it does have the additional ability of regenerating lost body parts, and duplicating itself if transected–kind of like a zombie.

  7. freepatriot says:

    and this ain’t usually a good sign either:

    RNC Chairman Michael Steele, confirmed that Tim Crawford resigned Friday after just two weeks as the committee’s interim finance director.

    homeboy got a look at the repuglitards financial books and hit the fucking eject button with a quickness

    anybody think there is a reason the repuglitards want emptywheel writing about Michele Obama’s fashion sense ???

  8. Petrocelli says:

    I agree that Michelle’s triceps are making the wingnuts green with envy.

    However, her deltoids and Lats are also worthy of mention. Betcha she could take Barack in an arm- wrestling match.

    If that ’special guest’ reappears, could someone call freep ? kthxbai

  9. freepatriot says:

    here’s the link to mister ejector seat

    i ain’t read the politico article that is linked, but I’m sure there is some excuse that the freepi find perfectly plausible

    maybe he wants to spend more time with one of vito fassella’s families

    I’m okay with that …

  10. emptywheel says:

    NPR’s Wait WAit Don’t Tell Me just hit on this:

    Peter: “The woman refuses to wear sleeves. Or maybe she flexes her biceps and they tear off!”

    PJ O’Rourke (I think):
    “She’s only been First Lady for a month and already she’s created a whole new erogenous zone.”

  11. Petrocelli says:

    “… encouraging women to do the weight-bearing exercises that will help them avoid osteoporosis.” – Marcy

    I wanted to highlight this because it is a big benefit of weight training. Another benefit is, if you weight train for an hour, you burn more total calories over the next 48 hours than cardio. and you tone more muscles than any cardio.

    In case you haven’t guessed, I am a big fan of weight training. However my wife does 1 hour of yoga every day and her arms/delts/lats are as defined as Michelle’s.

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