The right to bare arms

By Jae-Ha Kim
Chicago Sun-Times
August 26, 2001

Think Madonna’s got arms to die for? Well don’t die, sweetie. Exercise!

The diva credits her awesome biceps to yoga. She loves it so much that she even wrote a song (“Shanti/Ashtangi”) based around a chant she used while doing yoga.But some of us would rather pull our teeth out than strike a yoga pose. With that in mind, we tapped the brains of some fitness experts to find out what we needed to do to vogue like la Madonna.

Randi Whitman, pilates/yoga instructor at the Frog Temple:
“Women can’t work out once a week and expect to get arms like Madonna. Hers are real lean, long and strong, and that’s exactly what pilates delivers. But you need to be consistent and stick to a workout that builds the upper and lower body at least three days a week. It’s not enough to lift heavy weights. That just builds up bulk without lengthening the muscles. Pilates is uniform development of the body and works arms, legs and back muscles.”

Ho-Sung Pak, martial arts choreographer of the Drowned tour:
“Madonna is in great shape from doing yoga, but women can do a variety of exercises to get their arms in shape. Take a nice light weight–anywhere from 5 to 15 pounds–and let it hang down. Bring it up a quarter of a circle until it’s parallel to the floor. Bring it straight back down with just a slight bend in the elbow. Do about four reps of 20–or start slower if this is too difficult. This will give the shoulder nice definition. Push-ups are another great exercise to help with arm waddle.”

Tony Espana, personal training manager at Crunch:
“Madonna combines strength training with cardio strength training. Arm definition is hard for some women. They really need to work the muscle groups, use momentum and hit [workouts] from different angles. They need to target and isolate the three heads of the triceps–lateral, long and medial–with seated curls, standing curls and a reverse grip, which works the outer part between the biceps and triceps.”


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