Totally Toned Arms

Get Michelle Obama Arms in 21 Days


By Rylan Duggan

Formats and Prices




$11.99 CAD


ebook (Digital original)


ebook (Digital original) $8.99 $11.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around January 6, 2010. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

Once Barack Obama joined the presidential race and attended events with wife at his side, the media, bloggers, and people everywhere started buzzing about Michelle’s toned arms–and asking how on earth she does it. Even at the Presidential Inauguration, much of the talk was about Michelle’s amazing arms. Media outlets from GMA to CNN to MSNBC have covered the story, inspiring women across the country to call their personal trainers and say, “I want Obama arms!”

Certified personal trainer Rylan Duggan, creator of the successful (and pricey, at $70 each!) e-book series Go Sleeveless!, constantly gets calls from clients and reporters asking for the training secrets behind Michelle’s arms. Duggan is the expert quoted in much of this coverage, and in Totally Toned Arms, he offers his 21-day program to get those sleek and sexy arms.

In this low-priced paperback, Duggan reveals the program (combining strength training and cardio) including a 7-day jumpstart maintenance plan, and essential diet secrets designed to shed fat and reveal toned muscle, plus 50-60 black and white photos throughout to illustrate. This is a simple program that anyone can do, no matter what their fitness level, at home and with little equipment. With this series of 25 easy exercises, anyone can have Obama arms– in a matter of weeks!



Neither this exercise program nor any other exercise program should be followed without first consulting a health care professional. If you have any special conditions requiring attention, you should consult with your health care professional regularly regarding possible modification of the program contained in this book. This program is not endorsed by Michelle Obama.

Copyright © 2010 by Rylan Duggan

Photos copyright © 2010 by Adonis Fitness

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Wellness Central

Hachette Book Group

237 Park Avenue

New York, NY 10017

Visit our website at

Wellness Central is an imprint of Grand Central Publishing.

The Wellness Central name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

First eBook Edition: January 2010

ISBN: 978-0-446-56822-7


I WOULD LIKE TO EXPRESS my sincere gratitude to a few people who were instrumental in the creation of this book. First of all, thank you to Ashley at Keylight Photography in British Columbia for her fantastic job in translating the exercises into easy-to-follow, step-by-step photographs. Her expertise, professionalism, and attention to detail were crucial in completing this book on time. Second, to all of the staff at Hachette Book Group who have worked on this project and helped bring it to light. There is a tremendous amount of effort that goes into publishing a book, and while the author usually takes the credit, those "in the background" deserve a great deal of that recognition. In particular, I would like to extend my deep appreciation to my editor, Natalie Kaire, as well as Amanda Englander and Leah Tracosas for all of their support, hard work, professionalism, and enthusiasm for this project; I simply could not have done it without them.

Strength Training


ON EACH DAY OF THE Totally Toned Arms Program, you will be given a set of strength training exercises to perform, as well as detailed instructions for how many repetitions and sets to complete and the proper amount of rest time to take between exercises.

The Equipment

This program requires only very basic exercise equipment and does not rely on any specialized machines. The entire workout can be done at home, regardless of available space, but it can also be done at any commercial fitness facility or health club.

I have provided optional "Gym Versions" for many of the exercises in this program, but in any case, you may choose between the "Home Version" or the "Gym Version" at your liking, with no detriment to potential results.

If you are considering upgrading your home gym with more specialized equipment, please have a look at the "Recommended Home Exercise Equipment" section for more information on the exact equipment I used in the making of this program.

The Essentials

  • Assorted dumbbells (or adjustable dumbbells) from 5 to 25 pounds in 5-pound increments (the actual weights required will vary depending on your individual strength level, but 5 to 25 pounds are suitable for most women)
  • A stability ball (also called a Swiss ball or exercise ball)
  • A "medium" resistance band with handles

Optional—For at Home or Gym Use

  • An exercise bench capable of various degrees of incline
  • Lat pull-down, chest press, and cable machines
  • A treadmill or elliptical cardio machine

Note: If you need help identifying the above equipment, please ask the staff at your local fitness facility to point them out to you and give you proper instruction on using their particular style of equipment.

Recommended Home Exercise Equipment

Free Weights

Free weights are essential to any training program, but it's often difficult to know exactly what sizes to get. For the average woman, I recommend getting a set of dumbbells that range from at least 5 to 25 pounds in 5-pound increments. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend getting at least two sizes heavier than what you could currently use in a chest press exercise for 10 reps.

The dumbbells used in the exercise photos for the Totally Toned Arms Training Program are for demonstration purposes only and should not be taken as an indication for how much weight you should use for the exercise.

Dumbbells can be found with relative ease at garage sales, in classified ads, and even in your friend's basement—it seems everyone has a set of these collecting dust somewhere. And owing to their heavy-duty nature, no matter how "used" their condition is, they should work just fine.

However, if you want to pick up a new set, I recommend visiting your local fitness equipment retailer to find the best deal. Purchasing free weights online can be cost prohibitive because of excessive shipping expenses, unless you can find a company that offers free shipping.

Stability Ball

Stability balls or exercise balls can be found through numerous online retailers or your local fitness equipment store. The ball used in the exercise demonstration photos is a Fitter First 55cm Classic Exercise Ball Chair and was selected because of its high durability and resistance to stretching and bursting. Many low-quality fitness balls use an inferior plastic that expands too much and loses its shape during many exercises. These balls often have a shiny and smooth texture, while the higher quality balls have a slightly rough and thick texture. You can find this exercise ball at as well as a height chart to help you determine the proper size ball based on your height.

Resistance Bands

The resistance band used in this program is Professional Exercise Tubing with Handles, from, and is classified as "medium" resistance. Again, it's going to depend on your own personal strength level as to what resistance level you will need, but I usually recommend getting at least one light and one medium band for the average woman.

Note: To attach resistance bands to a door, simply tie a knot in the middle, then place the knot on the opposite side of the closed door as shown in the photo at right—and make sure the door is latched securely before exercising. A video demonstration for how to do this properly can be seen on my YouTube channel at—watch the video titled "Using Resistance Bands in Your Home Gym."

At the Gym

Exercise Bench

The exercise bench used in this program is a flat/incline bench that is capable of various degrees of incline all the way up to straight up and down. I recommend using a bench that is sturdy and can easily support your body weight plus an additional 75 to 100 pounds to ensure maximum safety. This is important when performing exercises such as weighted step-ups, when you will be standing on the bench with extra weight. Many benches are built for easy storage, and sacrifice stability as a result. This can lead to tipping over or collapsing during certain exercises. The model I recommend that is best for storage and stability is the Hoist Flat to Incline Bench, which can be found at

Universal Home Gym

The universal home gym used in this program is the Fusion 500 by Body Solid. This gym was selected because of its compact size, solid build quality, and simplicity for home use. This particular model has all the required attachments for the lat pull-down, machine press, and cable exercises demonstrated in the Totally Toned Arms Training Program, as well as a unique feature called Functional Training Arms. These are two cable arms that stick out from the sides of the machine that can be adjusted to any angle for a multitude of cable exercises and replaces the need for resistance bands. You can find this gym at

Elliptical Cross-Trainer

In the "Cardiovascular Training" section, I recommend elliptical and treadmill machines as the two best exercises for the Totally Toned Arms Training Program (although you will have other options). Between the two, I recommend the elliptical over the treadmill for its superior ability to give a great high-intensity workout, without the added stress on the joints that a treadmill can cause. The elliptical that I use in my personal training studio is an Endurance E7 HRC, also from Body Solid. I like this machine because of its small footprint, long stride pattern, and very sturdy frame. Ellipticals often vary greatly in their stride pattern, and many of the ones I have tested have been too "shallow" to provide a proper workout. The result is that it's harder to get your heart rate high enough, and the movement itself feels much more unnatural. The Endurance E7 HRC defeats both of these problems, and it also comes with its own heart rate monitor and programmable console for supereasy monitoring of your heart rate during interval training. This elliptical machine can be found at

The Totally Toned Arms Strength Training Philosophy

My training philosophy is "Less Is More." The Totally Toned Arms Strength Training Program will take you less than 15 minutes each day, and you can do it in your own living room.

The key here is that you do not have to sacrifice results for convenience. Most people who exercise for hours do so because they think that that is the only way they can get results, not because they enjoy it. However, when you learn the "Strength Training Secrets" that I will reveal to you in a moment, you will find that an incredibly effective workout can take you literally minutes a day while netting you better results than those poor sods sweating away for hours in the gym.

Strength Training Secret 1: Use All Your Muscles

In this program you will notice a preference for exercises that move your entire body. Take, for instance, the sumo squat with shoulder press, weighted step-ups, and jackknife exercises. Each of these exercises works nearly every muscle in your body. You end up killing more than three birds with one stone.

For example, the sumo squat with shoulder press replaces all of the following gym exercises:

  • Leg extension
  • Hamstring curl
  • Inner thigh machine
  • Outer thigh machine
  • Shoulder press
  • Hip extension machine

What's more, all these exercises together are still unable to match the results that the sumo squat will. Because this exercise is done free-standing, without the support of a machine, it forces you to work your core (low back and abdominal muscles) to a much greater degree, and all the smaller stabilizing muscles that help you hold your posture.

This one exercise literally replaces more than six others. Can you imagine how much time this will save you?

But that's not where the benefits end. Because you are activating all these muscle groups at once, you stimulate your metabolism to a much greater degree by igniting the afterburn effect, something that will not happen by performing many one-muscle-group exercises.

All of this equates to fewer exercises, higher metabolism, more fat loss, and less time.

Strength Training Secret 2: Lift Heavy Weights

Recall from the Introduction our discussion about the myths of lifting heavy weights. Since you now know that you have nothing to fear by lifting heavy weights, it's time to put them to use. By lifting heavier weights, you increase your exercise intensity to a much greater degree and trigger those fat-burning hormones that ignite the afterburn effect as a result.

You also have to do far fewer sets of a given exercise to get the same, or better, results. This is because increases in muscle strength and tone are triggered by breaking down muscle fibers through lifting weights. For someone who uses light weights, the only way to break down the muscle fiber is by wearing them down over repeated sets, sometimes upwards of 5 or 6 sets for a single exercise. However, if you instead lift a weight that is heavy enough that it causes you temporary failure around 8 to 12 reps, you will achieve this breakdown of the muscle tissue in only 2 or 3 sets.

If that isn't enough to convince you that you need to lift heavier weights, here is another important tidbit of information: You can actually prevent or stop osteoporosis by lifting heavy weights. Heavy weights actually cause the bones to build up their strength to prevent fractures. This is something that doesn't happen with light weights.

By lifting heavy weights and taking every set to temporary failure, you will shorten your workouts, kick-start the afterburn effect, get better results, and build stronger bones.

Strength Training Secret 3: Make It Short and Sweet

If you watch the average gym-goer, they never seem to be in much of a hurry. They might wander around, do a set here and there, chat with a friend, and generally waste time. In an hour, they might complete only two or three exercises.

In the Totally Toned Arms Strength Training Program, you will be performing your exercises in a circuit fashion. This means you transition from one exercise to the next without taking any time to rest in between. You will be resting, but only briefly, at the end of your circuit before repeating it again for the required number of sets.

This type of training keeps your heart rate up, and it keeps your metabolism burning hot. You don't have time to cool off between exercises, making each set highly productive. This style of training also shortens your workouts dramatically. You can literally finish half of your entire workout in the same time that it would take the average person to finish just one exercise.

This type of training also avoids the "cortisol pitfall," as I like to call it. Workouts that last longer than an hour trigger the release of the hormone cortisol. This hormone is needed to combat the rapidly increasing inflammation caused by a long workout. Cortisol is the anti-metabolism hormone: It makes you store body fat, it breaks down muscle tissue, and it's generally counterproductive to getting a toned and sculpted body.

The Totally Toned Arms Strength Training Program is highly efficient, so there will be no hour-long workouts here. No time is wasted, and every minute you spend exercising will be getting you results.

Three Steps to Ensure Never-Ending Results

If you've done any reading in health and fitness magazines, you will inevitably hear about the dreaded "plateau." This is the point at which all improvements in your physique seem to come to a complete and abrupt halt even though you continue to stick to your exercise and nutrition program religiously. You may have already experienced this yourself in previous programs you've attempted, and that may even be why you are reading this book now—you are searching for ways to get your body past this sticking point.


On Sale
Jan 6, 2010
Page Count
192 pages

Rylan Duggan

About the Author

Rylan Duggan RK, BHK, CSCS, NSCA-CPT, is the creator of the Go Sleeveless! blog and e-book series and Adonis Fitness, the health and fitness consulting company specializing in women’s body sculpting. Duggan is widely quoted in the “Obama arms” press. He lives in British Columbia.

Learn more about this author