Pilates Workouts

This 20-Minute Pilates Workout Will Build Arms Strength That Rivals Michelle Obama’s

Erin Bunch

If you've ever struggled to loosen the lid on a jar of pickles or lift a toddler, you know how important upper body strength is to everyday life. And sadly, you're not going to build muscle in your arms if your main "workout" targeting that area is typing or scrolling. Instead, you've got to burn those babies out, which is something Brian Spencer of East River Pilates will motivate you to do in the latest episode of Good Moves.

“Today, we’re going to be doing a 20-minute arm series—how exciting!” says Spencer. “We’re gonna be focusing on different ways and positions in which to strengthen those arms to help keep your shoulders nice and supported, your neck nice and supported, and to just live your best life.”

Spencer's latest quick series of exercises requires no equipment besides a mat and your own body, yet it works everything from the shoulder stabilizers to the lats to the rotator cuff muscles and beyond. "We're gonna put the 'try' in triceps today," jokes Spencer.

Strengthening all of the above will help prevent injuries incurred by daily activities, and is especially protective of the lower back. And even though it may not seem like it, a strong upper body can improve your performance in lower body-centric exercises such as running.

So if the bulk of your arm-related activity takes place at a keyboard (it me!), you might want to take this opportunity to focus exclusively on your neglected upper extremities. Grab a mat and press play to tone and strengthen your arms for jar-opening, child-rearing, tennis-playing, selfie-taking, and more.

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