- Jillian Michaels is a celebrity fitness trainer and former coach on the television show “The Biggest Loser.”
- She told INSIDER her go-to exercises for toning arm, back, and shoulder muscles.
- Michaels gravitates toward functional moves, or exercises that strengthen muscles for daily movements, like pushups, planks, and the down dog yoga pose.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.
As a former coach on “The Biggest Loser” and one of the most well-known celebrity fitness trainers today, Jillian Michaels knows a thing or two about fitness.
In a recent interview with INSIDER to promote her 100-mile walking challenge to raise funds for refugees, Michaels shared her top fitness tips including targeted exercises for toning your arms, shoulders, and back.
Michaels told INSIDER she gravitates toward functional exercises, or those that strengthen the body for daily movements. She doesn’t focus on a single muscle group more than twice per week in order to allow those muscles to recover. “Recovery is where the progress is made,” she said, adding that you should take two days of rest in between single-muscle-group sessions.
Here are the exercises Michaels recommends for toned arms. The moves can also benefit your back and shoulders.
Tricep dips can be done almost anywhere.
Michaels suggested dips for toning your triceps, the muscles at the back of your upper arms.
Tricep dips can be done virtually anywhere, like a park bench, kitchen chair, or even the floor, so they’re great for people who don’t have workout equipment or a gym membership.
To do a tricep dip, keep your shoulders back and relaxed, bend your knees, and position yourself in front of the chair or bench. Bend and extend your elbows slowly.
Pushups are a classic exercise for people at all fitness levels.
Michaels recommended pushups, a classic but often overlooked exercise that targets the chest, back, shoulder, and tricep muscles all at once.
Pushups can be modified to make them easier or harder, making them a great choice for practically all fitness levels. If you find a pushup too hard, try doing one on your knees or on an incline for more assistance. If the pushup is too easy, you can move your hands closer together or stagger your hands for a more challenging form of the move.
Michaels also said she likes yoga poses like down dog for strengthening her arms and back.
Although yoga can be brushed aside as an exercise that only improves your flexiblity and mobility, Michaels says it also helps keep her strong. She told INSIDER she especially likes poses like down dog, which involves inverting your body into a triangle shape and using your back and shoulder muscles to hold yourself in place.
Down dog, combined with a plank, offers a great abdominal and arm workout, according to Michaels. Fortunately, in typical yoga practices, these two moves are often done back-to-back.
Chaturanga is another yoga pose Michaels suggests.
Chaturanga may appear to be a simple and easy yoga pose, but in reality, the move is quite difficult to master.
That’s because it involves pushing your body forward from a plank pose so your chest is facing upward and in front of your shoulders. At the same time, the tops of your thighs should hover over the ground, rather than resting down, and your core should stay tight.
When done correctly, chaturanga can tone the back, shoulders, triceps, and abs all at once.
Michaels also recommended pullups or chin-ups.
If you’re ready to throw in the flag because you’re certain you can’t do a chin-up or pullup, Michaels has a solution for you.
“These exercises can be modified with resistance bands for assistance,” she said.
To use a resistance band to modify your pullup, first loop it around the pullup bar. Then, bend one of your legs and rest your knee in the looped band. From the position, you can do a pullup or chin-up more easily.
Dumbbell rows are one of Michaels’ go-to functional exercises.
“I like to look at muscles’ functions and choose exercises based on that,” Michaels told INSIDER.
Dumbbell rows fit into this philosophy because they create a pulling and pushing motion, something your arms do on a daily basis. Doing this exercise will strengthen and tone your triceps, upper back, and lower back.
To do a dumbbell row, grab two moderately heavy dumbbells and put one knee on a bench. Your other leg extends to the side for stability. While holding the dumbbell in the hand opposite of your knee, focus on lifting that elbow up and back with control.
If you don’t have a bench, you can do a bent over dumbbell row, where you hinge at your hips and do the same motion.