Madonna's Arms: Bulging Biceps, Protruding Veins Probably Unhealthy

Expert: Madonna's veiny arms may be result of dehydration, over-exercising.

ByABC News
February 24, 2009, 6:11 PM

July 28, 2009 — -- Madonna is a woman of so many missions: Kabbalah, AIDS advocacy, adoption.

Here's a new cause she might consider: gun control.

No, the material mom and pop superstar isn't toting AK47s to Malawi, Manhattan and beyond. Madonna's weapons of choice are her buff-beyond-belief biceps. Recent images of the singer display a double-barreled mass of sinewy veins that strike fear in the hearts of paparazzi and raise questions in the heads of fans and critics:

How and why does a 50-year-old woman get her arms to look like that?

"Oftentimes when your body fat is really, really, low, as Madonna's is, you're going to see veins pop," explained Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. "Her body fat is minimal, and she does a lot of strength training workouts that are going to build her muscles to look more visible."

But scant fat plus hardcore exercise doesn't necessarily translate to a healthy body.

"When muscles look that way, it's often the result of pretty restrictive eating and dehydration," Bonci said, noting the "pop" of Madonna's veins mimics the appearance bodybuilders attempt to achieve for competitions.

"With bodybuilders, the goal is to be sinewy, to make everything stand out. How do you get to that goal? You restrict your fluid intake. But then you might collapse on stage."

Take note, Madonna: if you plan to keep high-kicking your way through your Sticky & Sweet world tour, a couple sips of Vitamin Water between sets might not be a bad idea.

Madonna's bulky biceps contrast with her less-than-taut triceps, likely a factor of age and skin's waning elasticity. But when workouts fall short, many times, plastic surgery (literally) picks up the slack.

That appeared to be the case in February, when Madonna debuted a fresh face at Vanity Fair's post-Oscar party. The newly single queen of reinvention looked radiant on the red carpet, with supple skin and nary a wrinkle.