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The Best Workouts for Every Wedding Dress

Whether you're wearing a ball gown or sheath, here's how to make sure you look the best in your dress.

Photography by: laflor

Whether you're wearing a sexy strapless number or a sweet tea-length dress, your wedding dress will highlight certain areas of your body. Here, we had certified Pilates instructor and personal trainer, Sofia Antelo create a few wedding dress-specific workout routines that will get your ass(ets) toned for the big day. For best results, do these exercises 3 to 4 times a week for at least two months leading up to your wedding. 


Head-Turning Wedding Gowns That Show Off Your Best Feature
Photography by: Courtesy of J. Mendel

If You're Wearing a Sheath 

Single Leg Extension with Circles (tones lower abs and obliques) 

  1. Lying on back with neutral pelvis (you should have a small space between your lower back and floor), legs in chair position (bent 90 degrees), hands behind the head. Lift head and shoulders up off the floor and hold in lifted position, making sure not to flare your rib cage. 
  2. Exhale as you extend one leg about one inch off the floor while drawing belly button to spine and tightening the obliques. Return leg to chair position and repeat with opposite leg. 
  3. Compete 10 to 20 reps on each leg. On the last rep hold leg extended out and do 5 little circles (size of a tennis ball) in one direction and then 5 in the other direction, repeat on other leg.
Tips for Keeping Up with Your Fitness Routine

Pelvic Tilts with Toe Taps (tones abs, obliques, and lower back)

  1. Lying on back with neutral pelvis, legs in chair position, hands behind head. Lift head and shoulders up and hold in lifted position so the ribs are closed. 
  2. Pull belly button into spine and press the lower back into the floor so that your butt lifts off the mat a little, trying not to swing legs. Roll pelvis back to neutral. Keeping legs in chair position reach toes down and tap the floor, activate pelvic floor muscles (tighten those Kegels, ladies!) and draw back into chair position. Repeat 10-15 times.

Plank Twists (tones waist and abs)

  1. Get into plank position, resting your weight on your forearms.
  2. Twist one hip and tap the floor, pull back to the middle and then repeat on other side. Keep abs pulled in the whole time and shoulders pulled down and wide away from the ears. Repeat on each side 10-20 times.
Photography by: Courtesy of Amsale

If You're Wearing a Halter or Strapless Gown

Martinis (tones triceps, abs, back, and shoulders)

  1. Standing tall and abs pulled in and shoulders down and back, hold a pair of 3-8 pound weights in your hands with your palms facing up, keeping your upper arms by your side.  
  2. Pretend that you have martini glasses in each hand and reach your elbows behind you slightly and then draw arms up to shoulder height, making sure to move slowly and smoothly (you don’t want to spill your drinks!). Tap weights together (Cheers!) and then back out. Lower arms back down to starting position and repeat for 10 reps.
Summer Wedding Fitness Tips

Suspended Bicep Curls (tones biceps and upper back)

  1. Immediately after you finish your Martini exercises, hold your arms with weights parallel at shoulder height with your palms facing up.
  2. Do a bicep curl keeping elbows suspended for 10 reps. 

Straight Arm Diamond (tones shoulders, triceps, upper back, and lower back)

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart, bend knees a little, and send hips back so the upper body is pitched forward slightly. Pull your shoulders down and bring two dumbells together in front of you so your hand palms face each other and your arms are straight. 
  2. Raise arms out wide to shoulder height, using rear shoulder muscles, and return to staring position. Pull arms straight back, lifting weight just past the butt, squeeze triceps, then lower. 
  3. Repeat the first exercise for two reps and then the tricep exercise for two reps as well. Then three each. To start, end when you get to five reps of each and work your way up to 10 reps each as you get stronger. 
Photography by: FirstView

If You're Wearing a Mini Dress

Side Lunge (tones inner thighs, butt, hamstrings)

  1. Stand with feet parallel, hip-width apart.
  2. Step out wide with right foot, bend right knee to the floor and touch right foot with left hand while keep left leg straight.
  3. Push through right heel and draw feet back together as you stand back up.
  4. Repeat on the left side. Continue for 10 reps.  Make sure you keep your back straight and really stick out your butt as you lunge.

Back Lunge (tones quads, butt, inner thighs, and calves)  

  1. Standing with feet parallel, hip width apart.
  2. Reach right foot back far, keeping right leg totally straight, bending left knee, and bringing both hands down to the floor on either side of left foot.
  3. Push through your left heel to draw right foot back together and stand back up.
  4. Repeat on other side. For one rep, do 10 reps. You should get really low so that your chest touches the front bent leg, but make sure your back stays long. 
Bridal Shower Party Ideas for the Workout-Loving Bride

Grand Plié (tones quads, butt, calves, and inner thighs)

  1. Stand in first position (heels together toes turned out). If you can do this without holding on to anything, great. If not, hold on to a chair or table or wall for balance. 
  2. Plié, or bend the knees so you go all the way down, your heels will come off of the floor. Press the heels back down as you go back up using your quads and inner thighs. Complete 10 reps. 
Photography by: FirstView

If You're Wearing a Tea-Length Dress

Three-Way Calf Raises (tones all three areas of your calves)

  1. On the floor or on a step so you can lower your heels below your toes, lift heels up so you are all the way up on the ball of the foot like you're wearing a high heel.
  2. Do the following exercises for ten reps each:  
    Parallel raises: lift heels up in a controlled manner and lower for two counts. 
    Turned out raises: Stand with your heels together and your toes turned up. Lift and lower.
    Tuned in raises: Stand with your toes pointed towards each other and heels out (pigeon-toed). Lift and lower.
About the Author

Lindsay Brown

As a former managing editor of Martha Stewart Weddings magazine, Lindsay has been entrenched in the bridal world for over seven years. From etiquette to fashion, she has extensive knowledge of everything wedding-related. When she isn't writing, Lindsay can be found tackling a home renovation project with her husband, or chasing after her toddler-aged daughter in Long Island, New York.


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