wedding series: the strapless dress workout
I don’t know if there is any official data on this, but it’s pretty obvious that the strapless wedding gown is the most classic, popular style. There are straight necklines and sweetheart necklines, but no matter what kind of strapless gown it is, the bride always wants to make sure her arms look toned, sleek, and graceful on that important day.
I’ve put together a workout that targets all those important muscles: shoulders, biceps, triceps, chest and back. By working the chest and back you will help balance out your posture which will help avoid you constantly tugging at your dress to keep it from falling down (an awesome tailor will help with that as well!). Proper posture will elongate your neck and give you that ballerina look that exudes confidence.
Here’s what you need to do:
Bicep curl + shoulder press
Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, legs slightly bent. Holding dumbbells or placing a resistance band under your feet, perform a bicep curl. Once your hands reach the top of the curl, push arms up over your head. Bring back to starting position. Perform 10+ reps.
Tricep kickback + pulse
This move works especially well with a resistance band wrapped around a pole or other stationary object, like the handle of a sliding door. If you do not have a resistance band (or yours is broken like mine…) you may use light dumbbells instead. I chose to use my ankle weights around my hands, and in a pinch I’ve used heavier soup cans, water bottles, etc. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, legs bent. Hinge torso forward, keeping a neutral spine. Keeping your upper arms stationary, kick your forearms backward, flexing your triceps. Is it important to make sure your shoulder blades are reaching towards each other, and you aren’t hunching up your shoulders. Perform 10+ kickbacks. When you finish the kickbacks, keep arms straight and make tiny pulses up and down 10+ times (see photo at the bottom right). This pulse at the end will really fire up your triceps, I promise.
Rear deltoid raise
This exercise will target the rear of your shoulders, helping with posture and balancing out the muscles in your arms. Sit on the edge of a bench or stool. Holding dumbbells, fold torso on top of your thighs. Reach hands toward the ground. Keeping arms straight, raise the dumbbells backward and up; hold at the top for a few seconds. Lower arms back to the ground. Perform 10+ reps.
Laying on a bench or stability ball, hold dumbbells at chest level. Push weights up to the sky; bring back to start. Perform 10+ reps.
These moves are a bit awkward and frustrating, but super effective for your upper back. When I do them I almost feel like I’m in physical therapy because I don’t understand why they’re so difficult! Lay on your stomach, with arms straight above your head forming a “Y” position. You may keep your face on the ground, no need to strain your neck and lift it. With hands in a thumbs-up, reach arms up towards the sky. Perform 10+ reps in a “Y” position. Move arms to a “T” position. Perform 10+ reps with hands in a thumbs-up. Finally, move arms to an “I” position straight above your head. With the hands in a thumbs-up, perform 10+ reps.
That is the brief workout! For optimal strengthening, perform three sets of each exercise. These moves will tighten up your muscles, but if you’re looking to lose the squishiness where your dress meets your armpit (isn’t everyone), you’ll need to pair this workout with some cardio. I recommend two to three days of resistance training per week and three days of at least 30 minutes of cardio per week. Pair this fitness routine with some clean, healthy eating (and a little bridal detox) and you’ve got yourself a bride ready to bear (bare?) arms!