By Cindy Sites, founder of the Figure Method and owner of Go Figure Fitness Studios
Getting trim and toned to look your best in your wedding dress is as simple as finding the right workouts for your dress style!
For a strapless dress, try reverse push-ups. These push-ups may be strenuous, but they're worth it to get beautifully lean, strong triceps, the part of the arm most women struggle with.
Instructions: Sit facing upright, legs bent, heels grounded. With your arms shoulder width apart and hands pointed outward, lift your seat off the ground, up one inch, down one inch, bending your elbows and using only your arms to lift and lower. Do two sets of ten slow repetitions. Do one final set of ten fast repetitions.
For a short, sexy dress, try ballet first position (Plié). Whether you're going short for your reception or hiking up your hemlines for the entire wedding, long, toned gams are a must for leg-revealing dresses! The plié is arguably the most famous ballet position for a reason: it's a fantastic work out for the entire leg, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles.
Instructions: With one hand holding your ballet barre or any point of balance, bring heels together and toes apart, creating a narrow ‘V' shape with your feet. Bend your knees, keeping heels lifted and touching, knees spread to create a diamond shape between your heels and your pelvis. Lift up one inch, down one inch, never moving your seat below your knees. Repeat 20 times. Break for a moment and repeat.
For a classic mermaid dress, try ballet fold over position (Arabesque Penchée). Although the mermaid dress shows off your entire body, take a cue from Pippa Middleton and focus on the one part everyone will be admiring as you walk down the aisle: your rear! The penchée contracts your gluteus minimus, “that pretty little hollow” in the outer seat area, as well as the rear of the leg, making you mermaid dress-ready in no time.
Instructions: Stand, facing your barre of point of balance, arms fully extended and holding the barre. Leaning forward, keep one leg slightly bent and lift the other leg into a full extension behind you, lifting up one inch, down one inch, feeling a contraction in the glute. Do ten repetitions slowly, break, and do ten more at a quicker pace. Switch to the opposite leg and repeat.
For a dramatic backless dress, try the rhomboid press. The rhomboid muscles make up a large part of the upper back and shoulders. They create that sexy, toned look that begs for a show-stopping backless dress.
Instructions: Stand in front of a mirror, earlobes over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over feet. With a 3-pound weight in each hand, raise arms out to the side in line with shoulders, then bend to create an L-shape (as though you're framing yourself in a window). Begin to press arms back, maintaining the shape of your arms, and squeeze shoulder blades together. Keep pressing back and hold for 20 reps. Rest and repeat once more.
For a curve-loving dress, try the Figure Method sit-up. True, you may not be showing off your abs on the big day, but all eyes will be on your mid-section in a form-fitting dress! The Figure Method version of the sit-up involves a small range of motion, lifting less than you would in a traditional sit-up. It's a common misconception that coming up higher makes for a more effective abdominal workout. In fact, coming up too high only strains the back and neck. If you can, hold a soft block or pillow behind your head for additional neck and spinal support.
Instructions: Lying on the floor, knees bent, with your soft block/pillow behind your head, come into 20 slow, controlled sit-ups, lifting just so your shoulder blades come off the mat. Break and repeat.
Photos courtesy of Go Figure Fitness Studios.