Workouts to Get You in Shape for Every Wedding Dress Style

A young woman holding up a strapless wedding dress to herself in the store next to a rack of other dresses.

With your wedding day quickly approaching, you may be scheduling a few extra trips to the gym each week. Many brides make it a priority to maintain or lose weight before their big day. While regular workouts are helpful, it’s hard to know which ones will have the most impact over the shortest amount of time. You may also be worried that you are doing exercises that do not suit your body type or dress style.

Fear not! Depending on the type of wedding dress you intend to wear, there are actually a number of great exercises you can add to your routine to get the best results. Remember, however, that exercise alone may not provide the results you want. You should plan to combine your physical efforts with a healthy diet. Not only will you feel better about your wedding day appearance, but you will be more likely to maintain your new look afterward.

Keep the following dress styles and corresponding workouts in mind as you prepare for your upcoming wedding ceremony and reception! Feel free to combine these recommendations as needed (i.e., if you are planning to wear a ball gown that also happens to be strapless.

Strapless Dress Workouts

While it’s impossible to dictate where your body will lose fat first, you can focus on developing leaner muscles. This is a great starting point if you plan to wear a strapless wedding dress. The following exercises can help you develop toned, sexy, and sleek arms and shoulders.

Plank Shoulder Taps

Start in a plank position with your feet hip-width apart and arms extended. Reps consist of tapping your left shoulder with your right hand and then tapping your right shoulder with your left hand. Try beginning with two sets of 20 reps.

Cleavage and Shoulder Sculptor

A woman holding a dumbbell as she's exercising before her wedding day.

For this exercise, you will need two dumbbells. First, stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Keep your palms down and slowly raise your arms out to the sides until they are shoulder height. Alternatively, hold the dumbbells straight out in front of you; open your arms out to the sides, remaining at shoulder height, and then return them. Try beginning with two sets of 20 reps of either or both of these exercises.

A-Line and Sleeveless Dress Workouts

A-line wedding dresses put the focus on your arms and your core. If this is your dress type, you should plan to work on both of these areas in preparation for your wedding. The following exercises can help you develop toned armed and a tighter core.

Front Scoop

For this exercise you will need two dumbbells. Start by holding the dumbbells in front of your hips, your hands facing up and your elbows slightly bent. Stand with your heels pressed together, but toes turned slightly out, keep your thighs squeezed together, and brace your abs. Slowly lift your arms up until they are aligned with your shoulders and then let them back down. Try beginning with three sets of 15 reps.

Rowing Series

For this exercise you will need a resistance band. Start by sitting with your legs extended straight in front of you and your feet flexed. Place the resistance and around the arches of your feet. Pull your abs forward while simultaneously pushing your shoulder blades back. With your arms straight, reach behind your back. The motion should be similar to rowing a boat. Try beginning with three sets of 15 reps.

Ball Gown Dress Workouts

Ball gown wedding dresses are perfect for individuals with hourglass figures because they do a great job of emphasizing a smaller waist. The following exercises can help you shrink your middle while also developing your curves.

Plank with Hip Drop

A woman in a plank pose as she's exercising getting ready for her wedding.

Start in a basic forearm plank position with your elbows directly below your shoulders and your feet hip-width apart. Your quads, glutes, and core should remain engaged continually as you drop your right hip down and then move it back up. Do the same with your left hip. Try beginning with three sets of 15 reps.

Side Plank with Leg Lift

Position yourself in a side plank; start by lying down on your side and then lifting yourself up with your elbow and the side of your foot. Your hips should be in the air and your body should be as straight as possible from your ankles to your shoulders. With your core tight, lift your top leg but do not let your knee bend or hips drop. Try beginning with as many leg lifts as possible within three 30-second sessions on each side.

Mermaid Dress Workouts

Mermaid wedding dresses show off toned and shapely hips. The following exercises can help you develop slimmer hips and tone your thighs.

Balancing Squat

Start by standing with your feet a little more than hip-width apart. Lower yourself into a squatting position while keeping your spine straight and reach both hands toward the floor. As you move back up, shift your weight to your right leg, grab your left shin, and keep your left knee bent. Hold this balanced, standing position for a single count and then start again. Try beginning with one set of 20 reps, alternating sides.

Cleavage and Shoulder Sculptor

For this exercise you will need a resistance band. Lie on your side and loop the band around your two ankles. Flexing your feet and bracing your abs, lift your top leg until parallel with your hip. Push against the band with your ankle, adding additional tension to the band. Try beginning with one set of 20 reps and then switch sides.

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