If you’re a recent bride-to-be, we know how for some, getting in shape for you big day can seem like a daunting challenge. With so many different Wedding Dresses out there, trying to choose the one that’s right for you and your body shape can be hard. So we spoke to some top personal trainers who told us their key exercises to get the most out of your pre-wedding workouts by tailoring them to your wedding dress style.
London-based personal trainer Sarah O’Neill is no stranger to helping brides get ready for their big day, offering specialised bridal packages and bridal bootcamps on Clapham Common. Sarah regularly contributes to a diverse range of publications from Runner’s World to Professional Photographer (where she is a regular columnist) and the Sunday Telegraph. http://www.sarahoneill.co.uk/
With short wedding dresses growing in popularity, Sarah gave us her tips on how brides who are planning to wear a shorter length wedding dress can get ready…
A meringue-style dress may hide a multitude of lower body sins, but with shorter dresses becoming increasingly popular it’s time to tone those pins!
1. Sumo Squat: Begin with your legs just wider than shoulders. Squat down so that your weight is in your heels and your bum is around knee-height (make sure you get low enough to hit that butt!) then as you rise extend one leg out to the side, straight and with toe turned down slightly. Keep your tummy tight and chest high. Then return to your squat and repeat on the other side. 40 reps. Rest and repeat.
The squat is perfect for toning bum and thighs and beginning in a wider stance brings the exercise more fully into the inside thigh too (a typical problem area). The ‘lateral lift’ adds tone to the outside thigh as well as the side of the hips – farewell to saddle bags!
2. Reverse Lunge to Kick: Start with feet hip width then take a big step back with one leg. Lower your knee to the floor for a deep lunge, with the weight distributed between ball of back foot and heel of front foot. From this lunge position extend your back leg forward and ‘kick’ through the ball of the foot, then return to lunge and repeat for around 20 kicks. Perform 20 lunge kicks on the other side. Repeat.
This exercise is great for toning both front (lunge) and backs (kick) of thighs whilst including balance in the exercise means you’ll give your abs and core a workout as well!
Short Wedding Dresses
Celebrity personal trainer Niki Wibrow has been offering her expertise to the fitness industry for ten years, presenting at major fitness conventions worldwide. Niki is regularly featured in the national press, on television and BBC radio. In addition, Niki has co-presented and choreographed celebrity workout videos. www.nikiwibrow.com
A corset-style wedding dress is the ultimate in glamour. Niki gave us her tips on how to pull off being pulled in…
Looking great for your wedding day can be done. If you have decided on a corset style dress, the areas that will be most on show, and you will therefore feel most conscious of, will be the shoulders, upper back and arms.
1. Plank: Downward Dog Combos: In full plank position – balancing on your hands and feet – begin to draw the navel to the spine and relax the shoulders down away from the ears. Start to raise the bottom high towards the ceiling, while straightening the legs and dropping the head gently between the shoulders, hold. Now begin to ease the bottom back down into plank position. Repeat this combination, downward dog then plank, as suggested above.
These combos really target and help tone the shoulders and upper back.
2. Reverse planks: Sit on the floor with your legs extended forward with your weight on the back of your heels, hands resting flat on the floor behind with the fingers facing forward. Begin to raise the bottom as high off the ground as you can, towards the ceiling, and hold. Really push into the hands and squeeze the back of the arms. Next drop the bottom back down towards the floor, just before it touches the ground pause then push the bottom back up towards the ceiling. Continue this flow.
These exercises will really help to shape and define the arms, in particular the triceps.
Try to complete 3 sets of 20 repetitions 3/4 times per week.
Corset Wedding Dress
Loughborough-based personal trainer Emma Bailey provides brides with fully personalised training programmes that they can do wherever is convenient to them. With a host of qualifications, Emma has also represented the Midlands, England and Great Britain as a sprinter in athletics and trained alongside London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic representatives. www.http://bridetobept.co.uk
Mermaid wedding dresses create a beautiful silhouette. Emma gave us her tips on how to shape up for this figure-hugging wedding dress…
For brides looking to wear figure-hugging dresses on their wedding day, the key areas to be toned are the waist, thighs and bottom.
1. Mountain Climbers: Start in a crouched position with your hands slightly in front of you. Keep your left foot under the chest with knee bent, while taking the right foot back behind you. When you are ready to start, switch the left and right foot backward and forward. Keep the abdominals braced throughout. Do this for 40 seconds, rest for 20, then repeat.
This is a great leg, arm and abs worker, as well as getting your heart rate going if you are still trying to lose a bit of weight before the big day.
2. Sumo Squat and Lateral Kick: Standing straight, place your feet nice and wide (think sumo wrestler!) Squat down so the thighs are parallel to the ground, squeezing your bottom as you do so. On the way back to standing, transfer your body weight to one side and kick out to the opposite side. Repeat 10 times on each leg.
This is a great thigh and bottom muscle burner!
Repeat the two sets of exercises above three times, resting for a minute between sets.
Figure Hugging Wedding Dresses
Leeds-based personal trainer Jenny Cromack has been in the health and fitness industry for fourteen years, seven of which as a personal trainer. Jenny offers customised programmes that include nutritional plans to complement pre-wedding exercise. More recently, Jenny has partnered up with Motive8 to open her own training studio with four highly qualified personal trainers. www.m8north.co.uk
A strapless dress, be it a bandeau or sweetheart neckline, is a classic. Jenny gave us her tips to wear this style with confidence…
Many brides will focus on performing isolation exercises as they are mainly concerned about their upper arms. However, by performing these two key exercises you will work all areas of the upper body – chest, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps –leading to a nice sculpted upper body, ready to dazzle your wedding party in your strapless dress.
1. Press Ups: Place hands on the floor, shoulder width apart. Push up onto the toes, body straight. Bend the elbows to lower the chest towards the floor, push through the hands to fully extend the arms. Repeat. Many ladies don’t think they will be strong enough to do press ups, but you’ll surprise yourself about how strong you are. If you can’t perform a full press up, then place the knees on the floor.
Working the chest in addition to the triceps and shoulders, these lead to a lovely toned Décolletage.
2. Bent Over Rows with Dumbbells: Hold a pair of dumbbells at the sides, palms facing in. Lean forwards from the waist so the back is flat. Focus on squeezing the shoulder blades together as you row the dumbbells upwards. Lower and repeat. By performing a bent over row you will work the muscles of the upper back, shoulders and biceps – the opposing muscles from those used in the press up.
Strapless Wedding Dresses
Shoreditch-based personal trainer Lorna Balfour studied lifestyle coaching in addition to her training to become a personal trainer. Lorna incorporates her skills and knowledge as a lifestyle coach into her wedding training plans that are also built around choosing the right exercises for your dress shape. www.passionateaboutfitness.com
A scoop or V-neck dress is flattering for many different body shapes. Lorna gave us her recommendations to get your body ready for a low cut wedding dress…
This exercise helps maintain excellent posture ensuring you look great in whatever low cut dress you decide to wear.
The Prone Cobra: Lie face down on the floor with your legs straight and your arms out at a 45 degree angle down by your side, palms facing upwards. Raise your head, chest, and arms off the floor, keeping your feet on the floor. Rotate your arms so that your thumbs point toward the ceiling. Keep your head in line with your spine. Focus on pulling your shoulder blades together. Hold for as long as you can.
The Prone Cobra will strengthen your back muscles and also your arms. This will prevent the awful hunched look some people have on their wedding day, and tone the arms so you lose your bingo wings.
Scoop and V-Neck Wedding Dresses
London-based personal trainer Tim Mugabi is the author of Countdown to the Gown, the ultimate guide to getting in shape for your wedding. It covers healthy dietary advice, motivational tips and techniques, and a 12 week exercise programme with video links to each exercise. A former semi-professional athlete, Tim also provides pre-wedding 1-2-1 or group training programmes. www.intothatdress.com
Open back wedding dresses are another style growing in popularity. Tim gave us his tips on shaping up for a backless wedding dress.
Here are two exercises that will help you look fantastic in a backless dress…
1. The ‘Y’: This is a ‘static’ exercise that requires you to hold a position for a length of time, much like the plank. Lying flat on your stomach, lift your chest off the floor, and extend your arms up ahead of you so your body resembles a ‘Y’. Try and keep your chest off the floor the entire time, working the muscles in your lower back.
It works on the muscles in your entire back, helping to tone the muscles in the upper back and strengthen the muscles in the lower back. This combination has a tremendous effect on your posture, lifting your chest and helping you to stand upright.
2. Bent Over Rows: To perform this exercise you need a pair of light dumbbells; they needn’t weigh more than a few pounds or kilos. Take a dumbbell in each hand and position them by your sides. Bend your torso forward around 45 degrees, stick your chest out, and look forward. Bend your knees slightly, and tense your stomach. Draw the dumbbells up towards your body, keeping your arms close to your side. Then, slowly lower them down before repeating the movement.
The bent over row helps to tone your upper back, shoulders and arms. It helps give your back definition and this really accentuates the effect of the dress.
Do each exercise for 60 seconds, 3 times. Take a short 45-60 second break between each 60 second set.
Open Back Wedding Dress
Essex-based personal trainer, nutrition coach and founder of programme “Vicki’s FitBrides,” Vicki Cumberworth believes that taking care of your body through nutrition and fitness in the run up to the wedding is priceless. Studio Manager and Co-ordinator at Crowne Plaza Resort at Five Lakes Colchester, Vicki has extensive qualifications and is a qualified C.H.E.K practitioner. www.vickipt.com
A halterneck dress adds an unusual touch and adds interest. Vicki gave us us her tips on how to feel amazing in a halterneck dress…
The waist needs to be tucked in, the back needs to be sculpted and most importantly in my eyes… the arms need to be super toned and shapely to really show off your beautiful dress!
1. Bent Over Rows with Exercise Bands: 3 sets of 15 reps. The bent over row is fantastic for a halterneck dress as it sculpts the upper back and arms, key areas when wearing such dress.
2. Push ups: 3 sets of 20. Push ups are an exercise feared by most women. But don’t be afraid of it – it’s fantastic at toning the shoulders and chest! Again, perfect for anyone wearing a halterneck dress, especially if you feel you have that extra “bit” sticking out either side of your bra!
Give these exercises a go and let me know how you get on!
So, no matter what your shape or style of dress, these top tips should ensure you look your very best on your big day.