You’ve begun the countdown to one of the most important days in your life—your wedding! You’ve sent out the invitations, picked out the flowers, called the caterer and found the dress you always imagined you’d wear. Weddings may be magical, but they certainly cause a lot of stress (Bridezillas anyone?). The only thing left is making sure you look and feel your best on your wedding day. This means taking time to take care of you. Here is a pre-wedding workout that focuses specifically on the upper body so that you can feel amazing in that strapless, halter or off-shoulder gown.
The key to getting the most out of your strength training is to perform the exercises with a controlled and slow motion. If you’re looking to lose weight as well as tone muscles, incorporating cardiovascular exercise into your routine is a must. Try 45 minutes of cardio at least 4 times a week for optimal results.
The only equipment you need for this workout plan is a set of weights ranging from 6 pounds to 12 pounds, depending on your strength. You may find that having two different sets of weights (a lighter set and a heavier set) will be beneficial as some parts of your body are stronger than others. The weight that feels difficult for your triceps should feel significantly easier on your biceps since biceps are typically stronger.
Two Arm Dumbbell Raise – Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Hold a weight in each hand letting your arms hang straight down and your thumbs facing in toward one another. Simultaneously raise the weights upward until your arms become parallel to the ground. Pause for one-count at the top and then slowly return to your start position. Try 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
Triceps (Use a heavier weight for this exercise since the weight is distributed over both hands.)
Sitting Triceps Extension – Sit on a bench or exercise ball. Hold a weight at one end with both hands overlapping one another. Take the weight straight up over your head with your arms next to your ears. Lower the weight behind your head until elbows are at 90 degree angles. Squeeze triceps to straighten arms without locking your joints. Try 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
Two Arm Tricep Kickbacks – Begin by holding 2 weights in your hands. Keep a slight bend in your knees, and then lean forward from your waist. Pull back your upper arm so that it is next to (parallel) your body. Your arms should be bent at about 90 degree angles While keeping your upper arm next to your body, straighten your elbow. Hold for a brief second and then slowly lower to your starting position. Try 2 sets of 8-10 reps.
Bicep Curls – Take two weights and stand with your back straight. Curl one weight up to your shoulder as if you were trying to curl it past your shoulder. Slowly lower the weight, rotating it until it is in the resting position by your side. Lift the other weight at the same time that you are lowering the first. Try 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
Hammer Curl – Hold a pair of weights and stand straight up holding them at your sides. Your palms should face your body and the dumbbells should not be resting on your body. Take up the tension by slightly bending your arms. This is the starting position for the exercise. Starting with your weakest arm (usually the left), slowly curl the dumbbell up across the front of your body. Squeeze the bicep at the top of the movement, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Repeat this movement for your other arm. Try 2 sets of 10-12 reps.
Vertical Leg Crunch – Lie on the floor and extend legs straight up with knees crossed.You can place your hands on the floor for support.Contract the abs to lift the shoulder blades off the floor, as though reaching your chest towards your feet.Keep the legs in a fixed position and imagine bringing your belly button towards your spine at the top of the movement. Lower and repeat. Try 1-3 sets of 12-16.
Long Arm Crunch – Lie on the floor and extend the arms straight out behind the head with hands clasped, keeping the arms next to the ears.Contract the abs and lift the shoulder blades off the floor.Keep the arms straight and avoid straining the neck. If you feel neck pain, take one hand behind the head while keeping the other arm extended. Lower and repeat. Try 1-3 sets of 12-16 reps.
Plank on Elbows and Toes – Lie face down on mat resting on the forearms, palms flat on the floor.Push off the floor, raising up onto toes and resting on the elbows.Keep your back flat, in a straight line from head to heels.Tilt your pelvis and contract your abdominals to prevent your rear end from sticking up in the air or sagging in the middle. Hold for 20 to 60 seconds, lower and repeat for 3-5 reps.
Bent Over Two-Dumbbell Row – With a weight in each hand and your palms facing your torso, bend knees slightly and bring your torso forward by bending at the waist. As you bend, keep your back straight until it is almost parallel to the floor. The weights should hang directly in front of you as your arms hang perpendicular to the floor and your torso. While keeping your torso stationary, lift weights to your side, keeping elbows close to your body. Slowly lower weight back to starting position. Try 1-2 sets of 8-10 reps.
The Bridge – Lie flat on your back and bend knees with feet flat on the floor. Tighten abs. Raise buttocks off floor, keeping abs tight. From your shoulders to your knees should be in a straight line. Hold for a count of five. Slowly lower buttocks to floor. Try 5-8 reps.