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The strapless wedding dress is one of the most popular styles of choice for brides-to-be. It's simple, classic, and looks great on almost all body types. But the go-to silhouette can cause some brides unexpected arm anxiety. After all, it's not easy to have perfectly-sculpted guns like Michelle Obama or Jennifer Aniston! But while the clean lines of a strapless gown may draw attention to your upper body, toning the area is easier than you might expect. Trish Kinsman, founding instructor at Swerve Fitness, says that there are super-easy yet effective shoulder and arm exercises you can do — and with consistent work, you could see results in as few as 10 to 15 days. Below are five moves she swears by to get all her bridal clients buff by wedding day.
Push-Ups: "Push-ups are one of the best workouts you can do that work every upper body muscle and reshape the arm," advises Kinsman. "Plus, you can adjust the intensity of the exercise for your strength level." Make it easier by placing your palms against a table or desk and pushing up at an angle. Or, make it harder by reversing your position and elevating your legs with your chair while pushing off the ground. If you want to target triceps, try a slimmer stance and keep your elbows close to the sides of your body as you push up. Whichever variation you prefer, do as many as you can before you're worn out. Rest, and then repeat the set again.
Plank: Holding yourself in plank position will engage every muscle in your shoulder and arms. "Plant your hands directly under your shoulders, ground your toes, and keep your navel tucked in and hips level," explains Kinsman. Hold for as long as you can without compromising your form, rest, and repeat. For added intensity and a bit of cardio, try "walking the plank" where you drop from your hands to your elbows one arm at a time and then push yourself back to starting position.
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Tricep Dips: "I love having brides do tricep dips because the exercise gives the back of arms that beautiful defined curve," says Kinsman. You can do the tricep dip either by using a chair or directly on the floor. If you're on the floor, make sure your feet are flat on the ground, knees together and rise up to a tabletop position with your fingers pointed towards your body. Then simply bend your elbows and push back up to tabletop. Or put your hands on a chair and your feet on the ground and make it more challenging by extending your legs straight and keeping the weight on your heels.
Shoulder Press: "The shoulder press is basically three exercises in one," says Kinsman. "It targets your shoulders, biceps, and triceps." Grab a couple of water bottles for weight, and stand with your feet hip width apart. Bend your elbows and raise your arms until your elbows are at shoulder level with your palms facing outward. Push up until your weights touch, and then back down.
Lateral Shoulder Raise: A worry of all brides-to-be and women alike? Armpit muffin top! According to Kinsman, the lateral shoulder raise is perfect for toning just that area. This move works your shoulders and activates two important muscles right under your armpit. Start by holding some weight in your hands with your arms down by your hips. Now, keep your arms straight and raise them up until they are parallel to your shoulders and slowly bring them back down.