If there are two things every bride worries about, it’s finding the dream dress and looking good in it. Sure, you have catering, flowers, entertainment, and food on your to-do list, but feeling confident on the big day once all that’s planned reigns supreme. After all, there’s a reason wedding diets and bridal boot camps are so popular.
But what if there were some tweaks you could make to your regimen that would give you that extra oomph in your gown? Well, we tracked down some of the top celebrity trainers in the country to find out exactly what exercises you should be doing based on the silhouette of the dress. Here’s what they had to say.
Unless otherwise noted, doing three sets of 12 of the recommended exercises three to five days a week starting at least three months out from your wedding day will help get the look you want.
In a mermaid gown, it’s all about showing off the butt and thighs, so that’s the area where you should be focusing. How do you tone those often-tricky areas?
“To contour your butt, hips, and thighs, with my brides I always focus on using the ankle bands,” says Stephen Pasterino of P.volve, Victoria’s Secret model favorite. “My favorite move to do with the heavy resistance is the rear step back and the 90-degree step. With the light resistance, I like to do front leg raises and 90-degree butt presses on the mat.”
Julie Wandzilak, a Tier X Coach at celebrity favorite gym Equinox, also suggests adding a series of lunges into your routine to target multiple parts of the leg and thigh. “Do set of forward and reverse lunges, traveling lunges, and side lunges,” she says. “Those moves can whip your butt and thighs into shape for a beautiful form-fitting gown.” Try 20 lunges on each side.
With an off-the-shoulder gown, all eyes will be on your shoulders and arms, so it’s important to incorporate some toning moves that emphasize what you’ll be showing off the most.
Harley Pasternak, known for whipping stars like Kim Kardashian and Jessica Simpson into shape, recommends focusing on the back of the arms (triceps), shoulders, and biceps (front of arms). “The best exercises are lying dumbbell tricep extensions, and a dumbbell curl press,” he says.
Lana Titus, master trainer at Reese Witherspoon favorite Burn 60, adds, “Do a front to side shoulder raise with 5lb dumbbells for 20 reps alternated with 20 bicep curls and 20 triceps extensions. Go heavier on bicep and triceps weights to really tone and sculpt.”
And if you can’t get to the gym often, Wandzilak says stick to some basics to squeeze in a workout at home. “Owning the standard push-ups and pull-ups can make those biceps look lean and sleek in your off the shoulder gown.”
Strapless Sweetheart Neckline Gown
Like an off-the-shoulder dress, a strapless sweetheart style gown will highlight the arms. But it will also show off the chest more, so focusing on moves that boost your bust.
“The key is doing exercises on a bit more of an incline,” says Blake Lively’s trainer, Don Saladino. “Do a one-arm incline dumbbell press. You’re only pressing with one dumbbell, but you’re going on anywhere from a 45 to 60-degree angle. You can start working on some pike handstands or wall handstands where you put your feet up on a box to where your legs are straight, and almost try and get your torso vertical.”
Add in a chest press too, says Titus. “Use 8 to 10lb dumbbells and go for 20 chest presses alternated between 20 pushups to target and tone the front body while still getting tricep and bicep work in.”
Pasterino has a secret technique that he swears by to work this area. “When doing standing exercises, I always keep my clients in perfect posture, chest up, stomach extended, shoulders back,” he says. “Holding perfect posture is tiring and requires constant focus, but by holding it, you’re engaging all the muscles in the upper body. It transforms my client’s physiques, and it makes them taller, more confident looking, and lean.”
The key to rocking that sheath dress is achieving that long and lean look. And a lot of that comes down to some quality cardio.
“Some higher intensity work can help lean your figure out for a sheath dress,” says Wandzilak. “Adding a loaded movement circuit with some cardio finisher can assist in any extra caloric burn.”
A favorite fat-burning tool of Saladino’s is the sled. “Pushing a sled is going to get the entire body to engage,” he says. “I also like the battle ropes. That’s a form of cardio where you grab ropes and swing them for 10 to 15 seconds as hard as you can, and then you rest. Both of these exercises are compound movements targeting the full body.”
Also, says Pasternak, you should add some toning moves that create better posture and the illusion of a longer leaner torso. “Do Supermans, reverse dumbbell flies, and a hip bridge,” he notes. “These will achieve that look you’re going for.”
Low-Cut Back Gown
Getting that enviable “c” curve where your butt meets your waist can be tricky but will make you pop in that daring wedding dress. “I love back extensions or rowing for this area,” says Rise Nation owner and Emma Stone trainer Jason Walsh. “Try using the TRX to do a row or a straight bar. Also, bent over rows are fantastic. We do those and then back extensions. Even deadlifting is going to strengthen the core and the lower back.”