Gown by Ines Di Santo, photo by Dan Lecca
As you set out on your mission to find that stunning gown, those sparkling earrings and perfect shoes, don’t forget about the most coveted bridal accessory: sleek, sculpted arms. If you’ve been slacking in that department, don’t fret. The upper body is the quickest to respond to exercise and, with a little discipline and a solid plan, can be surprisingly easy to tone. These simple tips and targeted moves will put you on the fast track to lean, firm arms you’ll be proud to flaunt down the aisle. The simple exercises below are designed to strengthen the major muscles in your arms – but make sure you warm up for five minutes before starting and stretch afterward!
Targets: Outer Biceps
Equipment: Two 5lb dumbbells
3 Sets of 10 reps per arm. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
1. Begin with your back straight, feet shoulder-width apart, dumbbell in each hand, arms at your sides, palms facing toward one another, elbows in close to your ribs
2. Bend your left arm at a 90-degree angle so that your left forearm is parallel to the floor. Hold the dumbbell vertically in your left hand.
3. Keep your left arm in place. On an exhale, bend your right arm and curl your right hand toward your shoulder in a smooth, controlled motion. On an inhale, lower it back to the start position.
4. Repeat 9 times with your right arm, keeping your left arm in place.
5. Switch sides and repeat steps 1-4 with your left arm 10 times.
6. Do 10 additional reps, this time curling both arms simultaneously.
Equipment: a bench or a chair
3 sets of 10 reps. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
1. Grab a bench or a chair.
2. Stand with your feet placed about hip-width apart on the floor, facing with your back toward the chair.
3. Place your palms shoulder-width apart on the seat of the chair, fingers facing forward.
4. Bend your knees and straighten your arms, keeping a slight bend in your elbows
5. Slowly lower yourself toward the ground, bending your elbows until your arms are at a 90 degree angle. Do not dip lower, as this will add pressure to your shoulders.
6. Press from your palms and slowly straighten your arms to raise yourself back up to the starting position.
7. Repeat for 9 more reps.
Bent Over Raise
Targets: Rear Deltoids
Equipment: Two 5lb dumbbells
3 sets of 12-15 reps. Rest 30 seconds between sets.
1. With a dumbbell in each hand, bend forward at the hips. Keep your back flat and knees slightly bent. Let your arms hang straight down in front of you.
2. Exhale and, in a controlled movement, raise your arms to your sides until they reach shoulder level. This should bring your shoulder blades toward each other. Hands, elbows, and shoulders should be on the same line. Arms should be very slightly bent.
3. Pause for one second. Inhale and, in a controlled movement, bring your arms back down to starting position.
4. Repeat 12-15 times