By Summer Vantrees
Photography by Jana Pastors, Kindred Moments Photography
Whether you’re the bride, a bridesmaid, or a happy friend, you certainly want to feel and look your best. To help shed a few pounds or tone in the right places, here are a few fitness tips to help your arms, thighs, and core, all depending on your fitness level and what you have access to at home.
Nothing is simpler for improving your arms than push-ups. If traditional push-ups are too much, modify by being on your knees rather than toes. Aim for 100, broken into 10 rep sets sprinkled throughout your day. If you can do more than 10 at a time, go for it!
Using a medicine or stability ball for your push-ups will add to the benefit of the exercise. Try putting your feet on the ball and using the incline as an added challenge. Another option is to place your hands on the ball and do your push-ups into it, rather than into the ground.
Rather than being restricted to push-ups for arm toning, you can move to pull-ups. If a strict pull-up is too challenging, add a band to the bar to help lift you. Another modification is to add a box under the bar, from which you can jump. With 100 reps three times a week, not only will your arms see a change, but so will your shoulders and back, which is perfect for sleeveless attire.
Try an air squat. Be sure not to allow your knees to cross over your toes. Get a timer and set it for 3 minutes. In that time, perform as many air squats as possible. As endurance improves, bump up the time.
If you have a weightlifting plate or a kettle bell, hold one as you perform lunges. Weighted lunges provide double the impact of a traditional lunge. Hug the weight close to chest and step forward with one leg, while the other knee bends to touch the ground. As you work, be sure to alternate the lead leg after each rep. Start with 3 rounds of 10 and build up, as able.
Front squats with a barbell are a great option for toning your thighs. For this particular exercise, form is key, so do not attempt to overdo it with weight. Start light and use no weight on the bar, adding as able when strength increases. Try completing 4 rounds of 8, with as much rest between as needed.
It doesn’t get more basic than the sit-up. Make sure when completing a sit-up that you do not put your hands behind your neck and pull your head forward, for this can cause injury. Always keep your hands crossed in front. Beginners should make a target of 3 reps of 15-20 sit ups, twice a day.
Bring back the medicine ball or weighted plate and follow the no equipment plan. If the reps are easy, add a pause midway, holding your abdominal muscles tight while gripping the weight at your chest or keeping the medicine ball above your head. This small moment of being still will amplify the impact of the exercise.
An overhead squat is one of the most challenging weightlifting moves, but its difficulty comes paired with big results. When performing an overhead squat, you always want to be confident in your lifting ability. In doing this exercise, thrust the bar overhead, arms spaced at least shoulder width apart. With a steady back and engaged core, squat. So as many reps as able, aiming to end before form is compromised. Rest and repeat.
As with any fitness regimen, if you feel uncomfortable or uncertain of any movements, seek more knowledge from a professional. With some dedication, you will be wedding ready soon!