You’re engaged — congratulations! As brides, we tend to hone in on the details as we curate our perfect wedding. From the color scheme and cocktails to the first dance and table settings, there’s nothing we don’t obsess over (at least a little).
If you’re like the majority of brides, your wedding planning checklist also includes some form of “get in wedding shape” to tick off. Because let’s face it: we’re all highly aware of the fact that we’ll be the star of the day, and when photographers are part of the equation, we want to make sure we look our best — for posterity’s sake, of course.
So, how can you possibly squeeze fitness into your planning schedule without going totally nuts or losing sleep? We’ve put together a variety of workout moves you can easily do at home with or without equipment, all of which target those areas your dress is likely to reveal: arms, back and abs, and some booty.
Supplement these quick movements with a balanced diet, and you’ll be wedding-ready in no time — and don’t forget to check out the bonus 30-minute full body workout at the end!
At-Home Arm Workouts
Don’t be fooled, the simple-seeming push-up actually targets a bunch of muscles at once. It’s all about getting the right form. Here’s how to make the most of them:
- Start in a plank position, with your shoulders stacked over your elbows and hands in a straight line to the floor, and your body in a flat, straight line from shoulders to feet.
- Lower your body to the floor, keeping your elbows bent as close to your sides as you can.
- Slowly push yourself back up, engaging your shoulders, biceps, and core to return to your starting position.
For a variation, or when you’re first getting started, you can put your knees on the floor once you’re in plank position to alleviate any strain on the wrists.
Looking for a challenge? Pause at the bottom of your push-up for three seconds before returning to starting position.
An oldie but a goodie, tricep dips hit you right where it hurts — so you know they work! Find a flat, sturdy surface just above your knee height (like a chair or a bench), and then start dipping:
- Facing away from the chair or bench, place your hands palms-down on top of the surface, with your fingers pointing toward you. Place your feet directly in front of you with your legs completely stretched out, so you are hovering over the floor at about a 45-degree angle.
- Keeping your legs straight and your core (abs/back) upright, slowly lower yourself so your butt almost touches the floor, until your arms are at a 90-degree angle.
- Slowly push yourself back up, still keeping your legs straight and core upright, and return to your starting position. When you feel it in your triceps (the outer muscles of your upper arm), you’ll know you’re doing it right.
For a variation, choose a lower starting surface that will help alleviate tension in the shoulders and upper back.
Looking for a challenge? Put a 5-20 lb. dumbbell on your lap once you’re in your starting position, then do the same steps as above.
Door Frame Rows
Confused? Don’t be — this workout is exactly what it sounds like. Find a door frame in your house that has a little room for you to move around, then follow these steps:
- Stand at about a 45-degree angle from your door frame. Grip the frame with both hands directly in front of you, so your arms are parallel to the floor.
- Gripping the door frame tightly with your arms bent close to your sides, slowly lower your body until your arms are fully extended.
- Using the muscles in your biceps and mid-back, pull yourself back upright to starting position. When you’re doing this right, you’ll feel it in your arms, big time. (No cheating!)
Take a look at this demonstration video above for a better understanding of this exercise.
For a variation, only lower yourself as far back as your range of motion allows.
Looking for a challenge? On the way back up, slow down your tempo. Take about one second to extend your arms, and three to return to starting position.
At-Home Back & Ab Workouts
Some people call this a “back extension,” but where’s the fun in that? Pretend you’re a superhero and save yourself from any fitness regrets with this back-targeting move! Here’s how to do it:
- Lie face-down on the floor, stretching your arms out in front of you so they’re flat on the floor.
- Keeping your abs tight and engaged, slowly lift your arms and legs at the same time, lifting as high as you can without bending at the elbows or knees, and without any back strain. You’ll feel a squeeze all the way from your tailbone to your upper back.
- Carefully lower your arms and legs back to starting position.
For a variation, lift the arms and legs in separate movements, stopping if you feel any pain or strain.
Looking for a challenge? Pause and squeeze your back in a pulsing movement for three seconds before lowering your arms and legs back to the ground.
Think imitating your junk drawer items will be easy? Think again. This move targets the core of your core, your central abs, your six pack, as they say. Find a spot on the floor, then follow these steps:
- Lie face-up with your hands tucked to your sides and lift your legs up about 6-10 inches off the floor.
- Keeping your back flat and your legs elevated, cross one shin over the other, alternating legs quickly in a scissor movement.
- Repeat for one minute before lowering your feet back to the ground.
For a variation, lower the feet to the ground after each repetition to alleviate strain on the back or neck.
Looking for a challenge? Add a sit-up every ten reps, keeping your feet elevated when you do it. You’ll feel that burn, baby, burn!
Plank with Side-to-Side Dips
This is one of my favorite moves to challenge my core. It might seem simple when you first get into it, but you’ll quickly find out why it works so well. Here’s how to do it:
- Set a timer for 1-2 minutes (this will depend on your current level of fitness).
- Start in a plank position, with your shoulders directly over your elbows and hands in a straight line.
- Start the timer. Hold the plank and dip one hip to the floor, careful to keep your body in a straight line without shifting onto each arm. Alternate dipping hips until time is up.
For a variation, just hold the plank on its own. It’s just about one of the only moves that will work no matter how much you put into it!
Looking for a challenge? Do a push-up every 10 dips. You’ll feel it just about everywhere.
At-Home Booty Workouts
Even if you don’t like squats, I’m willing to bet you know exactly what they are and how they work. These are your booty’s best friend — they’ll firm your derriere with a little extra lift and tone. Get it done:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a slight bend in the knees. Place your hands behind your head or in a prayer position.
- Bend your legs, keeping your torso upright (try not to bend your whole body), squeezing the glutes until your knees are almost at a 90-degree angle.
- Push up through your feet, keeping the glutes engaged until you reach the starting position.
For a variation, lower your body to a comfortable but challenging position, careful to stop when you feel any strain in the knees or lower back.
Looking for a challenge? Add a 10-15 lb. dumbbell in each hand, and pause at the bottom of each squat before slowly coming back up to starting position.
Oh yeah — you knew this was coming, didn’t you? The truth is, as much as we all dread the burpee, it gets the job done. Whether you decide to do the full burpee or a variation, you’re going to feel it in all the right places.
- Starting in a standing position, lower your body to the ground quickly, getting in a plank position.
- Do a push-up, then jump your feet up to meet your hands in a quick motion.
- Stand up and jump, reaching your hands up above your head before returning to your starting position.
For a variation, remove the push-up and/or the jump at the end.
Looking for a challenge? After your push-up, lift each leg up in the air as high as you can before jumping your feet to meet your hands.
I love this move, mostly because it’s quick, but also because it gives your legs some extra strength while also focusing on lifting your booty. Here’s how you can make the most of this move:
- Start in a lunge position, with your front leg bent at a 90-degree angle without your knee going over your toes, and your back leg bent at a 90-degree angle without your knee touching the floor.
- Jump up, switching legs in the air, coming down on the opposite foot and knee.
- Alternate sides for 20 repetitions.
For a variation, remove the jump and simply step back into your lunge on each side. This will help protect your knees and hips from aggravation.
Looking for a challenge? Hold a 10-15 lb. dumbbell at your chest as you do your reps. A little weight goes a long way!
Bonus: 30-Minute Full Body Workout
Now that you have these go-to moves in your back pocket, it’s time to put them together in a full body workout you can tackle in just 30 minutes — right at home! Just do three circuits of the movements below, with a short 30-45 second break in between sets. And don’t forget to hydrate!
- 20 squats
- 10 tricep dips
- 10 push-ups
- 10 jumping lunges (each leg)
- 30 scissor kicks
- 10 door frame rows (each arm)
- 30-second plank
- 30 supermans
- 5 burpees
At-Home Wedding Workouts
We have no doubt that these at-home workout moves, coupled with a sensible, balanced diet, are the key to helping you look and feel your best on your wedding day. And, if all else fails, boosting your endorphins is a great way to combat any wedding planning stress! As always, check out the Give It Blog for even more wedding planning tips and ideas, or reach out and Ask Cheryl your burning etiquette questions.
-Written by Brittney Winters-Gullo, who learned during her own wedding planning process just how valuable exercise can be, whether it’s just to get some time alone, regain (some of) your sanity, and just plain feeling strong.
Disclaimer: Please have your doctor’s approval before beginning any exercise program.