Ask the Expert

How to Work Out for Strapless, Mermaid, and Short Bridal Gowns

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. But with all the rigors of planning a wedding, who has time to spend hours on the treadmill? Savvy brides save time and get the most out of their workouts by targeting the muscles that need it most. We asked Katherine Bahlburg, owner and head trainer of Bells and Barbells, for silhouette-specific exercises that will trim and tone your figure in all the right places.


“The main focus here is your back and shoulders,” Katherine says. “When done correctly, these exercises will you give the subtle defined lines everyone is after.”

Ines Di Santo

1. Standing tricep kickbacks: Bend at the waist. Holding light to moderate weights, kick back each arm in an alternating style. Make sure to keep the top of your arm stable and only move your forearm. This is a great way to isolate the triceps. Complete four sets of 10 repetitions for each arm.

2. Standing rear deltoid fly: Stand with your feet directly under your sit bones (feet just a few inches apart) and fold over at the waist, letting your arms hang down holding the dumbbells. Keeping your elbows slightly bent, raise your arms out to the side until they reach shoulder height, squeeze your shoulder blades, as if you’re trying to crack a walnut, and pause for three seconds. Repeat for three sets of 30 seconds each.


“To get legs looking long, lean, and cellulite free, balance is key,” notes Katherine. “You have to define the quads and calves as well as your hamstrings. This is a great routine for when you’re in a hurry but need to hit all three muscle groups.”

Lela Rose

1. Squats: Keep the weight moderate depending on your fitness level. Technique is more important than how much weight is on the bar. Place a weighted bar on your back, just below the nape of your neck. As you squat, focus on keeping your weight in your heels and your knees slightly turned out. Lower down until your legs are parallel with the floor, keeping your chest up and eyes focused on something straight in front of you. As you return to a standing position, squeeze your rear end tightly. Do four sets of 10 repetitions.

2. Single-leg deadlifts: Keep your shoulders back and core tight, while keeping a slight bend in your plant leg. Holding a dumbbell or kettle bell in one hand, fold over at the waist, letting the weight slowly drop while simultaneously extending the corresponding leg backward and into the air. Keep it slow and controlled. Do four sets of 20 repetitions for each leg.

3. Box jumps: This move will compound the work you just did while also giving your calves a boost. Pick a box that you are comfortable jumping on; this can vary between 12 to 20 inches high. You want to jump and land with both feet squarely on the box and come to a full standing position before you step down. Do four sets of 20 repetitions.


“The goal here is to define your waist and highlight your hourglass shape,” says Katherine. “Complete this short ab routine once a day to help you tone and define that sexy midline.”

Monique Lhuillier

1. Russian twists: Balance yourself on your sit bones with knees bent and feet and shoulders elevated. You can choose to add weight by holding a dumbbell or kettle bell at your chest, or you can straighten your arms and hold in front of you. Slowly twist to the left and to the right making sure to squeeze your midline and make slow, controlled pauses. Repeat for one minute.

2. Planks: Get into pushup position on the floor, then bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms. Your elbows should be directly beneath your shoulders, and your body should form a straight line from your head to your feet. If forearms prove to be too challenging at first, walk yourself up to your hands and widen your feet apart. As your core becomes stronger, progress back down to forearms and bring feet closer together. Hold for one minute.

3. Flutter kicks: Laying on your back, place hands at your sides with palms facing down. With toes pointed and legs straight, lift your heels a few inches off the ground, and in a short motion, alternate right over left and left over right. Squeeze your core, and keep leg muscles contracted. Repeat for one minute. Rest one minute and repeat.

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