When you're choosing chair sashes, narrowing your playlists, and scooting to dress fittings, it may feel impossible to fit in a decent workout. But it's quality, not quantity, that really counts, says Lynn Bode, personal trainer and owner of WorkoutsForBrides.com. "If you truly do not have more than, say, two hours per week to devote to exercise, then make those two hours as effective as possible," she says.
And with the limited time you do have, try to incorporate both cardio workouts and strength training exercises, Bode advises. "Interval training and boot-camp-style workouts are great choices, as they both burn a lot of calories and can offer an option of both cardio and strength-training in one workout."
She's devised this pre-wedding plan to offer heart-pumping benefits while toning what she considers to be the top bridal target areas — those most exposed in dresses: triceps, shoulders, and upper back. Perform each move for 30 to 60 seconds before advancing to the next exercise. After completing the final exercise, rest for 30 to 60 seconds and then return to first to complete another set. Do a total of 2 to 3 sets per session.
Move 1: Back Flye/Lunge Combo
Grab a resistance band with handles. Secure the middle of the band under your left foot and extend your right foot about 2 to 3 feet behind you. Hold band handles in both hands with arms at sides. Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle as you lower down toward the floor. (Your right foot bends slightly too, with only your right toes on the ground.) Simultaneously extend your arms out to your sides, up to shoulder level. Keep your left knee from extending in front of your toes. Return to start position, repeat, and switch sides.
Move 2: Power Air Jump
Start with feet together and hands together. Using your leg muscles, jump off the ground as far as you comfortably can while opening your legs out wide. Simultaneously make a circular motion over your head with your hands and back bring them back to center. Repeat.
Move 3: Push-Up on Ball
Lie on your stomach on a stability ball, walking your arms out on the floor in front of you until your hands are under your shoulders, fingers pointing forward. (The ball should be resting underneath your hips and upper thighs.) Bend your elbows and slowly lower your body to the floor. Keep your back straight throughout the move; do not allow it to sway or arch. Return to start position and repeat.
Move 4: Jump Rope
Jump both feet off the ground together as you bring the rope under your feet.
Move 5: Balancing Arnold Press
Sit comfortably on a stability ball with both feet on the floor. Begin by holding dumbbells in both hands, arms extended down to your sides, palms facing out in front of you, elbows against your torso. Bring hands to shoulders (palms facing shoulders) in a biceps curl, then extend both arms overhead, rotating dumbbells so that your palms face out again as you straighten your arms. Reverse each action to return to start position and repeat.
Move 6: Moving Front Kicks
Stand with feet together. Raise your left knee up to hip level, then kick leg directly out in front of you. As you lower your left foot down, move forward slightly and kick out with your right foot. Move forward with four kicks, then back again with four kicks. Repeat sequence.
Move 7: Bridge Lift with Triceps Extension
Begin by lying on the stability ball with your shoulder blades and head resting on the ball. Feet are on the floor with knees bent, hips dropped down. Arms are extended above head, elbows bent 90 degrees with palms facing each other. Raise hips up so that you create a straight line from hips to knees as you simultaneously extend upper arms straight above head keeping lower arms still. Return to start position and repeat.