If your dream wedding dress has you hoping to show off shapely shoulders and buff biceps, starting a simple upper-body routine now will help get you there by your big day. These four moves are effective for sculpting your upper body, and since you don't need any equipment to do them, you can make them part of your daily morning routine. In a few weeks you'll notice that your shoulders, arms, and back are ready to be shown off in your strapless wedding dress in style!
Triceps can be hard to tone, so it makes sense to focus on them if you are aiming for a strapless look. To work your triceps without weights:
- Stand with feet parallel about a foot apart. Bend your knees as you fold your torso forward.
- Bend your elbows and lift them up behind you, and roll your shoulder blades down your back.
- Keeping your upper arms still, straighten your elbows so your arms are parallel with the ground, then return to your starting position to complete one rep. Repeat this motion for 10 to 15 total reps, keeping your elbows lifted for the whole exercise.
- Keeping your elbows extended, make tiny lifts up toward the ceiling with straight arms. Do this for 10 reps, keeping your shoulders drawn down away from your ears.
- From here, rotate your palms up to face the ceiling and then rotate your palms back to face each other. Finish approximately 10 full rotations.
- With your palms still facing the ceiling, bend your elbows toward your ears on a flat plane, then straighten them back behind you. Complete 10 to 15 reps to finish.
Drop and do as many of these as you can; you'll notice your biceps and shoulders getting more definition in no time.
- Start in the plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your body in one straight line; separate your feet so they're about shoulder-width apart to help you stay balanced throughout the exercise. Lower your knees to the floor if you need to.
- Place your hands together directly under your sternum, with the tips of your index fingers and thumbs touching. Your fingers and thumbs should form a diamond or triangle shape.
- As you inhale, bend your elbows out to the sides and lower your chest toward the floor. Then exhale to straighten your arms. This counts as one push-up.
- Complete as many push-ups as you can in one minute.
Read on for two more arm-toning moves!
The side plank helps strengthen your arms, shoulders, and back for an upper body that looks strong at any angle.
- Begin in a plank position (the top of a push-up) and roll over to your left side and plant your left heel down so you are balancing on the outside edge of your left foot. Stack your right foot on top of your left. If this is too hard, bend your left knee and place your left foot flat on the ground in front of your right leg for support.
- Reach your right arm up toward the ceiling, which will help you lift your waist.
- Press your left fingertips into the floor to take pressure out of your wrist. You can also keep your left forearm on the floor as shown.
- Hold for 30 seconds and work up to holding the position for one minute. Repeat on the other side to complete a set. Do three complete sets.
For more triceps and shoulder work, add this variation on the basic Chaturanga yoga pose to the mix.
- Come into the top of a push-up position.
- Bend your elbows behind you, brushing your arms against the sides of your body as you lower down. Hold Four-Limbed Staff with your body in one straight line, making sure your elbows are at 90-degree angles.
- Lift your right leg a few inches off the floor, pointing your toes, and hold for three deep breaths. Release that foot to the floor, and lift your left leg for another three breaths.
- Release your left foot to the floor and rest (you can inhale into Upward Facing Dog, and exhale into Downward Facing Dog for a nice stretch), then repeat for a total of three sets.