The following workout routines (with variations for both gym and home workouts) were developed by Bonne Marano, a certified personal trainer in New York City, to help you get strong and look great in your wedding gown. Please remember, when you try this or any other new fitness regime: safety first! If you’re not sure you understand an exercise please seek out a qualified fitness professional who can check your form in person.
In the Gym
First, warm up for 5 to 10 minutes by jumping rope, walking on a treadmill, or anything else that gets your muscles moving. Then do three sets of each of the following exercises. Be sure to adjust the suggested weights based on your personal ability.
The set-up: Place the feet arms” width apart. You will lunge sideways on this exercise.
The movement: Bend your right knee and lower yourself toward the floor, being careful not to hunch your back. You can extend your left arm out for balance. In a slow, controlled motion, come back up into the middle, until both legs are straight and stand. Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes. Repeat 15 times on each side.
Cable leg abduction
The set-up: Use the ankle strap attachment on the cable machine, attached on the low pulley, near the bottom of the cable frame. Start with 10 pounds on the machine. Face sideways with the left side of your body to the cable frame, and an ankle strap around the right leg,
The movement: Bend your right knee slightly and extend it from the hip out to the side. Hold for a count of three and release. Repeat 20 times on each leg.
The set-up: Arrange a Step Reebok platform with 4 or 5 risers underneath it so the top of the platform is approximately 10 to 12 inches high. Stand straight in front of your step with good posture. Holding 8 or 10 pounds in dumbbells is optional.
The movement: Step up by placing your right foot on the bench, lining up the knee at a ninety-degree angle over the ankle. You then “step-up” so your left foot comes to rest next to your right. Step down right foot first, then left. Repeat 15 times on each leg.
Outer Thigh Machine
The set-up: Use 40 or 50 pounds. Sit straight up in the abduction machine, knees against the pads.
The movement: Contract your glutes and push the pads out to the side. Hold for a count of 5 and release. Repeat 10 to 15 times.
Start by warming up for five to 10 minutes by jumping rope, marching in place, or anything else that gets your muscles moving. Then do three sets of each of the following exercises. Be sure to adjust the suggested weights based on your personal ability.
One Leg Squats
Variation #1 – with a stair step:
The set-up: Face sideways to the step, right foot on the platform, left foot on the floor. Feet are hip-width apart, arms by sides.
The movement: Sit back in a squat and reach your arms forward (to help with balance). Lower until the thighs are parallel to the floor. Squeeze your butt as you come up.
Variation # 2 – without a step:
The set-up: Stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart. Take a small step back with your right foot and plant it firmly on the floor. The feet are about 3 inches apart. Bend both knees slightly with your left foot flexed (toes point up).
The movement: Hold the arm out for balance, and lower your hips, as if you were sitting in a chair. Return to start position and repeat 15 to 20 times on each leg.
Weighted Leg Raise
The set-up: Rest on your knees and elbows. Keep your back straight and abs tight to help support your back. Place a 3 to 5 pound weights behind your bent left knee and squeeze it to hold it in place.
The movement: Keeping the leg bent almost at a 90-degree angle, raise your leg and flex the foot as if you were going to touch the ceiling with the bottom of your shoe and hold, making sure your thigh is parallel to the floor. Slowly lower your left knee to the floor. Do not go beyond the right knee. Repeat 25 times on each leg.
Sidekick (from kickboxing):
The set-up: Stand on your right leg with your right foot turned out in a 45-degree angle. The right knee is slightly bent. (You can hold on to a chair to help with your balance.) Turn your left hip out and rest on the ball of the left foot.
The movement: Lift your left knee parallel to the floor and extend from the knee. Do not lock your knee on the extension. Bend the left knee and lower. Repeat 12 to 15 times on each leg.
Outer Thigh Weighted Leg Raise
The set-up: Lie down on your right side. Place a 3 or 5 pound dumbbell in your left hand and rest it on your left leg. Align your hip so your inner thighs don’t touch.
The movement: Bend your left leg slightly and extend it from the hip over the right knee. Maintain a space of 2 to 4 inches throughout the exercise. Lift the leg an inch higher and return to the start position. Repeat 25 to 30 times on each leg.
Workout copyright of Bonne Marano. Photo courtesy of Enzoani.