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loosen your limbs with these stretches

Chest
Stand alongside a wall. Hold your arm along the wall, with your palm facing away from the wall, and rotate your hand slowly. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat with your other arm.

Shoulders
Stand comfortably with your feet hip-width apart. Bend your right arm at the elbow and place your left wrist on top of your right elbow. Take your left hand and gently cup your right elbow and pull it left. Hold for 30 seconds, then repeat on the other side.

Biceps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Extend your arms up and out to your sides. Rotate your arms fully to one side and then fully to the other side.

Triceps
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding your arms at your sides. Bring your right arm straight overhead and bend it at the elbow, resting on the side of your head. Lift your left arm, and grab and hold your right elbow for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat.

Shape Up: Tone and Sculpt Your Arms for Your Wedding

Going strapless? Try this arm workout to look fit in your wedding dress.

Bent-Over Dumbbell Rows

  • Stand with your legs hip-distance apart holding a pair of dumbbells with a palm-up grip. Keeping your back straight, bend forward at the waist with your knees slightly bent.
  • Extend your arms straight down and look forward. Pull the dumbbells toward your chest. Keep your elbows close to your sides and concentrate on pulling with your back muscles while you raise your elbows as high as possible.
  • Slowly lower your arms back to the starting position.
Area worked: The middle part of your back

Seated Dumbbell Press

  • Sit on a chair or giant exercise ball with your feet flat on the floor, and grab a pair of dumbbells with a palm-down grip.
  • Press the dumbbells up until your arms are fully extended over your head (do not lock your elbows).
  • Slowly lower your arms so your elbows form a 90-degree angle, then repeat.
Area worked: The front and sides of your shoulders

Suggested Workout

To get started, all you need is a chair and a pair of 5 to 10-pound dumbbells.

1. Get your heart pumping with a 10-minute cardio warm-up -- hop on a treadmill, run up and down stairs, or jump rope.

2. Do 10-15 reps of the first exercise, then move onto the next and do the same. Do each exercise, one after the other until you've finished all five.

3. Once you've finished all five, rest one minute, then repeat steps one and two for a total of three sets.


Standing Dumbbell Curls

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of dumbbells with a palm-up grip. Extend your arms so they rest in front of your thighs.
  • Curl the dumbbells up toward your chest in a slow, controlled manner. Work both arms at once, and contract your biceps at the top of the movement.
  • Lower the dumbbells slowly to the start position without allowing them to rest on your thighs.
Area worked: Your biceps

Standing Dumbbell Kickbacks

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a pair of dumbbells. Bend at the waist until your upper body is almost parallel with the floor, keeping your back straight and your knees slightly bent.
  • Keeping your upper arms alongside your body, bend your elbows to a 90-degree angle.
  • Slowly extend your forearms backward till they are almost straight alongside your body, contracting your triceps when you reach the top (don't lock your elbows). Return to starting position.
Area worked: The back of your arms

Chair Dips

  • Sit on the edge of a chair. Place your hands by your hips with your fingers cupping the front edge of the chair and your elbows pointing back. Place your feet flat on the floor, with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle.
  • Bend your elbows to slowly lower your upper body toward the floor. After going as low as you can, push yourself upward until your arms are fully extended.
  • Squeeze at the top position, then begin lowering yourself again (no sitting down till your set is finished!).
Area worked: The back of your arms

All exercises and stretches adapted from Bridal Bootcamp: Look Fabulous on Your Big Day by Cynthia Conde.


-- Kate Wood

See More: Getting in Shape