10 Exercises That Will Make You Look Great in Every Bridesmaid’s Dress

If there is one occasion on the planet guaranteed to make you stress out over your fitness routine — it’s being in someone’s wedding. Seriously, having to squeeze into a bridesmaid’s dress is the stuff nightmares are made of. While the bride is losing weight by running a million errands and forgetting to eat, you’re helping sample cakes and partaking in every drink-fueled bachelorette-type function under the sun. Not ideal for fitting into an evening gown of any kind.

But believe it or not, looking good in that bridesmaid’s dress is actually a very achievable goal. With an arsenal of exercises added to your workout repertoire, you can be in the best shape ahead of the big day. (Leaving you much more time to help the bride and less time to worry about your ensemble.) Here are 10 great exercises to help you look good in any bridesmaid’s dress.

1. If your dress has a plunging neckline…

Fitness instructor exercising with his client at the gym

Chest presses will give you better results than any fancy bra. | iStock.com/SolisImages

… do dumbbell chest presses. A low neckline is ultra feminine, and is best for showcasing your chest. Skip the push-up bra and perk up your pectoral muscles with this chest workout that needs little more than a set of dumbbells.

Follow this quick and easy how-to from Women’s Health & Fitness, which gives you all the basics on this chest workout. As suggested, use less weight and more reps for a beginner’s workout, and more weight with fewer reps if you are looking to really build your chest muscles.

2. If your dress is empire or belted at the waist…

Close Up Of Bride And Bridesmaids Holding Flowers

These types of gowns call for a toned tummy. | iStock.com/Daisy-Daisy

… do rotating planks. When a dress can give you a coke-bottle silhouette, you want to have the tightest and most toned abdominal and obliques in the bridal party. This can be achieved with this upgraded plank exercise, which will help you work up a sweat while whittling your waist.

Following Fitwirr’s how-to guide, start on the floor with your body propped up on your right forearm and elbow, with your left arm extended straight into the air. Tighten your entire midsection as you reach that left arm under your raised body, then return it back up to the sky. Doing 10 to 12 repetitions per side is sure give you a real workout.

3. If your dress is strapless…

Focus on Bouquets

Strapless gowns means your arms will be on full display. | iStock.com/STUDIObleu

… hit the rowing machine. To look your best and feel extra confident, you will want to prep with an upper body workout that targets everything from your shoulders and chest, down to your back and through your arms. Rowing is, without a doubt, the exercise you need to do before rocking a strapless frock.

Livestrong gives a great how-to on using the rowing machine at your gym to the best of your advantage — and how to use it properly and not hurt yourself. (Really, you don’t have time to be hurt ahead of looking great in that bridesmaid’s dress!) No time to hit the gym? Here is an at-home rowing workout using a resistance band.

4. If your dress is snug through your lower half…

happy people doing lunge exercise in gym

This lunge variation is a great choice. | iStock.com/dolgachov

… do reverse lunges. If your bridesmaid’s uniform highlights your tush and legs, you will need a lower-body blast that goes beyond the usual squats. Reverse lunges pack an extra punch as they work all parts of your thighs and glutes. (Bonus: Your core will get a mini-workout from having to keep your body centered.)

Take a cue from Livestrong and start with a basic bodyweight lunge. Starting with your feet shoulder-width apart and your weight centered, step your right foot back and slowly bend your knee into a 90-degree angle. Slowly return to raise back up and return to center, then repeat with the left leg for one repetition.

5. If your dress has straps…

woman with expander exercising in gym

Woman doing exercises with expander | iStock.com/dolgachov

… do a resistance band workout. A tank or strappy dress is going to showcase your arms, so an exercise that works every part of your limbs at once is the way to go. Resistance bands are a favorite among gym junkies and professional dancers, but are also great to have in your home. Plus, the band is an excellent workout tool as it helps build your muscles and endurance.

Not sure where to start with a resistance band workout? This guide to sculpting sexy arms — courtesy of Fitness — is sure to give you inspiration.

6. If your dress exposes your back…

woman with flowers in her head

This sexy style calls for a strong back. | iStock.com/dolgachov

… do lateral raises. Though it’s more likely the bride will be the one rocking the glamorous, backless number, you’ll also want to be prepared should you also be baring your spine and lats.

Lateral raises — a close cousin of the lat machine you see at the gym — is a great at-home alternative that only requires your go-to dumbbells. As PopSugar demonstrates, it’s imperative you keep your abs pulled inward to help protect your lower back. With a dumbbell in each hand, exhale as you raise your arms — elbows slightly bent — out to the side, exhaling as you do so. Inhale as you slowly lower your arms back to the starting position. A couple sessions of this workout, and you will be just as confident as the beautiful bride to be.

7. If your dress is cut on the bias…

Fashion on a hanger

Fashion on a hanger | iStock.com/BobYue

… do plank twists to tighten your lower abs. Dresses put together with this particular cut tend to hug your body where it is the fullest, so keeping your stomach toned is key.

Shape breaks down twists, which have you start in a plank position and twist to bring your knee into the opposite side of your chest. Between crunching your lower abs and the sweat you build up from holding the plank position, your belly is sure to get a workout and be dress-ready.

8. If your dress has a high slit…

Sexy female legs and shopping

Get ready to show off your gams. | iStock.com/Darunechka

… do mountain climbers. The peek-a-boo effect of this type of dress — whether it’s up one leg or up the back of your dress — will seem even more playful when you want to show off your toned legs. Mountain climbers are perfect for this, targeting your upper legs while simultaneously giving you a cardio workout to help trim your thighs.

For a basic version of this exercise, start in a push up plank position. Then, lift one knee to your chest at a time and run in place, as if — surprise, surprise — you are climbing a mountain. Women’s Health offers five great variations of this exercise, which are sure to make your booty pop in that form-fitting ensemble.

9. If your dress is knee- or tea-length…

Bridal Party - Ladies

A bride and her bridesmaids | iStock.com/jackiebutler

… do calf raises. When everything from the knee upward is covered, your calves and ankles will be on full display. (Not to mention how well you are able to strut down the aisle in heels.) Go with an exercise favored by ballerinas everywhere, which tones both your calves and helps to strengthen and stabilize your ankles.

As PopSugar demonstrates, this exercises is as user-friendly as it seems. Simply stand with your feet hip-width apart, weight centered over the centers of your feet. Inhale and slowly raise up onto your tip-toes. Then, exhale and lift through your core as your heels slowly descend back to the floor.

10. No matter the style of dress, you should definitely…

Home Fitness Red Weights On Table And Woman Training Abs

Young adult african american woman in sports clothing at home | iStock.com/diego_cervo

… do a circuit workout. Yes, all of the aforementioned exercises are effective on their own. But they will be even more beneficial if you put them together for a pre-event workout circuit. You can certainly mix together a couple of the exercises already mentioned to get a good full-body burn. Or, if you prefer a pre-made workout, this at-home rendition from Fitness is sure to get you on the path of working that bridesmaid’s dress with the utmost confidence.