Body Beautiful, Part 1

From squats to exfoliation, here’s how to get dress-ready for your big day

As a bride-to-be, you have a to-do list a mile long. But while you’re booking your reception site, hiring a photographer and testing out bands, we’d like to remind you to remember the most important part of the whole ceremony: You!

“Brides get so caught up in the wedding and being busy,” says Richel D’Ambra, owner of


As a bride-to-be, you have a to-do list a mile long. But while you’re booking your reception site, hiring a photographer and testing out bands, we’d like to remind you to remember the most important part of the whole ceremony: You!

“Brides get so caught up in the wedding and being busy,” says Richel D’Ambra, owner of Richel D’Ambra Spa & Salon in Philadelphia, “they forget about themselves.” To help you look and feel your best as you walk down the aisle in that gorgeous gown, we’ve teamed up with local fitness and beauty experts to help you prepare your most visible parts — your back, buns, arms and legs — for their Big Day. Try these exercises — most of which can be done at home — to target these four key areas, and then take in a spa treatment to enhance your glow.

Part 1: Back to Life

The back can be one of the most sensual parts of the body. Try these exercises to bring out its best.

Lat pull-downs: This will add definition and tone up the upper back for a strapless dress, says Kimberly Garrison, personal trainer for 1 on 1 Ultimate ­Fitness in Philadelphia. At the lat pull-down machine, grip the bar overhand, slightly wider than shoulder width. Sit on the bench, lean back slightly and pull down toward your chest, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Keeping the weight under control, extend your arms back to starting position.

Reverse flies: Try these to target and tone your deltoids, says Suzanne Snyder, assistant programs and services manager at the Philadelphia Sports Club in Chalfont. With a dumbbell in each hand, sit on the edge of a bench with arms at your sides. Keeping your arms straight with elbows slightly bent, raise the dumbbells to shoulder level and then lower.

Hyperextensions: “If your lower back is nice and toned, it will make your waist look smaller,” says Garrison. This exercise can be done on the floor, a stability ball or a hyperextension machine at the gym. If you have a stability ball, lay over it face down. Keeping your back straight, raise your shoulders until your body is in a straight line, then bend at the waist and lower back down.

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