Saturday, 10 October 2009

The Ultimate Bridal Workout FROM INSTYLE BRIDE

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 6 Months Before

Repeat this routine each week for a total of four weeks.

Monday to Friday: Cardio Begin with a five-minute warm-up, followed by stretching. Then choose one of these: power walking, jogging, spinning or any cardio class or machine. Alternate activities each day, and do what you enjoy so you'll stick with it. Beginners should continue moving at their target heart rate for 20 minutes; intermediates, for 45 minutes; and advanced exercisers, for up to 60 minutes. End with a five-minute walk and more stretches.

Saturday: Yoga You can take a class or do it at home with DVDs such as Jenkins's The Hollywood Trainer Yoga ($20;

Sunday: Spa day Reward yourself with a manicure, a massage, a facial or a bubble bath. Really! A day of rest lets your muscles get stronger and helps prevent injuries that might throw you off schedule later.

Heart Smarts Your target heart rate is the number of times your heart should beat per minute during exercise. To calculate it, subtract your age from 220. If you're a beginner, your target rate is 65 to 75 percent of the resulting figure. Intermediates should aim for 70 to 80 percent, and advanced exercisers, for 75 to 85 percent. So if you're 30 years old, subtract 30 from 220 to get 190, then multiply that by .7, .75 or .8, depending on your fitness level.

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 5 Months Before

Each week alternate two days of cardio with three days of strength training to help tone your legs, back, abdominals, chest and arms.

Back, biceps, abs: Warm up with three to five minutes of cardio and stretching. Unless the instructions for an exercise say otherwise (see list below), perform each move 10 to 15 times without stopping, rest one minute, do another set of 10 to 15 reps, rest, and repeat for a final set of 10 to 15 reps. After weight training, do 15 minutes of cardio (choose from last month's list), followed by a cooldown and a few minutes of easy stretching.
Rowing: Stand facing a bench with your left foot forward and your right foot back. Lean over, placing your left hand and knee on the bench. Grasp a 2- or 3-pound dumbbell in your right hand, wrist in, then pull elbow up and back, as if rowing. Switch sides to complete one set.
Bicep curls: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward. Keep arms at sides, palms facing forward. Holding dumbbells (2 or 3 pounds each for beginners, 5 to 7 pounds for intermediates, 7 to 10 pounds for advanced exercisers), bend elbows and raise weights to chest. Return arms to sides.
Standing abs 1: Standing on your left leg, extend right leg slightly to your right side, with toes touching the floor. Extend arms up to the left, forming a straight line with your extended leg. Keeping abs tight, pull hands down and right knee up to meet each other at your torso. Return to start. Do three sets on both sides.
Standing abs 2: Standing on left leg, extend right leg behind you and slightly to the side, toes touching the floor. Extend right arm toward ceiling. With abs tight, lift right knee and pull right elbow down so they touch. Do three sets on both sides.

Skip the weight training today, and choose from last month's list of cardio options.

Chest, triceps, shoulders, abs: See Monday for instructions on stretching time, number of sets and reps, cardio work and cooldown.
Push-ups: Do as many traditional push-ups as you can (aim for three sets of 10 to 15). When it gets tough, do knee push-ups. Keep your back straight and your abdominal muscles pulled in.
Tricep dips: Sit on the edge of a chair or bench, feet on the floor. Hold onto chair and lift buttocks forward and off the edge. Lower yourself toward the ground until your elbows are at a 90-degree angle, then push yourself back up.
Boxing jabs: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart; step one foot slightly forward, holding fists at shoulder height. Alternating arms, punch out without locking your elbow, turning wrist so knuckles face up.
Overhead shoulder press: Stand with arms out to the sides, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle. Holding dumbbells (2 to 3 pounds each for beginners, 5 to 7 pounds for intermediates, 7 to 10 pounds for advanced exercisers), straighten arms toward the ceiling. Return to start.

Cardio: See Tuesday.

Legs, abs: Follow Monday's instructions for stretching, number of sets and reps, cardio and cooldown.
Squats: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes facing forward, arms extended in front of you. Squat until thighs are parallel to the floor, while keeping knees directly over ankles. Return to start.
Reverse lunge: Stand with feet together. Extend left leg behind you and drop into a lunge, keeping right knee over ankle. Return to start. Repeat with right leg behind.
Standard abduction: Stand on left leg, toes forward. Lift right leg straight out to side, squeezing right buttock, and return. Repeat with left leg.
Single-leg dead lifts: Holding dumbbells (2 pounds each for beginners, up to 7 pounds for intermediates, up to 10 for advanced exercisers), stand on left leg, weight on heel, and extend right leg behind you with toes pointed. Keep arms at sides. Tip forward until your torso and right leg are parallel to the floor. Return to start. Repeat with left leg raised.
Frog diamond: Lying on your back, extend legs straight into the air. Keep thighs and heels together and feet flexed. Open legs wide, bend knees and bring toes together to make a diamond shape. Extend legs while squeezing inner thighs, and press feet to ceiling.


Spa day

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 4 Months Before

Now's the time to increase the intensity of your strength training.

For the next two months continue the same pattern of five days of strength training and cardio, followed by a yoga day and a spa day. During the strength training, instead of doing three sets of 15 repetitions, do two sets of 25 repetitions. The switch will get your heart beating faster, increase the number of calories you burn, and create more definition.

You should also increase the amount of weight you lift. For each set of 25, do the first 10 to 15 repetitions with the heaviest dumbbells you can lift (but no more than 15 pounds each) while keeping good form. Then for the rest of each set lower the weight by 5 to 10 pounds.

The Ultimate Bridal Workout: 2 Months Before

Burn more calories by doing mini cardio moves during your strength training.

During the final eight weeks keep up what you've been doing: two days of cardio and three days of strength training, plus the yoga and spa days.

During your strength training, choose one activity from this list of mini cardio moves to perform quickly, for 30 to 60 seconds between each set.
• Jumping rope
• Side shuffles: Shuffle three times to the right (imagine the Electric Slide dance); touch left hand to the ground. Repeat to the left.
• Jogging in place
• Front kicks: Kick right leg forward, put it on the floor, then step your left leg behind you and touch floor with your left hand. Switch legs.

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