Get Toned Arms for your Wedding Day with Arm Exercises from SassyFit!

July 6, 2009 | editorial team

Today begins week three of our five week workout program with SassyFit, and we’re feeling stronger, more energetic and finally, not so sore! (During week one, even walking hurt.) It’s amazing how quickly results can appear when you learn great exercises and really stick with them.

To help you prepare for your big day, SassyFit owner (and our personal fitness guru) Kelly Singer, has put together some simple but effective arm exercises just for brides that will create strong arms, chests and shoulders – the secret weapons for looking and feeling fabulous in your wedding dress! Her instructions are easy to follow, and she even demonstrated her moves for us so you can see each step in the photos. All you need are some hand weights and you can do these exercises anywhere. Thanks Kelly! Take it away…

Strapless wedding dress from Alvina Valenta
(Above image from Alvina Valenta)

Strapless dresses are classic and beautiful. These two moves will help you dazzle in your dress by creating a beautiful back and shapely shoulders.

Arm toning exercises for brides from SassyFit, images by Junebug Weddings


The bent over row is one of the best exercises to tone your back and shoulders. Stand with legs at a comfortable distance apart (about shoulder width) with a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the body. Bend over about 45 degrees, keeping your back straight as you would for a dead lift or squat. Dumbbells should be kept at about shoulder width apart. Engage your core, keep your back straight and lift the weights to the bottom of your rib cage, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Stay bent over until all repetitions are complete. Do three sets of 20 repetitions. For best results, use dumbbells that are challenging enough where you can barely eek out that 20th repetition.

Arm toning exercises for brides from SassyFit, images by Junebug Weddings

L Lateral Raises

If you want to add shape and definition to the rounded cap on your shoulders (your deltoids), look no further than L lateral raises! Grab a dumbbell in each hand and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. It is beneficial to stand in front of a mirror to monitor your technique. Hold your left dumbbell with your palm facing the front of your left thigh and your right dumbbell facing the outside of your right thigh. Keeping a slight bend in your elbow, raise both arms up to shoulder level, so if someone were above you looking down, your arms would be in an L shape. Alternate positions on each side, returning to the starting position in between, and when your arms are up bring your elbows higher than your wrists so that the thumb-side is lower than your pinky-side. Picture pouring out a glass of water, with the dumbbell as your cup. This will ensure that extra squeeze in your side deltoids. Your back should remain straight and your lower body should be stationary. I recommend using 3-8 lbs dumbbells and completing 3 sets of 15-20 repetitions on each side.


Halter neck wedding dress from Jenny Packham
(Above image from Jenny Packham)

Strong, toned arms look amazing in a halter cut because the style draws eyes to the symmetry of your shoulders and biceps.

Arm toning exercises for brides from SassyFit, images by Junebug Weddings

Shoulder Press

The dumbbells should be held at shoulder height with your palms facing out. Next, push the dumbbells over your head until your arms are almost completely straight and the dumbbells are touching. At the top of the movement do not lock your elbows. Slowly lower your dumbbells back to the starting position. Keep your abs and your lower back tight to support your spine as you push the dumbbells above your head. I recommend using 8-15 lbs and completing three sets of 20 repetitions.

Arm toning exercises for brides from SassyFit, images by Junebug Weddings

Hammer Curl

The hammer curl is a variation of the classic biceps curl. This is one of my favorite arm exercises because they are gentler on your wrists and are more effective as they keep the tension in your biceps muscles the entire time. Hold two dumbbells and stand straight up with your arms by your side and your palms facing towards your body. Engage your core and lightly squeeze your shoulder blades together as you raise your arms until your hands are almost to your shoulders. Pause at the top of the hammer curl and squeeze your bicep muscles, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. I recommend using 8-15 lbs and completing three sets of 20 repetitions.


Asymmetrical neckline wedding dress from Peter Langner
(Above image from Peter Langner)

So hot right now! A muscular chest and toned triceps will give anyone the confidence to rock this bold and beautiful dress.

Arm toning exercises for brides from SassyFit, images by Junebug Weddings

Yoga push-up

These are killers and will create muscle definition after only a few days of doing them! Start in a plank position- place the hands directly below the shoulders with fingers splayed wide, so all the weight is not on the wrist, but spread out through the fingers. Keep the knees straight and the heels pressing back, feet flexed. Gently squeeze your buns and draw your belly button in. Keep the hips in line with the body and be aware of any sinking. Look forward about 45 degrees. Every part of the body is solid, light and connected. Inhale while lowering your body and exhale while rising. The elbows should be facing behind you and your ribcage should glide alongside your arms. Stop when your elbows are at 90 degrees and hover for 2 seconds. Stay solid throughout as you push back up to the starting position. If you’re doing these for the first time, lower less than halfway down. As you get stronger your range will improve. Never land on the ground, and do a modified version on your knees if needed. Do three sets of 10-20 repetitions (add more reps each week).

Arm toning exercises for brides from SassyFit, images by Junebug Weddings

Triceps Kickback

The kickback isolates the triceps so they instantly pop! Hold a dumbbell in each hand, bend your knees and bend from the hip so your torso is parallel with the floor. Squeezing your shoulder blades together, bring your shoulders back and down away from your ears. Point your elbows as high as you can towards the ceiling while leaving the dumbbell hanging by your ribcage. Slowly extend your arms until they are straight behind you, in-line with your torso (do not change the position of your elbow). Pause for a second, then lower back to starting position, elbows at 90 degrees. Your upper arm and elbow should not move at all during the entire set. If you cant do a complete set without moving your upper arm/elbow, use a lighter dumbbell. I recommend 8-15 lbs dumbbells and three sets of 20 repetitions.

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  1. Thanks Christy! This is just what I need and I’ve forwarded the link to my bridesmaids.

  2. thank you…just in time and just what i need. :)

  3. I LOVE LOVE LOVE that halter dress! It’s just gorgeous! And thank you so much for the tips! My biggest problem area are my arms and always has been. I am going to give these exercises a shot. Thank you!

  4. Daydreaming of wearing the Alvina Valenta.

  5. Great info. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Love your blog (even though I don’t have a date set for my own wedding)! The exercise suggestions were great and just wanted to mention that most of them are part of the Active Personal Trainer Program for the Wii Fit! Feel the burn, brides ;0)

  7. I’ve been looking for some arm toner exercises!…I’ve bookmarked this page and have already done them a few times! Thanks for posting!

  8. This is so perfect! I was so sure I’d have a dress with sleeves and now I’ve gone and brought a strapless one and have been looking at my woefully inadequate arms and wondering what to do. Started these last night and am going to make sure I do them regularly!

  9. AWESOME!! This is exactly what I need, with just under 2 months left until my wedding day in Jamaica…. Although I’ve already lost 15 lbs. working out on my elliptical for the past 3 months, my arms were my biggest area of disappointment at my 1st dress fitting last night, so I am thrilled to have found an area-specific workout to whip these arms into shape with the time I have left to spare! THANKS, CHRISTY!!! :)

  10. Great arms workout routine and I will definitely follow all the exercises mentioned in this post. Keep up the good work

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