Destination I Do
Thursday, February 23, 2012

Destination Dream Dress: the Figure Method Will Get You There

Words by Courtney Kellar
Words by Cindy Sites, founder of the Figure Method
Photos courtesy of Go Figure Fitness Studios

To answer our toughest questions about looking trim, toned, and gorgeous in this season’s hottest bridal gowns, we turned to fitness expert Cindy Sites, founder of the Figure Method and owner of Go Figure Fitness Studios. Before you say “I do,” Cindy shows you how to say “Hello!” to a gorgeous body you’ll love – in dresses of all different styles

• For the gorgeous strapless dress

o TRY THIS: Reverse push-ups: These push-ups may be strenuous, but they’re worth it to get beautifully lean, strong triceps, the part of the arm most women struggle with, according to Sites.

Instructions: Sit facing upright, legs bent, heels grounded. With your arms shoulder width apart and hands pointed outward, lift your seat off the ground, up one inch, down one inch, bending your elbows and using only your arms to lift and lower. Do two sets of ten slow repetitions. Do one final set of ten fast repetitions.

• For the short, sexy dress:

o TRY THIS: Ballet First Position/Plié: Whether you’re going short for your reception or hiking up your hemlines for the entire wedding, long, toned gams are a must for leg-revealing dresses! The plié is arguably the most famous ballet position for a reason: it’s a fantastic work out for the entire leg, targeting the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glute muscles.

Instructions: With one hand holding your ballet barre or any point of balance, bring heels together and toes apart, creating a narrow ‘V’ shape with your feet. Bend your knees, keeping heels lifted and touching, knees spread to create a diamond shape between your heels and your pelvis. Lift up one inch, down one inch, never moving your seat below your knees. Repeat 20 times. Break for a moment and repeat.

• For the classic mermaid dress….

o TRY THIS: Ballet Fold Over Position/Arabesque Penchée: Although the mermaid dress shows off your entire body, take a cue from Pippa Middleton and focus on the one part everyone will be admiring as you walk down the aisle: your rear! The penchée contracts your gluteus minimus, “that pretty little hollow” in the outer seat area, says Sites, as well as the rear of the leg, making you mermaid dress-ready in no time.

Instructions: Stand, facing your barre of point of balance, arms fully extended and holding the barre. Leaning forward, keep one leg slightly bent and lift the other leg into a full extension behind you, lifting up one inch, down one inch, feeling a contraction in the glute. Do ten repetitions slowly, break, and do ten more at a quicker pace. Switch to the opposite leg and repeat.

• For the dramatic backless dress

o TRY THIS: Rhomboid Press: The rhomboid muscles make up a large part of the upper back and shoulders. They create that sexy, toned look that begs for a show-stopping backless dress.

Instructions: Stand in front of a mirror, earlobes over shoulders, shoulders over hips, and hips over feet. With a 3-pound weight in each hand, raise arms out to the side in line with shoulders, then bend to create an L-shape (as though you’re framing yourself in a window). Begin to press arms back, maintaining the shape of your arms, and squeeze shoulder blades together. Keep pressing back and hold for 20 reps. Rest and repeat once more.

• For the curve-loving dress

o TRY THIS: Figure Method sit-up: True, you may not be showing off your abs on the big day, but all eyes will be on your mid-section in a form-fitting dress! Sites’s version of the sit-up involves a small range of motion, lifting less than you would in a traditional sit-up. “It’s a common misconception that coming up higher makes for a more effective abdominal workout,” says Sites. In fact, she says, coming up too high only strains the back and neck. If you can, hold a soft block or pillow behind your head for additional neck and spinal support.

Instructions: Lying on the floor, knees bent, with your soft block/pillow behind your head, come into 20 slow, controlled sit-ups, lifting just so your shoulder blades come off the mat. Break and repeat.

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