Emily MacCulloch
Emily MacCulloch

The Wedding Dress Workout I Should Have Been Doing

I’m assuming every bride (like me) has an extensive workout regimen they plan to execute months before their big day. And maybe some brides actually make it happen (kudos to you if you are one of those people!). Unfortunately, my time and energy have been limited in the months leading up to my wedding so I’m a bit late getting started on my wedding dress workout plan. Because of this, I need the Coles Notes version of how to get my body in shape for my dress.


I headed to Pure Barre in Toronto to get my butt into gear and grabbed a few minutes with owner Paige Carper after class to break down three essential moves for the ultimate wedding bod. One glimpse at her insanely toned arms and I knew I was in good hands.

IMG_7984[Carper getting me into the perfect push-up position]

The Classic Push-Up
“I’m a big fan of push-ups,” says Carper. “The nice thing about push-ups is that you can do them in so many ways. You can do three different hand positions that work different parts of your arms and even your upper back.” She recommends first trying the classic push-up with wide hands, and then trying one where your index fingers and thumbs touch to make a diamond shape, and lastly, to tone your triceps, one where your hands are directly under your shoulders, keeping your elbows close to your sides throughout the move. “The most important thing is to keep your core engaged and to keep a nice straight line [from your heels to your head],” she says. And remember: You can always do them on your knees.

IMG_7967[Learning the turned out thigh ropes from Carper]

The Turned Out Thigh
This is a great exercise to tone your thighs, and, let’s be real, who doesn’t want long, lean legs? “Place one hand on a wall [for balance], and bring your heels together with toes apart,” says Carper. Then, go up on your toes to lift your heels about an inch or two off the ground. “Glue your heels together,” she says. Now, bend your knees and sink your seat towards knee level. Tuck your hips under. You can then do a combination of moves, like pulses, or go even lower. Her key tip: Keep your heels together so you really feel it. If you have great balance, she suggests reaching your arms overhead and then doing pulses. I found this move particularly challenging!

IMG_7972[Trying to smile through the ledge pain]

The Ledge
“We are pretty famous for our ledge; that’s why a lot of people come to see us,” says Carper about Pure Barre’s rep. Staying in the same position you were in for the turned out thigh (above), bring your feet hip-width apart and parallel, slide your right or left leg (whichever one you’re working) behind you and point your toe. Soften your other leg and put your hand on your hip if you’re balancing against another wall. Tuck your hips under and then circle your leg by squeezing where the crease is in your leg (just under your bum where your thigh begins), so the leg makes a tiny circle. “That’s a great move, even if you aren’t [getting married],” she says. “It’s good to have your bum a little more lifted.” Amen!

So, y’all ready to get to work? I will say, if you need a little extra motivation, try branching outside of your comfort zone to check out a new workout like a barre class (seriously, Pure Barre is a truly awesome workout). Spicing up my exercise routine has given me the last-minute push I’ve been needing to get myself into shape!