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12 Days of Christmas: Home Workout Edition

Are you trying to stay on track with your fitness goals this holiday season? Maybe you need a little nudge - some extra motivation.

That’s exactly what we’re here for.

With this 12 days of Christmas workout, you’ll have all the motivation you need. On top of that, you’ll also have plenty of time to spend with your family. These moves don’t require a gym or any equipment, and you can do them within five minutes (if not less).

After all, let’s be honest; spending quality time with your loved ones (whether that’s in person or through video chat) is what Christmas is all about. And your workout routine shouldn’t take away from those precious moments.

What is the 12 days of Christmas workout, you may ask? You’re about to find out.

Put on that Christmas playlist, and let’s get moving!

12 Days of Christmas: Home Workout Edition

The 12 days of Christmas represented in a easy-to-read graphic.

Day 1: One Plank Hold

Target muscles: Abdominals & Erector Spinae

The plank hold targets your abs and your overall balance and stability. This is a great one to start with since it really does engage the whole body, emphasizing your core area.

  • Begin with your elbows right under your shoulders.
  • Press down into your forearms, lifting your body off the ground.
  • Move your heels back and behind you. Your body should create a straight line from your head to your heels.
  • Hold here for 30 seconds to a minute.
  • If you find it too difficult to stay up on your toes, drop to your knees and hold here.

Day 2: Two Side Planks

Target Muscles: Abdominals, Obliques, Gluteus Medius, & Gluteus Minimus

The great thing about side planks is that you’re doing two reps, but you only have two sides. This means you’re doing only one rep per side. This is a great exercise to challenge your core in a whole other way.

  • Lay on your right side.
  • Bend your right elbow to 90 degrees with your forearm on the ground. Your elbow should be directly under your right shoulder.
  • Lift your body off the ground so that you’re balancing on your right forearm and your right side foot.
  • Your legs should stack on top of one another.
  • Hold here for 30 seconds to a minute, then switch to your other side.

Day 3: Three Push-Ups

Target Muscles: Chest, Shoulders, Biceps, & Triceps

Push-ups are hard work! But I bet you can pull off at least three of them. Even if you can’t do a full one, attempt three push-ups from your knees. It works your upper body and your core.

For the most basic push-up:

  • Begin in a full plank.
  • Slowly lower your body so that your chest and chin almost touch the floor.
  • Then, push back up.
  • Repeat this movement three times.

Interested in adding more push-ups to your workouts? Check out: 7 Types of Push Ups for Your Next Workout

Day 4: Four Jump Squats

Target Muscles: Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves, & Glutes

Have you ever done an entire jump squat workout? If you haven’t and you like this workout move, you’ve got to try it. Maybe this will be your inspiration for future workout sessions.

  • To perform a jump squat:
  • Begin standing tall with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly bend your knees and send your butt back into a squat.
  • As you go to stand back up, explode into the air.
  • Repeat this move four times.

It leaves you out of breath, doesn’t it?

Day 5: Five Burpees

Target Muscles: Legs, Abdomen, Glutes, Hips, Chest, & Shoulders

Burpees are dreaded by most - and for a good reason. They strengthen your body and give you a bit of a cardio workout. But they definitely get those endorphins pumping (just in time for Christmas festivities!).

  • Begin a burpee in a standing position.
  • Then, quickly drop down to a plank.
  • Perform one push-up.
  • Then, jump up into standing and repeat.

Day 6: Six Russian Twists

Target Muscles: Obliques & Abdominals

This is a really great exercise for helping your body build strength relating to twisting movements or pivot movements in sports. And you get to sit down for all of it!

Here’s how you do it:

  • Begin sitting with your knees bent and feet flat.
  • Lift your feet off the ground, keeping your knees slightly bent.
  • Brace your core, and slowly twist your body to your right side while keeping your knees in the same position.
  • Then, twist to your left side.
  • Repeat for six repetitions.

Day 7: Seven Glute Bridges

Target Muscles: Glutes

Who doesn’t love a good glute move? The glute bridge targets and tones your backside. Not only that, but strong glutes contribute to a balanced pelvis and lower back, preventing pain or injury from happening.

  • Begin lying face up on a comfortable surface, such as a mat.
  • Bend your knees and plant your feet flat on the ground.
  • Gently lift your hips off the ground while squeezing your glutes.
  • Hold for 5-10 seconds at the top.
  • Repeat for seven repetitions.

You might also love: Low-Impact Exercises You Can Do at Home

Day 8: Eight Mountain Climbers

Target Muscles: Glutes, Abdominals, Triceps, Biceps, & Shoulders

Mountain climbers offer a quick move for day eight. You can even quickly do these before heading out the door for some holiday shopping!

  • Position yourself in a full plank with your hands directly under your shoulders.
  • Drive one knee up toward your chest, then send it back.
  • At the same time that you’re sending your knee back, drive your other knee up toward your chest.
  • Repeat for eight repetitions.

Day 9: Nine Air Squats

Target Muscles: Hamstrings, Quadriceps, & Glutes

You’re almost there! It’s already day nine (and almost Christmas!).

For air squats, they’re fairly simple:

  • Begin standing with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Slowly squat down by bending your knees and sticking your butt out behind you.
  • Then, stand back up.
  • Repeat for nine repetitions.

Day 10: Ten Walking Lunges

Target Muscles: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Obliques, & Calves

Walking lunges are an excellent functional movement. This means that this exercise actually translates into your everyday life more than you might think. For instance, when vacuuming, you might lunge forward to reach under the couch.

Doing walking lunges can make this task all that much easier.

  • Begin standing.
  • Step one foot forward and bend your knees into a lunge.
  • Step your back foot forward and stand tall, then step your other foot forward, repeating the same move.
  • Do 10 walking lunges forward (or five per leg).

Day 11: Eleven Inch Worms

Target Muscles: Abdominals, Shoulders, Triceps, & Chest

This is another core move!

  • Begin standing tall.
  • Place your hands on the ground in front of you and walk your hands out until your body is in a straight line or a plank.
  • Then, walk your hands back and stand tall again.
  • Repeat for 11 repetitions.

Day 12: Twelve Toe Taps

Target Muscles: Obliques & Abdominals

We’re finishing off this challenge with 12 toe taps.

  • Begin lying face up on a comfortable surface.
  • Bend your knees and plant your feet flat.
  • Bring your shoulder blades slightly off the ground.
  • Reach your right arm toward your right foot, then reach your left arm toward your left foot.
  • Repeat this move for 12 repetitions.

Here’s an added challenge: Instead of doing each exercise on each given day, add to the previous day. For example, on day three, you would do three push-ups, two side plank holds, and one plank hold. Can you do it?

Get Moving This Holiday Season!

Get that Christmas workout in. Or take on a Christmas workout challenge (like the one described above). Stay motivated with new moves or new workouts and maintain your fitness all year round.

Related article: 5 Partner Workouts You Can Do Anywhere

Krista Bugden

Krista Bugden

"Believing in yourself is really half the battle," says Krista. Anything is possible and you really can achieve anything you set your mind to, is her motto. Physiotherapist, Piano player, skydiver, yogi, adventure traveler and energetic force of positivity, Krista is herself a (delightful) force to be reckoned with! As... Read More

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