12 Things To Try In The Gym To Look Your Best Before...

12 Things To Try In The Gym To Look Your Best Before Christmas

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12 Days of Christmas

You can’t let the 12 Days of Christmas distract you from your workouts. Look your best on the big day with the 12 Days of Gym Workouts Before Christmas.

Maybe there’s a little family rivalry, a chic office party or perhaps you just have your fit reputation to live up to. It doesn’t matter what your reason is, one thing’s for sure: ‘Tis the season to look great. Here are 12 things you should try in the gym before Christmas to look your best.

The 12 Days Of Gym Workouts Before Christmas

On the 1st day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

A set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 2nd day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 3rd day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 4th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 5th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 6th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 7th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

7 push jacks,

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 8th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

8 bench press,

7 push jacks,

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 9th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

9 bent over rows,

8 bench press,

7 push jacks,

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 10th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

10 jump squats,

9 bent over rows,

8 bench press,

7 push jacks,

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 11th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

11 glute bridges,

10 jump squats,

9 bent over rows,

8 bench press,

7 push jacks,

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

 

On the 12th day before Christmas, my trainer gave to me:

12 pool laps,

11 glute bridges,

10 jump squats,

9 bent over rows,

8 bench press,

7 push jacks,

6 wide grip pull-ups,

5 rounds of high intensity,

4 types of squats,

3 sets of push-ups,

2 miles to run,

and a set of weighted burpees!

This Is Why These Exercises Will Ring Your Bell

shutterstock_293966030-1

Weighted Burpees (Or Burpee Plate To Overhead)

Burpee to plate made it into the 2016 Fittest Games Movements for damn good reason. Burpee plate to overhead is a CrossFit exercise that will have your heart rate screaming while delivering a full-body workout with weight. If you already know how to do a burpee, then this should be a breeze.

Why?

This is just doing one while holding a plate.

Start by holding the plate like you would a steering wheel in front of your chest. Lower the plate to the ground (move your fingers out of the way quickly) and then lower your chest to plate while fully extending your legs. From there, you need to burpee up while bringing the plate completely over your head in a shoulder press fashion. Lock your elbows out to complete the movement. Now do three sets of 15!

Running Form

2 Miles To Run

There’s a big debate on what’s better for fat loss: HIIT or steady state cardio. Do both. An all-around athlete switches up their routines and never lets their body adapt.

You should never slack on your cardio. Try getting in 2 miles per day. Dr. Laskowski writing on the Mayo Clinic’s website indicates that adults should “get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity.”

Cardio before Christmas will have you looking great. It’s the key to revealing abs. Abs are a telling sign of your fitness level. I have never seen anyone with killer abs that wasn’t in shape. Your tacky Santa sweater won’t help you show them off, but maybe you’ll leave the holiday party with a hot date!

Push-Ups

3 Sets Of Push-up

Push-ups always make Santa’s “Nice List” because they build muscle and burn fat at the same time. They also force secondary muscles to work hard such as your abdominals, thighs and the stabilizers in your back. They are the ultimate calisthenics exercise. Do three sets to failure each day and watch your muscles grow.

Deadlift vs Squat

4 Types Of Squats

Squats work the largest muscle groups in the body. Not only that, when you squat, you work the most muscles at once. That places them at the top of the list for exercises you should do before Christmas. Once you build those legs, you’ll be able to pull Santa’s sleigh.

It’s good to vary the types of squats you do. Try these four variations. These can all be done using body weight or completed with weights:

Running Outside vs Treadmill

5 Rounds Of High Intensity

As mentioned, it’s great to do a variety of cardio. When working on your Christmas body, you should do high-intensity interval training (HIIT) at least two days per week. It can be done in the gym. With circuits, you can get creative. Whatever circuit you choose, do five rounds and your workout is done for the day!

The benefits of HIIT are:

  • Your heart rate is up and you are burning fat quickly.
  • It increases your metabolism.
  • It’s good for your heart health.
  • It increases endurance.
  • It’s challenging.
  • The afterburn. You’ll be burning more calories after you are finished exercising.

pull ups

6 Wide Grip Pull-ups

Wide grip pull-ups really prepare you for the holidays by providing you with wings and a Christmas tree.

What? Keep reading.

Keep reading.

Wide grip pull-ups strengthen and widen your lats, your wing-like muscles, thus providing you with your own set of angel wings, and they shape your lower back giving you the Christmas tree back just above your butt.

Wide grip pull-ups may be one of the most challenging exercises you can complete and you don’t need to add weights to watch your back muscles grow and develop. They do for your upper body what squats do for your lower body.

Completing them regularly helps create the illusion of a trim waist by widening your upper body. When your upper body is wide, your waist looks even narrower than it actually is. Focus on high rep training. Ladies, break out the bands if you must!

Additional benefits of the wide grip pull-ups are:

  • Improved overall strength including grip strength.
  • Thick back muscles.
  • They’re a fundamental compound exercise that can be done almost anywhere.
  • They’ll help you get that V-taper.

total body push up

7 Push Jacks

As you can see, I love combining cardio and weights. You accomplish so much with just one exercise.

Why not weighted push jacks?

These really accelerate your heart rate, much like weighted burpees, because you are drawing on cardiovascular endurance and combining weights. Your arms stay straight up over your head, which further accelerates your heart rate. Try waterfall sets with these.

How to complete waterfall weighted push jacks:

  • I like to grab three sets of dumbbells, 15s, 10s and 5s. Start heavy.
  • Complete a round of 20 push jacks with the 15s.
  • Drop them quickly (no rest).
  • Grab the 10s and complete a round of 20 push jacks.
  • Drop them quickly (no rest), pick up the 5s and complete a round of 20.
  • Sometimes I do a set of 20 jumping jacks un-weighted at the end if I have the time.
  • Complete 3 rounds.

 

Your shoulders will thank you for this exercise and you will be out of breath. Make these part of your HIIT circuits.

The Bench Press

8 Bench Press

Bench press is the most popular exercise around the globe, and, for a good reason, it works! Monday, National Chest Day, pretty much revolves around this exercise. When you bench press, you are enhancing strength, increasing muscle mass, improving functionality (pushing strength) and upgrading your aesthetics. It’s the overall best-weighted exercise for your upper body.

Bent Over Row

9 Bent Over Rows

Bent over rows are another exercise meant to help you earn your angel wings. Not only that, but they thicken the back and work your stabilizing muscles (abs, glutes, hams and hips). Visualize the process of setting up to complete the first rep. You’ve engaged your entire lower body.

Go heavy if you are looking for those holiday gains. Using the barbell for this exercise, you can go much heavier than you can with dumbbells and you can vary your grip. You could try a pronated or supinated grip. You could also complete T-bar rows. Variation, variation, variation! With bent over rows, you’re going to get that back wide.

Jump Squats

10 Jump Squats

In honor of the “10 lords a leaping” in the original 12 Days of Christmas song, you should be completing jump squats.

You could use these for active recovery. I consider active recovery exercises those you can do between sets to keep your heart rate up and your body torching fat. I’m more likely to use active recovery on upper body days when I don’t feel the actual exercises I do are keeping my heart rate up unlike on leg day.

For example, on upper body days I may complete an upper body circuit and then hit a set of jump squats before doing my second set of upper body exercises. Jump squats can also be incorporated into a high-intensity circuit. However you do them, you will look like the 10 lords a leaping. I bet they had shapely quads!
glute-bridge

11 Glute Bridges

Let’s build a snowball butt this winter! Male or female, a round booty looks amazing in, well, everything and nothing. If it were as easy to round out your butt as it is to roll a snowball, life would be great, right? Well, it’s possible!

Enter glute bridges. On legs day, I always do glute bridges, and I always go heavy. My last PR was 135 pounds, 3 sets of 9. By the time you’re reading this, it will have increased! This exercise is solely to build a butt. If you want to get the most out of this exercise, hold at the top of the movement and squeeze. Slow and steady rounds the butt.

Here’s how you can get under heavy weight for glute bridges: Get to an empty bench press rack (that would be a Christmas miracle to find). Set the bar in front of the bench and load the weight. Sit on the floor with your back to the bench. You will use it as your back support. Roll the weighted bar over your hips. The weights will make it tall enough to roll over you in a seated position. Lift the weight up to the starting position with your hips and begin.

swimming-pool-girl

12 Pool Laps

The grand finale: 12 laps in the pool!

Swimming is quite possibly the perfect exercise. If your gym has a heated, indoor pool, it’s time to take some laps.

Joe Marquez, a former Navy diver, and future physical therapist says that swimming is the ultimate low-impact exercise. He adds that this is the case because by “taking advantage of the natural buoyancy of your body in the water, you can avoid the impact on ankles, knees, and back that can come with other sports. As well, the smooth motions of swimming help the natural lubricant in your joints move around, helping to relieve joint stiffness and achiness.”

Flex Banner

Conclusion

Santa’s orders: Follow The 12 Days of Gym Workouts Before Christmas song, and you will look great in your finest holiday attire, whether it’s a suave suit, a tacky holiday sweater or just a bow.

By Sarah Chadwell, CPT

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