12 Days of Christmas Workout: Holiday HIIT is Here

Halloween and Thanksgiving have whizzed by, and you know what that means: It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas! And Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s, of course. No matter what holiday you celebrate, it’s fun to get into the spirit of the holidays whether by giving back to the community, buying gifts for your loved ones or taking in all the sights and sounds of the festive season.

It’s also the time of year when we’re most tempted to overindulge, thanks to an abundance of parties, potlucks and get-togethers with a cornucopia of food and alcohol. This period of overdoing it often leads to guilt and the promises to yourself to eat more healthy and exercise come January. Resolutions are made, broken and eventually forgotten, and the cycle of yo-yo dieting continues.

Instead of falling into old patterns again this year, avoid the stress of the New Year’s rush and start early. Not only will you get the gym all to yourself, but you can also put your best foot forward ahead of the pack before the holidays are over.

That’s where our 12 Days of Christmas workout comes into play. Just like the song 12 Days of Christmas, this workout will continue to build on itself every day, until you eventually end up completing all of the exercises at once. Ready to kickstart your New Year’s training ahead of time? We challenge you to complete our 12 Days of Christmas workout!

12 Days of Christmas workout mountain climbers hiit

12 Days of Christmas workout: How to start

To better understand the routine, we’ve included an instructional video filmed with 8fit’s very own Coach Marife. Think of the famous song lyrics: “On the third day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: one French hen, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree….” The difference is that in 8fit’s version, we’re replacing the gifts from a true love with exercises that will get your heart pumping. Plus, who would actually want to deal with the care and upkeep of a partridge in a pear tree?

So, on the first day of Christmas (aka the first day of the 12 Days of Christmas workout), you’ll complete one jump squat. On the second day, you’ll do two forward and back lunges and one squat. On the third day, it’s three crawl-outs, two forward and back lunges and one jump squat. This pattern continues until the twelfth day when you’ll have to complete the entire list. Make sense? If not, refer to our video for help!

To ensure that everything’s crystal clear, take a look at how to do each exercise below.

1. Jump squats

Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, abs

Directions:

  1. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outward.
  2. Drop your hips back and down as if sitting in a chair, keeping your knees behind the toes at all times and your hips and ankles in line so that your knees don’t collapse inward.
  3. Continue to drop until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor.
  4. Engage your core and jump up explosively.
  5. Land gently back at the starting position.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long, your back straight and your shoulders back and down away from ears.
  • Make sure your abs are engaged and use your arms for balance.
  • If you want to make the exercise easier, stand with your feet wider apart.

2. Forward and back lunges

Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps

Directions:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Take a big step forward with one leg, then bend at the knee to drop your hips.
  3. Lower yourself deeper into the pose until your rear knee nearly touches the floor, and your front knee is directly above your ankle.
  4. Stand back up, step backward with the front leg and bend at the knee to drop your hips.
  5. Descend until your rear knee nearly touches the floor and your front knee above the ankle.
  6. Push off the rear foot to return to the starting position. Repeat for both legs.

Tips:

  • Don’t let your front knee extend past your toes.
  • Keep your neck long, your shoulders back away from ears and directly above hips.
  • Flexibility improves with time, so aim to enhance your range of motion with each step.

3. Crawl-outs

Muscles involved: Hamstrings, glutes, shoulders, core

Directions:

  1. Stand with your feet together. Keep your legs straight, then bend at the hips and place hands on the floor directly in front of you.
  2. Slowly walk your hands forward, alternating your left and your right hands.
  3. Keep walking until your body is parallel to the floor in a pushup position and hold for 3 seconds
  4. Slowly alternate your hands moving backward until you reach the starting position. Count it as one repetition.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long, your back straight and your shoulders back and down away from your ears.

4. Push-ups

Muscles involved: Chest, shoulders, triceps, lats, core

  1. Begin in a plank position on the floor, with your hands directly under your shoulders, your feet together and your toes curled underneath.
  2. Tense every muscle in your body to form a straight line from your head through heels.
  3. Lower your chest towards the floor, keeping your elbows close to your body.
  4. Extend your arms to push your body back to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long and in line with your spine, and your shoulders down away from ears.

5. Burpees

Muscles involved: Chest, shoulders, abs, glutes, quadriceps

Directions:

  1. Stand straight, then squat down and place your hands on the floor outside of your feet.
  2. With your hands planted, jump your feet back and land with straight legs, toes curled under.
  3. Lower your body to the floor, with your elbows close to your body in a push-up position.
  4. Press your palms into the ground to lift your body again.
  5. Shift your body weight to your hands to jump your feet forward into a squat.
  6. Explode up into a jump and land on your feet as softly as possible. That’s one repetition.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck in line with your spine.
  • Try to complete the entire exercise as quietly as possible, i.e. jump and land gently.

6. Side jumps

Muscles involved: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings

Directions:

  1. Stand with an object (like a book) placed on the floor to your left.
  2. Keep your feet together and jump to the left and over the object.
  3. Repeat the move, this time jumping to the right and over the object. That’s one repetition.

Tips:

  • Stay light on your feet and complete the exercise as quietly as possible.
  • Tuck in your knees for an additional challenge.

7. Dips

Muscles involved: Triceps, shoulders, upper back

Directions:

  1. Put your hands on top of a surface (like a chair or bench) with your arms extended and shoulders directly above wrists.
  2. Keep your legs straight in front of you with your heels on the floor, or with knees bent to make it easier.
  3. Bend your elbows to lower your hips to the floor.
  4. Straighten your arms and press your body back up to the starting position. That’s one repetition.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long, shoulders back and down away from your ears
  • Engage your core.
  • Have your elbows tight to your body at all times
  • Keep your body close to the chair.

8. Russian Twists

Muscles involved: Abs, quadriceps

Directions:

  1. Sit on the floor with your knees bent at a 45-degree angle and your heels hovering several inches above the floor.
  2. Lean your torso back with a 45-degree bend in your hips and balance on your sit bones.
  3. Rotate your torso to tap both hands on the floor by left hip.
  4. Rotate your torso in the opposite direction to tap both of your hands on the floor next to the right hip.
  5. Count one repetition when you’ve tapped both sides.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long and in line with your spine, and your shoulders down away from ears.
    Hips should stay firmly grounded on the floor.

9. Squats

Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, core, lower back

Directions:

  1. Stand straight with your shoulders above your hips, your feet hip-width apart, and your toes slightly turned out.
  2. Drop your hips back and down. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes at all times and your hips and ankles in line so that the knees don’t collapse inward.
  3. Continue to lower yourself as if you’re sitting back in a chair.
  4. Drive your weight into your heels and stand back up to the starting position.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long and in line with your spine, and your shoulders down away from ears.
  • Flexibility improves with practice — try to squat deeper each time.
  • Engage your abs and extend your arms in front of you to help with balance.
  • To make the exercise easier, squat with your feet wider apart.

10. Mountain climbers

Muscles involved: Abs, glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings

Directions:

  1. Place your hands on the floor directly underneath your shoulders. Keeping your hips lifted, extend your legs with your feet together and toes curled underneath.
  2. Tense every muscle in your body to form a straight line from your head through to your heels.
  3. Keep your left foot straight out behind while pulling your right knee in toward your chest.
  4. Place your right foot back down behind you and repeat the motion with your left leg (pulling your left knee in towards your chest).
  5. Repeat for the specified number of times (one mountain climber is equal to one repetition for each leg).

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long with your shoulders back away from the ears.
  • Breathe steadily and don’t hold your breath.
  • Spread your fingers out and grip the floor to keep you stable.

11. Butterfly sit-ups

Muscles involved: Abs

Directions:

  • Lie on your back with the soles of your feet placed together, your heels pointed towards your butt, and your arms on floor stretched above your head.
  • Press your lower back into the floor and roll your shoulders up and lean forward.
  • Curl your torso off the floor and touch just past your feet.
  • Slowly lower your body back down to the floor. That’s one rep.

Tips:

  • Keep your lower back pressed into the floor at all times and your core engaged.

12. Jump lunges

Muscles involved: Glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps,

Directions:

  1. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Jump straight up and with legs opposite each other to land in a lunge position.
  3. Descend until the back knee nearly touches the floor, keeping the front knee directly in line above the ankle.
  4. Drive through the heel of the lead foot, jump explosively and simultaneously switch legs.
  5. Land gently with your opposite foot in a front lunge position. Count one repetition when you’ve lunged on both legs.

Tips:

  • Keep your neck long, your back straight and your shoulders back and down away from ears.
  • Flexibility improves with time, so aim to improve your range of motion with each step.

Happy holidays from 8fit

We hope you enjoyed our 12 Days of Christmas workout! For fun exercises, no matter the time of year, subscribe to 8fit and get your sweat on. From all of us here at 8fit, we wish you happy holidays and a happy new year!