On the twelfth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me: 12 lunges per leg, 11 tricep dips (two sets!), 10 squat jumps, 9 walking planks, 8(ty) seconds of speed skaters, 7 types of crunches (standard, pelvic tilt, oblique R, oblique L, toe taps, reverse, bicycle), 6 sets of max pushups, a 5-minute jog, 4 30-second planks, 3 minutes of jumping jacks, a two-minute wall sit, and one set of 15 squat thrust burpees.
Let’s take a look at each exercise:
12 lunges per leg- Using good form with one leg about 2 feet in front of the other, lower the bodyweight by bending the knees. The front leg should track directly over the ankle of the front foot. Chest stays open and shoulders stay low.
11 tricep dips (two sets!)- Find a coffee table, step, or couch edge, and sit on it with your hands on the edge at your sides, fingertips pointing to the ground. Walk your feet out about 18-24 inches, and lower your glutes toward the ground while bending your elbows. Push your hands downward as you extend your elbows and lift the glutes back to starting position— without actually sitting on the edge (because that would be resting, and we don’t want to be resting!) After 11 dips, take a 30 second breather and then do a second set.
10 squat jumps- Begin in regular squat position, with the feet spread about hip-width apart. Lower the glutes down and back (like sitting in a chair), making sure the knees don’t project out to or beyond the toes. From the lowest position, use your arms to help you propel forcefully upward. Land the jump in the starting position.
9 walking planks- Begin in forearm plank position. Lift the left forearm and place the left hand underneath your shoulder. Lift the right forearm and place the right hand underneath the shoulder. You should now be in pushup ‘up’ position. Now lower the left forearm back to the ground, and finish one rep by lowering the right forearm back to the ground– back to starting position.
8(ty) seconds speed skaters- In this cardio interval, you’ll imitate the action of a speed skater gliding across the ice. With your torso hinged at your hips, step wide side to side kicking the opposite leg up to the glutes as your arms swing in counterbalance in the same direction you’re moving. Don’t overthink this one, or you’ll confuse yourself!
7 types of crunches- I’m thinking 10 crunches of 7 varieties works well here. Regular crunches, with knees bent and feet on the ground, lifting the shoulder blades off the ground; Pelvic tilt crunches, which add a pelvic tilt back toward the torso as the shoulders lift; Oblique crunches (one set L, one set R), where one hand goes behind the head and the same-side shoulder crunches up and toward the opposite hip; Bicycle crunches, where the legs come off the ground about 30 degrees and with both hands behind the head the alternate elbow crunches up and toward the opposite knee, as it bends in toward the body as if riding a bike; Toe taps, with both the hips and knees at 90 degrees, alternate toes reaching out and down toward the floor *moving only insofar as the small of the back can stay on the ground*; Reverse crunches, with the knees straight but hips still at 90 degrees, use the abdominals to lift the hips and glutes off the floor. For ALL types of crunches, the pelvic floor should be lifted and the navel should be pulled toward the spine.
6 sets of max pushups- Whether you can easily do 3 pushups or 23 pushups, do six sets of your max repetitions, resting 30 seconds between sets.
5-minute jog- Either jogging in place, or taking a lap around the block, head out for 5 minutes at whatever pace you can sustain for the whole period.
4 30-second planks- For most people, these are forearm planks, which rest the upper body on the forearms as the body is in a straight line from the crown of the head to the heels. If you are capable, come on up into a full plank (pushup ‘up’ position). Take a 30-second rest between planks.
3 minutes of jumping jacks- Everyone’s favorite gym class cardio special!
2-minute wall sit- Stand with your back against a wall, with your feet about two feet out in front of you. Lower your glutes until you are in a seated position, thighs parallel to the ground. Hold this position without resting your hands on your thighs.
1 set of 15 squat thrust/burpees- Start in a standing position. Crouch down so that your hands are in front of your feet. Jump your feet backwards so that you’re now in pushup ‘up’ position– don’t let your low back sag! Jump the feet forward so you are crouching again. Stand up. If you really want to challenge yourself, rather than standing up, use your arms and jump. That’s one rep. Isn’t it great to end a hard workout with one of the more difficult exercises? What a mental victory!
The workout can be done in approximately 30 minutes. So if you want to feel like you’ve done a full-body, high-intensity workout but you don’t have much time, give it a try. (As with all workouts, make sure your physician says it’s okay to try particular workouts before you do so.) Make the modifications you need to suit your fitness level, and don’t forget to hydrate!
Good health and great happiness to you!