Christmas is just around the corner, and that can mean a mix of Christmas parties, food and present shopping, catching up with relatives and friends, wrapping, cooking, eating, drinking… all whilst trying to maintain some level of sanity, there isn’t much room for anything else!
A little bit of indulging is acceptable, but knowing us, we’d love you to stay active and not get stuck watching too many christmas movies!
Don’t forget that this is also my favourite time of year because HOT CROSS BUNS are around the corner. I can taste them already. I promise I won’t be targeting the 128 that graced my belly in 2020.
What follows are some quick-fire workouts to fit in around your busy Xmas schedule, to really get the heart rate up and the body moving. We strongly suggest asking your health professional if you haven’t done these before to ensure they’re the right fit for you. Whilst these exercise regimes are quite straight forward and achievable by many, they may need tweaking for you depending on your fitness level and injury state. So please ‘exercise’ caution.
Workout 1 – legs
- Step ups: Find a sturdy bench, chair or step and put one foot onto it. As you breathe out, step up and drive your opposite knee up towards your chest into the air – I would swing and power through your arms. Return down to the starting position and repeat. Stay on the same leg until all repetitions have been completed, and then switch sides.
- Clams: Lying on your side, with your knees bent at 90 degrees and heels touching. Bring your top knee up towards the ceiling. Lower it back down to complete your first clam (Stage 1). For a harder exercise (Stage 2), when your knee reaches the top – straighten your leg in a kick action before lowering back down. Return to the start position and repeat.
- Bridge walkouts: Lying on your back, with your knees bent up and feet on the ground/bed. Lift your hips off the ground, if you are aware of your lower back, you will need to awaken your stomach muscles. With your bum in the air, slowly walk your feet away from your bum as you straighten your legs. This will challenge your quads and hamstrings (thigh muscles). Walk back to the starting position and lower your hips back to the ground.
You can complete these exercises for 8-15 reps of 3 sets, depending on ability. Rest for one minute between each set.
Workout 2 – Arms
Your exercises are as follows:
- Push ups (use the floor if this is easy): start with your hands on a bench, you should be on your tippy toes with your ankles, hips, chest and ears in a straight line. If you were to dribble, it should go close to a straight line between your thumbs. From here, lower your chest down towards the bench. Your elbows should not be tucked in nor flared out – but somewhere in the middle. Lower your chest as far as you are comfortable without shaking, then breathe out and press back to the starting position. Caution – watch for your nose “cheating” by leaning your head forward. Repeat as many as you can for one set.
- All 4 row: Starting on All 4s (hands and knees). Bring one elbow back to the ceiling, then reach out to the side. To make this harder I would suggest having a dumbbell in your hand. You can perform 15 of these in a set.
- Lateral raises: Start standing with your arms by your sides, and thumbs pointing forward. Raise your arms out sideways like you are about to flap your wings. Bring them up as far as is comfortable, then lower them. You can add weights if this is easy. You can repeat until 8-15 repetitions where you are feeling light fatigue/activation.
- In/out band: Using a theraband attached to a door handle (or sturdy bench). Stand side on to the door, and place the band in your closest hand. Bend your elbow at 90 degrees and bring the band toward your chest for an ‘in’ motion. Repeat 10 times. You can then place the band in the opposite hand and draw the band away from the door in an ‘out’ motion. Repeat this 10 times. Then face the other direction and repeat 10 times for in and out.
Rest between exercises for 45 seconds. Try to complete three sets.
Workout 3 – Core
- Side planks: Start on your side, with only your bottom outer foot and forearm touching the ground. Try to keep your nose, middle chest, hips and feet in a straight line. Hold this position for 30 seconds. If this is too easy, try the alternate option to use your hand instead of your forearm touching the ground.
- Dead bugs: Start lying on your back with your knees bent up and feet floating in a “table top” position. Your hands can reach straight out to the ceiling. Slowly straighten one leg and lower it to the ground, as you breathe out. At the same time you can reach the opposite hand back to touch the ground above your head. Imagine a bug with arms and legs wiggling around trying to turn back over. If you reach too far back, you will feel your lower back.
- Mountain climbers: Assume a plank position on your hands (like you’re about to do a push-up). Keeping your arms straight and upper body as still as possible, bring one knee in towards your chest without raising your hips into the air. Return to the start position and repeat, alternating between legs for each rep. Try to keep your form while speeding this movement up, and keep a solid rhythm going to really get the cardio aspect of this exercise going. Perform for 30 seconds.
Workout 4 – bonus
Hold a plank or wall sit for 5 minutes. You may rest whenever you need to, but ensure you complete 5 whole minutes. Set a stopwatch on your phone!
To adopt the plank position, get on the floor face down. Grasp your hands together and keep your elbows shoulder-width apart, so you are resting on your forearms. Raise up onto your toes and lift your whole body up into the air. Keep your legs and body in a straight line from head to heels and avoid pushing your bottom up into the air.
For a wall sit, lean against a wall and bend your knees as though you are sitting in an imaginary chair. A good start would be to keep your bum just above your knees, if this is too hard you can keep your bum higher.
A good way to start is to perform a workout on one day, then aim to perform each one two to five times per week. You can do them all in the same day and work up to a harder exercise. It’s wise to add rest days to allow time for the body to repair and recuperate.
If you are unsure about any of the exercises above, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Enjoy your healthy Christmas everyone! And remember, you can always ask us for a specific or individually tailored program just for you!
It’s hot cross bun time 😀