12 Days of Christmas Workout

I coach classes of 6 to 12 people almost every day of the week. I like to keep things fresh and new; enter Holiday Themed Workouts!

Holiday themed workouts are really fun to put together and even more fun to Do! Ask any of my clients – my themed workouts are always a hoot! Today’s themed workout was the “12 Days of Christmas.” You’ve all heard this song…

“On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…a partridge in a pear tree…On the second day of Christmas…etc…”

However, have you heard the workout version?:

“On the first day of Christmas, my Trainer gave to me One Full Burpee!!” 

That’s right, I brought Burpees in right away…but, hey, it’s only ONE! Right?!…..well, how does the song go again?


Here is the white board I created for this workout:

As you can see, I have a warm-up section and a strength section added into this workout as well; however, I am going to focus on the main themed workout in this post.







Listed out, these are the 12 days:

  1.  Full Burpee
  2.  Pull-Ups or Rows
  3.  Push-Ups
  4.  Skaters Jumps
  5.  Blue Hop Rings
  6.  Abs a’ Crunching
  7.  Kettle-Bell Swings
  8.  Ball Slams Slamming
  9.  Red Ropes Raving
  10.  Orange Cones Leaping
  11.  Plie Squats Squating
  12.  Rebounders Bounding


To complete this workout, first you do the exercise designated on day 1: one burpee.

Then move on to day 2: two pull-ups (or the hardest version of a pull-up that you can do; anything from a pull-up, banded/assisted pull-up, or TRX rows), then do one Burpee.

Day 3: three push-ups, two pull-ups, and one burpee.

Day 4: four skaters (2/leg), three push-ups, two pull-ups, and one burpee.

And so on, until on the twelfth day, you are doing: twelve rebounder slams, eleven plie squats, ten high skips / leaps, nine rope waves, eight ball slams, seven kettle-bell swings, six sit-ups / ab exercise, five blue hop rings, four skaters, three push-ups, two pull-ups, and one burpee.


I had a 30 minute timer for all of my classes. Most people were able to complete this entire themed workout within 20 minutes; however, focus on form rather than speed to protect yourself!

I have a few other holiday themed workouts in the making, one I had my clients do last week actually. Stay tuned for more workout ideas for around the holidays! Also, see below for a more in-depth description of each of the exercises done in the workout.


Do you have any questions about certain exercises listed? Here are some pointers:

  1. Burpee: stand upright, do a little jump into the air, land on the feet, bring your hands down to the ground, jump or step back into plank, lower down into a push-up, push back up into plank, jump or step forward with the feet, repeat little hop into the air. That’s one.
  2. Pull-Up: with the traditional pull-up, you have your hands holding onto a bar above you with your palms pointed away from you (a reverse grip is a chin-up). Pull your body up so that your chin is at the bar, lower back down, repeat. For banded pull-ups, wrap a resistance band around the bar you’re hanging onto. Put either your foot (straight leg) or your knee (bent leg) into the resistance band while holding onto the bar. Pull yourself up with the assistance of the band, lower down, repeat. There are also assisted pull-up machines at most fitness facilities. Another option is to use a TRX strap. Start leaning slightly backwards with your hands on the TRX handles, next to your arm-pits. Extend your arms so you are leaning back at a steeper angle. Pull yourself forward, keeping your elbows close to the body, repeat. Legs are straight in this TRX row.
  3. Push-Up: Position yourself on the floor in a plank; toes and hands on the ground, shoulders over your wrists, core tight, straight body. Lower yourself down by bending your arms (there are various angles your arms can be going in; traditional, tricep push-ups, or wide / 90*). Once you lower down to about 90* angle on the elbows, push back up into plank. You can also do this movement with your knees on the ground instead of your toes, or with your upper body lifted up, to put more of your body weight onto your lower body, such as on a box or bench.
  4. Skaters. Stand with your feet together. Hop to the right, pushing off of your left foot and landing with your right foot. Your left foot can either tap the ground slightly to the right behind the right foot, or hover it there. Then push off with the right foot to the left, landing with the left foot. Toe taps or hovering works for this movement.
  5. Blue Hop Rings: For my classes I used blue rings that we have in the studio. They are about a foot wide, circular. Lay five of them on the ground about one to two feet away from each other. If you do not have hoops you can use an agility ladder or simply lines in the carpet or tile, or lay down some jump ropes for space markers. Hop from one hoop to the next. Two foot hops, one foot hop, or hop-scotch style, your choice.
  6. Abs ‘a Crunching: For this, do ANY core exercise that you can do. Preferably a more difficult exercise. For example, you could do basic crunches or sit-ups, you could hang from a bar and bring your feet up to meet your hands, or you could lie on your back with your hands under your butt and do basic leg raises. Your choice.
  7. Kettle-bell Swings: If you have not done kettle-bell swings before, I suggest to get correct form by watching a video and watching yourself in a mirror, or ask a trainer at your gym. Hold the kettle-bell with two hands. Let the weight of the KB go between your legs, then use your hips to thrust the KB into the air, about level with your eyes. Let gravity bring the KB back between the legs and swing, then thrust with the hips to bring the KB back up into the air in front of you. If you are using your arms to pull the KB into the air, you are not getting the full benefit of a true KB swing.
  8. Ball Slams: Find a medicine ball or a jam ball. Eight to twenty pounds will do. Bring the ball up over your forehead and slam it to the ground by driving your core in tight and swinging the arms down. **Make sure to do a practice slam with your ball so that you know you aren’t slamming it so hard that it bounces back up and gives you a bloody nose. You have been warned! Once you have the concept, repeat by picking up the ball, raising overhead, and slamming it to the ground again.
  9. Red Ropes Raving: I used our battling ropes for this movement in class. Stand with each hand holding an end to the battling rope. Bring the rope up over head and slam it down as hard as you can. Repeat. If you do not have a battling rope, you might be able to do a similar movement with a sand bag, towel, or you can repeat the ball slams from number eight.
  10. Orange Cones Leaping: In the studio I had a line of orange cones going down one side of the room. You can use any strip of ground; pavement, your kitchen, a basketball court, grass, anything. We have all skipped before, at least in our childhood I hope. Practice a skip, do you remember how to do it? Right hand goes up with the left knee and vise versa. Well, in this leap, you just push up off of the ground hard to jump really high into the air. Land with a bent knee and switch legs, pushing off the other leg for jump number two. Move forward with ever single-leg jump.
  11. Plie Squats: These are also called wide squats. Stand with your feet past hip-width apart. Bent the knees, keeping your chest up and butt back and down. If you can lower all the way so your elbows are in line with the knees, do so. If not, just go as low as you can comfortably. Push up through the heels until your legs are straight, repeat. The difference between a plie and a regular squat is the distance of your foot placement. Regular squats your feet are about hip-width apart; with the plie, they are farther apart, that’s it. It may be similar, but you will feel it in different places.
  12. Rebounder: Our last exercise in this themed workout is the rebounder. If you have not seen a rebounder before, it is basically a small trampoline leaned over at a 45* angle to the ground. You hold a medicine ball overhead and throw it at the trampoline. The trampoline bounces the ball back towards you. If you are new to this, do a practice run so we prevent any bloody noses. Give it a light toss first! If you do not have a rebounder, throw a ball at a blank wall and let it fall / bounce back to you.

I hope you enjoyed reading about my 12 Days of Christmas workout, in it’s entirety. If you have any questions about other modifications you could use for these movements, please comment below or email me. Check our the Contact Laura page for more details about how to contact me!

Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year to you and your loved ones!


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