The 12 Active Days of Christmas

Everyone knows the traditional song, the Twelve Days Of Christmas. The eponymous 12 days is the festive Christian season, beginning on Christmas Day (25 December). Most people don't know that the song starts on the 25th. Some countries around the world give gifts on the 12th day; some each day; and some including the UK on the 1st day, the 25th. Christmas cultural differences are very interesting to me!

To keep active during the festive season (and to be honest to keep myself amused too) I decided to design a 12 days of Active Christmas circuit. Basically written around the song (side note: why is so much of the original song about birds?!). Since its now the 12th day of Christmas (Jan 5th), I thought I'd show you guys this circuit.

On the Twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Twelve drummers drumming Twelve twisting side planks,

Put a nice tough one first. Here you are doing 12 twists to each side of a side plank, aka you will be doing 6 side planks for each side but swapping sides continuously, not with breaks. You can make the timings anything you'd like but I will be doing 10s per side: 10s left side, switch #1, 10s right side, switch #2 and so on. You'll end up doing a minute per side with that timing. If you want it harder, then pause for longer on each side. Easier? Then take breaks between the pairs of side planks.

On the Eleventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Eleven pipers piping Eleven Russian Twists,

Russian twists are ideally done with a weight. Small children or pets will do if you can carry them. So will full 1L water bottles. Either way sit in a v-sit style postion- back straight and off the floor, legs off the floor but with knees bent. Turn your upper body to touch the floor with your arms (or weight) on either side of your waist. A touch on both sides is 1 repetition, do 11.

On the Tenth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Ten lords-a-leaping Ten jumping lunges,

Urgh jumping lunges. I hate these. But I couldn't resist for 'lords-a-leaping'. In a jump lunge get into lunge position. Watch your front knee isnt over your toes. Swap the lunging leg quickly and dynamically, bouncing upwards to give yourself time. One on each leg is a single jump lunge so technically you're doing twenty! Yikes!

On the Ninth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Nine ladies dancing Nine tricep dips,

Tricep dips! A nice easy one. You can use a desk, a sofa, a chair, tons of things. Feet straight out in front of you, weight on your heels, dip so your elbows are bent, then push back out of that.

On the Eighth* day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Eight maids-a-milking Eight lateral ski hops,

For lateral ski hops stand in a squat like position- feet just over shoulder width apart. Now jump foot to foot, and as you land on one foot tuck the other (not on ground) foot behind the knee of the foot that's stable to the ground. Hard to explain but see the image below. A hop to both sides is one, do eight.

On the Seventh day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Seven swans-a-swimming Seven squat thrusters,

Squat thrusters! Get into press up/plank position (there's a theme about to arise here), jump feet up to shoulders with hands still on ground, jump feet back to original position. Repeat until heart is content (or you've done 7).

On the Sixth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Six geese-a-laying Six mountain climbers,

Mountain climbers, its all getting a little ab centric over here! For mountain climbers get into plank position, slowly bring each knee up to its own shoulder and back, one at a time. One per knee is one mountain climber, do six. Throughout your back is straight and your core is held in.

On the Fifth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Five Gollldennn Rings Five V sit upssssss,

Oh V sit ups BURN. If you happen to be some sort of abs McGee you can try holding this, for me it will be a set of 5. For V sit ups basically your body is in a V- back straight and off the floor, legs straight and off the floor. Only your hips/bum touch floor and you reach up to touch your toes (or close to it). That's one. Don't let yourself lie down in between them.

On the Fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Four calling birds Four full-form push-ups,

Ouch, full form push ups. So, plank position with hands as wide as shoulders and under shoulders, lower self as close to floor (without being on the floor) as possible.

Obviously if you can't do even one then do them on your knees or in a box position. This is to force me! I can do about 2 so I will do those 2 then take a short breather then do the other two.

On the Third day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Three French Hens Three minutes wall-sit,

Now for a three minute wall-sit! You may be totally cursing me. Sorry not sorry. I don't believe in moderation during the holidays (enjoy your chocolate without guilt folks!), but I do believe in exercise being fun.

For wall sits act as if you are leaning against a wall and slide down until your legs are at 90 degrees- top leg parallel with floor and lower leg perpendicular. Engage core and glutes and burrrnnnn baby burnnnnn. If you can't do 3 minutes, split it up into sections.

On the Second day of Christmas my true love sent to me,
Two Turtle Doves Two burpees in your gloves,

Enjoy, I know everyone hates burpees!

Full burpee: Begin in a standing position. Drop into a squat position, fold forward and place your hands on the ground. Kick your feet back and out into a plank/push up position, while keeping your arms extended. Immediately return your feet to the squat position by jumping back in. Jump up from the squat position to standing.

If you want it a bit harder, add in a push up when in push up position, or make the jump to standing a proper squat or tuck jump.

and a Partridge in a Pear Tree a Plank challenge under the tree.

This one is super simple, plank for as long as you are able, on elbows or on hands. Remember straight backs and bums tucked! For maximum actual abs work, start lying face down and suck your abs in towards your bellybutton first. Curl your toes under on the floor. Your progression thereon goes: tum off floor, hips off floor. Imagine you're a fallen log, you should be v straight.

Hold as long as you're able!


So spill, what nice things did you get for Christmas? 

And how was your festive season? A highlight...?


  1. Brilliant idea for a post Fiona! I'm gonna try and actually give this a go, hehe!
    I got FAR too many edible things for Christmas, half of which I am still munching away on. Definite highlight for me was running the furthest I've ever run before on new years eve :)

    1. It was meant to have pics but I couldn't find a willing photographer!

      Ooh how far did you go? Well done!

      And Yeap, I got a ton of chocolate. Its all gone.

  2. Are you trying to KILL me?? How am I supposed to do all this after eating a Christmas pudding, 2 tins of quality street and a turkey?? ;)

    1. How has my murder plot been so transparent?! Haha no, Im trying to compliment the turkey with a healthy glow ;-)

      Thanks for commenting!



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