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The Full-Body Holiday Workout Program

Build muscle and strength while celebrating this season.

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  • 4 Days

  • 24

  • Yes

Skull Crusher
James Michelfelder and Therese Sommerseth
Skull Crusher
James Michelfelder and Therese Sommerseth

Even the most hardcore lifters can fall victim to the time-sucking demands of the holiday season—parties, family functions, and travel—but that doesn’t mean your physique has to suffer. Instead of cranking out six hard workouts per week, allow yourself some seasonal leeway by cutting it to four. By implementing a program with a strong focus on compound movements you’ll make up for the lost days, and that’s what this month’s program is about: gaining muscle when time allows without missing out on the things that really matter.

HOW IT WORKS

You’ll train four days per week, but your two toughest, longest workouts will be on the days you can fit them in. Your hardest training should come when you’re rested, ready, and have the most free time around your busy holiday schedule. The quicker, lighter routines will easily fit into a busy day. You can do cardio on your more free days, or simply take time off if time is tight. To customize the program even further, we’ve included alternate exercises to choose from depending on how you feel. Get ready to make gains at the speed of Santa’s sleigh.

DIRECTIONS

The following are sample workouts. You can substitute a different move for any exercise with an asterisk (*) next to it. See the lists of exercise options below.

YOUR OPTIONS 

OLYMPIC LIFTS

HAMSTRINGS EXERCISES

  • Sumo-stance Leg Press
  • Glute-ham Raise
  • Cable Pull-through
  • Suspended Leg Curl

VERTICAL BACK EXERCISES

  • Lat Pulldown 
  • Chinup
  • Pullup
  • Shrug

SINGLE-LEG EXERCISES

ABS EXERCISES

  • Weighted Situp
  • Side Bend (weighted exercise)
  • Cable Ab Pulldown (weighted exercise)
  • Plank
  • Side Plank
  • Ab Wheel Rollout

Routine

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Day 1

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 24

Clean

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
3
Rest
--
*Choose any Olympic lift.
Exercise 2 of 24

Back Squat

Equipment
Barbell, Squat Rack
Sets
5
Reps
3
Rest
--
Exercise 3 of 24

Barbell Deadlift

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
5
Rest
--
Exercise 4 of 24

Lying Leg Curl

Equipment
Sets
5
Reps
15
Rest
--
*Choose any hamstring exercise
Exercise 5 of 24

Barbell Shrug

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
12
Rest
--
*Choose any vertical back exercise.
Exercise 6 of 24

Bulgarian Split Squat

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
12
Rest
--
* Choose any single-leg exercise.
Exercise 7 of 24

Weighted Situp

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
* Choose any ab exercise.

Day 2

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
5
Reps
5
Rest
--
*Choose any bench-press variation
Exercise 9 of 24

Barbell Shoulder Press

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
5
Reps
5
Rest
--
Equipment
Barbell, Bench
Sets
5
Reps
12
Rest
--
*Or choose any triceps exercise
Exercise 11 of 24

Bentover Row

Equipment
Sets
5
Reps
12
Rest
--
How to
*Or choose any horizontal back exercise
Exercise 12 of 24

Skull Crusher

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
2
Reps
20
Rest
--
How to
*Or choose any triceps isolation exercise
Exercise 13 of 24

Barbell Curl

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
15
Rest
--
*Or choose any curl variation

Day 3

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 14 of 24

Barbell Good Morning

Equipment
Barbell
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 15 of 24

Leg Press

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
20
Rest
--
Exercise 16 of 24

Lying Leg Curl

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
Exercise 17 of 24

Back Extension

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 18 of 24

Seated Calf Raise

Equipment
Bench
Sets
2
Reps
20
Rest
--
Exercise 19 of 24

Plank

Equipment
Sets
2
Reps
Hold for 30 seconds
Rest
--

Day 4

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 20 of 24

Dumbbell Bench Press

Equipment
Bench, Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
8
Rest
--
Exercise 21 of 24

Bodyweight Dip

Equipment
Dip Station
Sets
3
Reps
2 shy of failure
Rest
--
Exercise 22 of 24

Face Pull

Equipment
Adjustable Cable Machine, Rope Attachment
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
Exercise 24 of 24

Bent-Over Lateral Raise

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
15
Rest
--
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