FTK Exclusive: 20-Minute Home Holiday Workout

The holidays can be tough when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. Temptations are everywhere, and we’re often too busy with events and shopping to work out and burn off those extra calories. While Wall Street Journal blogger Jacob Goldstein cited studies that showed people on average gain only about a pound during the holiday season– which is far less than you’ve probably heard– it’s a pound that’s very difficult to lose in the New Year. Over time, those pounds can add up.

Fear not, help is here. Orange County, California based personal trainer Negah Gheysar designed this circuit routine exclusively for First to Know readers. It’s intended to give you a great, fast workout that can be done at home with little to no equipment. That way you can enjoy the holidays and stay healthy throughout the season.

You’ll need: A set of dumbbells (3-5lbs for newbies, 6-8lbs if you’re more advanced, 10-12lbs for advanced) a jump rope, and a Swiss ball. Optional: Medicine ball and resistance bands.

Your plan: Go through the list of five exercises (plus 30 seconds of supplemental cardio) three times each, resting one minute in between each set. Negah formulated this workout to get your heart rate super high so you experience the full calorie-burning and toning benefits of a short workout.

Click on the thumbnails below to see the exercises in detail.

1. Squat to Shoulder Press—12 reps
(Targets shoulders, back, quads, glutes, and hamstrings).

Stand straight with a slight bend to the knees and engage your core muscles. Your feet should be hip-width apart, aligned with your knees, and pointing straight forward. Hold a dumbbell in each hand slightly above your shoulders.  Quickly squat down, keeping knees bent at 90 degrees, then push back up from the heels of your feet, pressing the weights up together over your head.

That’s one rep. Do 11 more, then jump rope (or just mimic jump roping) for  30 seconds before moving on.

2. Deadlift to Row—12 reps
(Targets hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, and back muscles).  

Stand with feet hip width apart with a slight bend to your knees and holding your dumbbells at your sides. Drop your chest forward, keeping your abs tight and your back flat. With your elbows close to your sides and palms facing inside, pull your arms back, squeezing your shoulder blades together. Slowly lower the weights back down and straighten your body back to the starting stance.

That’s one rep. Do 11 more, then do jumping jacks or jogging in place for 30 seconds.

3. Plank to Renegade Row—10 on each side
(Targets chest muscles, triceps muscles, and anterior deltoids).

Place your dumbbells on the ground, shoulder width apart. Get into an inclined plank position gripping the dumbbells so your chest is directly over them, your back is straight, and your feet are wider than your shoulders. Shift your weight to the right side and lift the left dumbbell toward your hip in a rowing fashion. Slowly lower the dumbbell back to the floor, shift your weight to your left side and do the same thing with the right dumbbell. Continue to alternate right and left for 10 reps on each side. (You can also do a modified version of this on your knees).

Do high knees (jogging in place, bringing your knees up to chest level) for 30 seconds.

4. Single Leg Diagonal Shoulder Raise—10 on each side
(Targets shoulders, legs, balance, and coordination).

Stand tall with your dumbbells by your side, palms facing your thighs. Slowly bring one leg up to the height of your other knee. Once you have your balance, raise both arms up, straight in front of you, to the length of your shoulders. Hold for one count, slowly lower your arms, and then lower your leg. Alternate by balancing on your other leg and following the same instructions. Continue doing each side 10 times. (You can also do a modified version of this raising only one weight).

Do butt-kickers  (jogging in place kicking your feet back until they touch your butt) for 30 seconds.

5. Dumbbell Chest Press on Swiss Ball—12 reps
(Targets chest muscles, back muscles, glutes, and abs).

Grab your dumbbells and sit on the Swiss ball, then slowly walk yourself out until your head and shoulders are supported by the ball. Feet should be slightly wider than hip width apart, with weights at your sides, palms facing away from your body. Once you feel balanced, extend both arms up above your chest until the dumbbells lightly touch each other. Slowly lower them back to your sides. That’s one rep.

Do 11 more then do 30 seconds jumping rope (or just mimic jump roping).

Congrats, you just finished one set! Rest for one minute and then start the next set.

If you have more time or would like to kick this workout up a notch, add in bicep curls and shoulder press using a resistance band, alternating push ups on a medicine ball, full sit ups, and planks (regular and side-to-side). Pictures of each exercise are below.


Your expert: Co-founder of Full Force Fitness Training, Negah is a Nesta-certified personal trainer and boot camp instructor serving South Orange County. She uses her knowledge in fitness and nutrition to help promote overall health and weight loss for men, women, and children.