Festive Season Strength and Conditioning Guidelines

As the retail industry has ordained that Christmas has now started, I thought it might be a good idea if we could get a few guidelines in place to help us enjoy the season without losing too many of our good lifestyle habits.

The idea of these guidelines is that we don’t have to join the masses who rush to their local gym in early January trying to put right their excesses. Unfortunately these people are the ones who don’t seem to last too long with their newfound gym memberships. Wouldn’t it be better to keep up a sensible training programme (cut back intensity if you have to) then the New Year is a chance to recharge rather than restart.

Try and perform 2-3 sessions a week. Each session should involve training the basic movements.

Choose one from each category:


Push: Shoulder Press, Press-ups, Bench Press

Pull: Single arm rows,  Kneeling Lat Pull-downs,  Pull-ups or Chin Ups

Squat: Bodyweight Squat, Goblet Squat, Kettlebell Front Squat, Bulgarian Split Squat

Hinge (Hips): Bridge, Single-leg Bridge, Deadlift, Kettlebell Swings

Waist (Core): Plank, Side Plank, Swiss Ball Mixers, Deadbugs, McGill Sit-up

Once you have selected an exercise perform 3 sets of 8 reps at a level of resistance you could perform 12 repetitions at. We must have quality repetitions (imagine you are being judged at how well you are performing the drill). Take 1 minutes rest between exercises. At your next session increase the reps by 1 on one of your sets (I like the middle set). Next session add 1 repetition to another set. Once you are comfortable performing 3 sets of 12 repetitions then increase the resistance. NB If you think you’re next repetition is going to be of poor quality, stop. Take note of how many good quality repetitions have been performed then try and add one on your next session.

A little improvement every session soon becomes a lot of improvement.


Conditioning: Choose aerobic exercise e.g stationary bike, rowing machine.

Perform 30 seconds of work at approximately 75-80% maximum effort then take 1 minute complete rest. Do this 5 or so times. Don’t do too much as you have previously worked quite hard on resistance

Normally I would keep conditioning and strength and conditioning in separate sessions but I appreciate that you will have increased family responsibilities (school play, Christmas shopping etc) and you will not have as much time available to exercise as usual. As long as you do conditioning after resistance muscle conditioning process should not be hindered too much.

Hopefully the above guidelines are pretty simple. Obviously try not to go to the gym the day after your numerous Christmas functions. Your body is too busy trying to cleanse the body than grow muscle effectively.

If you have any questions on any of the above please contact me.