The Santa Claus Workout
His body might not impress, but Santa’s day is not for wusses. He has to cover over 75 million miles, burns over 12,000 calories, and has no margin for error. Mere mortals may never face rapid intercontinental travel by sleigh, but the essential tasks that the big man has to perform—jumping, gripping, balancing, running non-stop—and the muscles employed have earthbound uses. Here’s how to train like the bearded one:
The Challenge: Starting Strong
The Routine: Prep your body with the World’s Greatest Stretch:
- Lunge out with your right leg and place your left hand on the floor and your right elbow halfway down your shin, bent at 90 degrees to the inside of your right foot. Hold for 1-2 seconds.
- Then bring your right hand to the floor to the right of your foot, lift your right toe and push your hips to the ceiling.
- Drop your hips and step into the next repetition with your other leg. This dynamic stretch activates most of your muscles and raises your core temperature, says Zac Woodfin, a performance specialist at Athletes’ Performance in Los Angeles.
The Challenge: Picking up Heavy Sacks of Presents
The Routine: In order to bend repeatedly at the waist and swing an unbalanced weight up and over, your grip and lower back have to be solid, Woodfin says. For the former, do barbell curls with an overhand grip (palms facing down). Stand tall and keep your shoulders back and your elbows at your sides as you curl a loaded barbell up and lower it.
For your lower back, do extensions on a physioball. Lie face down with the ball at your waistline and toes on the ground. Interlock your hands behind your head and slowly move down from your waist, maintaining a natural arch in your back. Squeeze your glutes as you return to the starting position. For both, do three sets of 12 repetitions.
The Challenge: Driving a Sleighful of Reindeer
The Routine: What the red suit hides is some killer front deltoids, which are essential for the straight-arm driving. Try front raises with dumbbells, Woodfin says. Stand holding a pair of dumbbells in front of you with an overhand grip. Keeping your arms straight, lift the weight to eye level, then lower them back down to your pockets. Do three sets of 12 reps.
The Challenge: Balancing on Icy Roofs
The Routine: You’ll need help for this exercise. Make like Ray Lewis and get into an athletic position—feet shoulder-width apart, hips back, chest up and back flat. Bring your hands straight out in front of you and into a praying position. Your partner tries to move your hands up, down, right and left while you resist. Focus on maintaining an athletic posture. Do three sets of random directions for 20 seconds to build stability through your abs, lower back, and hip musculature, Woodfin says.
The Challenge: Surviving an All-Out Day
The Routine: Eat every three hours, starting with a solid breakfast. “Otherwise, you’ll just run on fumes,” says Amanda Carlson-Phillips, R.D., director of performance nutrition at Athletes’ Performance. This doesn't mean grazing on cookies all day either. Look for a cereal with at least 3 grams of fiber, and have scrambled eggs with vegetables and a sprinkle of cheese.
Top it off with a bowl of berries—the antioxidants will help combat the stress of constant exertion. Pack a cooler with snacks and quick meals like jerky for lean protein sources to stabilize energy levels; raw walnuts, pecans or almonds for the optimal fatty acids; and two sandwiches of a lean meat on 100 percent whole wheat with mustard or low-fat mayonnaise and cheese. Finally, consume the all-important water (half your weight in ounces) coupled with 32 ounces of a low carb sports drink, like G2.
The Challenge: Going Down a Chimney
The Routine: Falling’s easy. It’s landing softly that’s the challenge. To protect your joints, do depth jumps. Stand on a box or bench and step off – don’t jump as the name implies – with one foot and hit the ground with two, Woodfin says. Focus on absorbing the fall by flexing your knees and slightly sticking out your butt to flex your hips. Do 3 sets of 6 reps.
The Challenge: Going Up the Chimney
The Routine: Box jumps will give you propulsion. Use the same bench or box as the depth jumps, get into an athletic position, squat down a quarter way and propel yourself up from your butt, landing softly on both feet, Woodfin says. Do this quickly to work on explosiveness. Do 3 sets of 6 reps.
About The Author
Steve Calechman – Steve Calechman is a contributing writer for CorePerformance.com. He has published articles for Men's Health, Natural Health, The Robb Report and Women's Health magazine.