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12 Workouts Of Christmas | Gain Lean Muscle

Written by Jack Boardman

12 Workouts To Gain Lean Muscle

A lean muscle physique can be a lot of hard work in and out of the gym on any given week – let alone Christmas.

With the masses of carbs and protein and just about every food group known to man available – and encouraged – for consumption during the festive holidays, hardcore mass gainers are in their element. However, the lean muscle builder has mass and muscle to build, along with strength, but also have to consider their ratio of how much they consume and how much energy they burn.

A major factor in lean muscle gain is body fat. For mass gainers, you can eat all the mince pies and extra helpings of turkey that you like, but for the lean gainer, trying to keep their body fat under 10 per cent, high intensity cardio and abs exercises are essential in keeping the waist trim.

For your 12-workout Christmas plan, you should choose two compound lifts and two isolated muscles exercises each day, followed by an abs exercise and cardio.

how to get lean

Chest And Shoulder Day

Compound Lifts


Mix these up with either barbell or dumbbells.

Bench press. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Shoulder press. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Inclined bench press. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Declining bench press. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Isolated Muscle Exercises


Bench fly. Three sets of twenty

Lateral raise. Three sets of twenty

Tricep cable pulldown (one hand). Three sets of twenty

Tricep bar pulldown. Three sets of twenty

Overhead pullover. Three sets of twenty

Arnold press. Three sets of twenty

lateral raise

Back Day

 Compound Lifts

Wide bar row. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Close grip row. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Lateral pull down. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Incline bench pull. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Isolated Muscle Exercises

Bicep curl w/ bar. Three sets of twenty

Diagonal curl w/ dumbbell. Three sets of twenty

Cable curls /both hands. Three sets of twenty

Cable reverse fly. Three sets of twenty

Chest workout cable fly

Leg day

 Compound Lifts


Squat. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Leg press. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Deadlift. Three sets of 12, 10, 8

Isolated Muscle Exercises


Calf extend. Three sets of twenty

Leg extend. Three sets of twenty

Using Smith machine or leg press, narrow the range of movement so that you target the glutes or specific parts of the quads with 4 x 15 reps of a light weight.


Abs Workout

Abdominal muscles can often be the most worked and yet least on show. Many compound lifts and core-working exercises will work the abs even when you skip your crunches, but your six-pack still won’t show without achieving the ‘lean’ part of this workout plan. To make sure you’re putting in the work on your abs, alternate these each day. To achieve the ‘lean’ look, move on to cardio.

Plank. Three sets of 60 secs.

Lateral plank. Three sets of 60 secs.

Oblique crunches. Three sets of 20.

Cable crunch. Three sets of 20.

Leg raise. Three sets of 20.


Cardio Workout

This is what separates the mass gainers to the lean gainers with the under-ten percent body fat. You’ll have been increasing your caloric intake over Christmas, so make sure you don’t skip on the pulse-raising interval training to end your sessions.

Skipping. Five rounds of three minutes, then;

Boxing. Five rounds of three minutes.

High Intensity Training.

Two minute on, one minute low/rest for 12 minutes

The aim with HIIT is to get your heart rate up. In terms of pace, this means sprinting or the equivalent depending on your exercise of choice. The key is to get your heart rate up. If you’re looking for a general rule to apply to each HIIT workout when putting together a plan, once you’ve gotten confident with the extreme nature of the training and are feeling the good burn rather than legitimate injuries, think in terms of a 2:1 formula. Using the example of running again, that would look like 40 seconds of full-on sprinting (don’t slow, don’t stop) followed by 20 seconds or easy, slow jogging or walking, in which you are relaxing your muscles and slowing your breathing.





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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-reid-8b619b122/. She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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