If you play your cards right you can get an excellent workout whether or not you’re a few cards short of a full deck!
Just a little humor to introduce one of my very favorite workout formats! I’ve seen different versions of the Deck of Cards concept, but this is mine.
What Is it?
You really do use a full deck of playing cards to guide your workout! Place the deck face down and flip one card over at a time. Each suit is assigned a certain exercise, or in my version two different exercises, and the number on the card tells you how many reps to do. Face cards and Aces are always 15 reps. Your challenge is to complete the entire deck.
Why I LOVE it!
There is definitely an element of surprise. You can do this over and over again and always have a different result. You can also change out the exercises each time you do it so it’s a totally different workout. The possibilities are endless. If you want ho-hum and boring, please do not try this at home. It gets extra fun and challenging if you turn over 2 face cards of the same suit in a row. That’s 30 reps please!
How to Play
The first suggestion is to grab a friend or ten! Of course this can be done solitaire style, but a partner can help you press on if you end up having to do 30 Burpees in a row. Yes I did use the ‘B’ word, and it’s highly recommended you include them as part of this workout because they are awesome. I’ve done this format in a boot camp, with partners and by myself with my dogs licking my face. The last option would be OK minus the dogs.
Planning the workout
You can choose 4 body weight/cardio type exercises or use mine below. Each is assigned a suit.
- Push-ups – Hearts
- Burpees – Spades
- Sit ups – Clubs
- Squat Jumps – Diamonds
You can choose 4 strength exercises (add weights) or use mine below. Each is assigned a suit.
- Overhead press – Hearts
- Squat – Spades
- Russian twist – Clubs
- Hammer curl with tricep extension – Diamonds
First, shuffle, shuffle, shuffle the deck. You don’t want to know the order of the cards, that would ruin the fun!
Second, divide the deck equally in two.
The first half of the workout is your cardio time. You will only do the 4 body weight/cardio type exercises for the first 26 cards. For example, for every Heart you turn over you will do pushups, and for every Spade you will do burpees. Remember, you do the number of reps that’s on the card you turn over, and all face cards are 15 reps.
After you complete the first 26 cards you move on to the strength portion of the workout. Now every time you turn over a Heart, you will do the overhead press, Spades become squats, etc.
I threw in a special exercise for Aces just for variety.
Every time you turn over an Ace, whether it’s in the first half of the deck or the second, you perform walking lunges with a twist, 15 each side or a total of 30.
My favorite way to do this workout is the way I described above, however, you can put it together in different ways.
First, you can just do the top 4 body weight/cardio type of exercises for the entire workout, while also adding in the walking lunges for the Aces. This works especially well if you don’t have equipment. When you add up all the reps per exercise type, it’s quite impressive! (But if you like nice round numbers like me, you might want to throw in an extra rep of each!) Here are the stats:
- Push-ups 99
- Burpees 99
- Sit ups 99
- Squat Jumps 99
- Walking lunges with a twist 120
Second, you can do the whole workout with weights, like the second half of the workout. I’ve never tried it this way though, so if you do, let me know how it goes.
Third, you can throw all my suggested exercises out the window and use your own!
I’m going to lay my cards on the table and say I love to combine cardio and strength in all my workouts. The beauty of this though, is that YOU hold all the cards. So what will it be?