A deck of cards is not just for playing games or doing magic tricks. It can also be used to keep yourself in great shape too.
How? Well it’s actually pretty simple. You have 52 cards in a deck plus the jokers and each of those 52 cards is broken up into four suits (spades, diamonds, clubs, hearts).
Each suit of the deck of cards is assigned an exercise—e.g., diamonds might be for Push-Ups. The preferred method is to only use bodyweight exercises which will allow you to quickly move from one exercise to the next.
Draw a card from the deck and perform the designated exercise for the number reps indicated on the card, 2 through 10. For the face cards, Jack = 11 reps, Queen = 12 reps, King = 13 reps, and Ace = 14 reps. So, if you turn over an 8 of diamonds and you assigned Push-Ups to this suit, you would do 8 Push-Ups.
This may all sound easy enough but try it out and you will soon see that it is not as easy as you imagine.
The hardest parts is later in the routine when you pray for low numbers but turn higher valued cards or you turn two or more of the same suit in a row.
This workout is fairly high volume, so it builds muscular endurance and work capacity as much as or more than max strength. But it’s important for athletes to be able to repeatedly perform a movement. And it’s a great way to get an extra fat burning boost, if that’s your goal.
A deck of cards workout is best done with one or more partners to split up the number of reps. If you do it on your own, you will perform 104 reps per exercise. If you do it with one partner, 52 reps is a more manageable volume.
The Deck of Cards Bodyweight Workout Guidelines
- Assign one exercise to each suit of the deck. When you turn over a suit, you perform the designated exercise for the number of reps indicated on the card. Use these reps for face cards: Jack = 11; Queen = 12; King = 13; Ace = 14.
- Rest for 15-30 seconds between each exercise before turning over the next card.
- If you’re doing this on your own, cut the deck in half. You can add cards as your fitness improves.
- You don’t need any equipment other than your body. Check out our earlier bodyweight exercises infographic for some ideas.
If you were wanting the deck of cards to focus on your upper body, you could use the deck as follows:
- Hearts – Bear Crawls
- Diamonds – Pull-Ups or Bird Dogs
- Spades – Push-Ups
- Clubs – Windshield Wipers
If you wanted to use the deck for a full body workout, you could use it as follows:
- Hearts – Mountain Climbers
- Diamonds – Prisoner Squat
- Spades – Spiderman Push-Ups
- Clubs – Reverse Lunges (each side)
Try it out and please let us know how you get on.