Shuffle Up Your Workout with a Deck of Cards!

Welcome to Workout Wednesday! No one ever said working out had to be boring. As a bootcamp instructor I am always looking for ways to keep our sessions fun and interesting. There are lots of way to add a game component to your workouts. For this one we are going to use playing cards for a fun full body workout challenge.

Shuffle up your workout with a deck of cards.

Shuffle up your workout with a deck of cards.


What You'll Need

A deck of playingcards


52 Pick-up

When I was a young girl one of my boy cousins approached me with a deck of cards and asked me if I wanted to play a game called 52 pick-up. I was excited my much older cousin wanted to play a game with me. When I enthusiastically agreed to play, he threw all the cards on the floor and walked away, "There are 52 cards, now pick them up."  Jerk. That is a trick you only fall for once.

I promise my workout won't be a trick, but I can almost guarantee you'll be working to pick yourself up off the floor after this one. 

How it works

Shuffle the cards, place them face down in a stack, then choose the first card off the top. Set your timer for 20 minutes and complete as many cards as you can in that timeframe. 

Hearts = pushups

Diamonds = squats

Spades = crunches

Clubs = burpees

You perform the number of repetitions on the card. For example, if you flip over a 4 of hearts, you perform 4 pushups. 6 of diamonds means you do 6 squats.

King, Queen, Joker and Jacks = 12 reps each. 

Hearts = Pushups

Start in a high plank position with your hands placed a little wider than your shoulders. Keeping your body in a straight line, while engaging your core slowly lower your chest to the floor. Once in the low position, push back up to the starting position. If this is too challenging, drop to your knees. 

Diamonds = Squats

Starting with your feet hip width apart push your hips back and lower until your thighs are parallel to the floor (like you are sitting back in a chair) or as low as your flexibility allows. In the low position, engage your core, squeeze your glutes and push up to standing. Take a deep breath in as your lower to the squat and breath out as you return up to standing.

Spades = Crunches 

Start by lying on your back with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Push the small of your back into the floor. Contract your abs while breathing normally and lift your shoulders and upper back off the floor a few inches. Hold in the top position for 3 counts before lowering back to the floor.

You could also use a stability ball for this exercise, follow the above instructions but positioning a stability ball under your lower back.

Clubs - Burpees

Burpees (Everyone's favorite!)

Burpees (Everyone's favorite!)

Start with your feet hip width apart, lower into a squat position until your hands are flat on the ground in front of you. Jump your legs backwards into a high plank position. Jump both feet forward so you are back in the squat position. Jump up and raise both hands over your head. If this is too challenging, step back and forward from plank position instead of jumping. 



Don't be tempted to skip cards. Since there are only four exercises, you may find yourself doing the same exercise several times in a row. That's ok, you are building endurance. 

Work to complete the reps on the cards only resting for as long as it takes you to flip the next card. The goal is to keep moving for the entire 20 minutes. Since the clock is ticking, you want to maximize your time.

All of these exercises can be completed using only your bodyweight, but you can challenge yourself further by adding weights to the exercises.

See how many cards you can get through in twenty minutes. I'd love to know, send me a message on Twitter or leave a note in the comments. 

Partner Challenge

You could make this a partner challenge by competing with a friend to see who can get through the most cards in 20 minutes. Just remember that proper form is always more important than speed. Rushing through the exercises with improper form will make them less effective and you could risk injury. Play smart!

Please remember that while I am a personal trainer, I am not your personal trainer who knows your medical history, exercise background and unique needs. Please consult with your doctor before beginning any new exercise program. 

Any questions? I'd love to help. Let me know in the comments.

Coach Lea

Like this post? You can help me out by sharing!