The Deck Of Cards Workout Will Push You To The Limit
We get it, working out can get boring. That’s especially true if you can’t make it to the gym and have to rely only on bodyweight exercises, which are often repetitive. But with a deck of cards, you can make your workout unpredictable and more like a game. And although the deck of cards workout may sound silly, well, ask us again once this workout is done.
The deck of cards workout is deceptively simple, and it can be shuffled around to target particular muscle groups. Start by designating an exercise for each suit. For example, assign squats to spades, good mornings to hearts, push-ups to diamonds, and reverse lunges to clubs. Then, draw a card, and do however many reps matches the number on the card. For instance, if you draw a five of spades, you do five squats. If the next card is a ten of diamonds, you do ten push-ups.
Face cards add a fun twist. Regardless of the suit, you assign a specific exercise and amount of time to each face card, such as 30 seconds of oblique twists for the queen. When you draw any of the four queens, you pump out however many oblique twists you can do in half a minute.
Between the various suits and face cards, you’ll get an efficient full-body workout by the time you get through a whole deck. According to Matt Spear, fitness program manager at Exos, a well-rounded full-body workout routine should include six primary movement patterns: squatting, hinging, pushing, pulling, twisting (rotation), and lunging. “Combining these together in one workout provides an excellent balance of movement types, promoting a well-rounded workout,” he says.
Although you can choose any exercise you want for each suit and face card, Spear recommends the following strength-training exercises to give you a balanced full-body workout that hits all your muscle groups.
Spades = Squats
What it works: Quads, glutes, hamstrings, calves, lower back, core
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart and knees pointed slightly out. Bend knees and descend into a squat until thighs reach parallel or lower. Push your feet through the floor and stand back up into the starting position. Focus on a balanced and controlled squat for all reps. Repeat for the number of reps on the card.
Hearts = Glute Bridges
What it works: Glutes, hamstrings, lower back
How to do it: Lie flat on your back with knees bent. Drive feet into the floor and thrust hips up. Squeeze glutes at the top, then slowly return hips to the start. Repeat for the number of reps on the card.
Diamonds = Push-Ups
What it works: Pecs, delts, triceps, core
How to do it: Start in a high plank position with hands shoulder-width apart. Bend elbows, keeping them close to your side, as you lower your body to the floor, pausing an inch above the ground. Push hands through the floor, squeezing the pecs and triceps, to return to starting position. Repeat for the number of reps on the card.
Clubs = Reverse Lunges
What it works: Quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, core
How to do it: Stand tall with feet hip-width apart. Step back with right foot and lower knee to just above the floor. Push through your left foot to return to start. Repeat on the opposite side for one rep, then repeat for the number of reps on the card.
Ace = Renegade Rows
What it works: Lats, rhomboids, core
How to do it: Start in a high plank position with hands shoulder-width apart. Bend the right elbow and pull it up past your side with a rowing motion. Repeat on the opposite side for one rep. Repeat for 20 seconds.
King = Bent Over T’s
What it works: Delts, rhomboids, traps, lower back, core
How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart, slightly bend knees, and hinge hips. Keep back flat, arms hanging down. Squeeze shoulder blades to raise both arms straight out to the side, forming a T. Squeeze upper back muscles and hold. Slowly return arms to starting position. Repeat for 20 seconds.
Queen = Oblique Twists
What it works: Core, lower back
How to do it: Start in a seated position with feet flat on the floor. Squeeze abs and slightly lower torso backward. Keeping abs squeezed, twist to the left side, then return to the middle. Next, twist to the right side, then return to middle. Lift feet off the floor to make the oblique twists more challenging. Repeat for 30 seconds.
Jack = Hollow Body Hold
What it works: Core, lower back, quads, hip flexors, inner thighs
How to do it: Lie flat on the floor with legs straight and arms by your side. Squeeze abs and lift legs one to two inches off the floor. Next, lift torso off the floor to the same height as legs. Once confident, make hollow holds tougher by raising arms overhead. Hold for 30 seconds.