Working out is much more fun when you make a game out of it. What better way to do that than with a deck of cards? Try out my fun full body workout, guaranteed to make you sweat! You can do this workout at home– there’s no equipment needed! I’ve included 3 different intensity levels, so everyone can do it, no matter what your fitness level! Plus, you’ll never get bored! If the workout gets too easy, just advance to the next level and keep playing this addicting “fitness game”!
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Are you bored with the same old treadmill routine? Have you reached a plateau with your elliptical workout? Then, you need a fun, new way to burn those calories!
As a group fitness instructor, I know how important it is to keep your workout exciting! Consistency is key for getting fit and staying healthy, but it’s easy to get bored doing the same workouts day in and day out. Boredom is one of the top reasons participants cite for dropping out of a workout class or quitting a fitness routine. So, how do you mix it up?
In recent years, the Deck of Cards Workout has risen in popularity because, no matter what, you never get the exact same workout twice. The basic idea, explained in more detail below, is that you assign a specific exercise to each suit (spades, diamonds, hearts, and clubs) and then you draw cards and complete the exercise the number of times that’s listed on the card. If you shuffle the deck each time, you’ll always get a fresh, new workout because the order of the cards will never be exactly the same. It’s the perfect solution to workout boredom!
I’ve included three different intensity levels in my version of the Deck of Cards workout, so that you can challenge yourself and never get bored! Just like your favorite video game, the harder you work, the faster you’ll level up! You can start with Level 1 and work your way up to Level 3! Even once you’ve completed level 3, you can always go back to level 1 on a day where you have less energy or just want to mix it up! You can also mix and match different exercises across the levels or add some of your own! The possibilities are endless.
I’ve spent time designing each level, so that you get the best workout possible. You will work every part of your body with a combination of strength and cardio moves. And yes—you will sweat and burn a massive amount of calories, while building muscular strength and endurance. You’ll also develop better balance and agility. And you’ll achieve all this without having to lift weights or use any fancy equipment! (P.S. if you’re working out at home, I recommend using a non-slip exercise mat like this one in order to protect yourself and your floor! This is the same one I have in my house and it works perfectly!)
Each level has one lower body strength move, one cardio move, one ab move, and one upper body move (each move prioritizes that specific area of the body, but most of the moves actually work the entire body). This way you’re sure to get a fun full body workout that will you get you fit quickly! While the treadmill and the elliptical machine have their merits, this workout is so much more complete because it involves the entire body and mixes cardio with strength (one of the most effective ways to burn fat fast).
I’ve included a video for each exercise listed below, so that you can see exactly how each move should be executed. These videos are not random. I watched every single video all the way through to make sure that the instructor is teaching the move with proper form, exactly as I would teach it myself. If you have any doubts about how to do a specific exercise, I encourage you to watch the video and practice several times before doing the workout, so that you can perfect your form. Good form is key for getting the most out of the movement and for protecting against injury.
Playing cards aren’t just for poker anymore, you guys! You can actually use them as part of your daily workout routine! What are you waiting for? Grab a deck of playing cards here and start playing now!
As always, check with your physician or qualified health professional before engaging in any workout, including this one.
How to Play
- Start with a standard deck of cards that includes two Jokers (see note below for modifications).
- Shuffle the cards and put them facedown in your workout space. I encourage you to have a yoga mat nearby because some of the moves involve getting down on the ground.
- Draw a card and perform the designated exercise (listed below under each level) for the number of repetitions indicated by the number on the card. For example, if you draw a 3 of spades and you’re doing the level 1 workout, you will perform the exercise listed under spades (in this case, squats), 3 times. For the face cards, Jack = 11 reps, Queen= 12 reps, King = 13 reps, and Ace = 14 reps. The Joker is a special “challenge” card used in Level 3 only and it equals 20 reps.
- Rest for 10-20 seconds after completing an exercise then draw another card.
- Repeat until you finish the deck.
Note: If you’re looking for a shorter or less intense workout, you can cut the deck in half or in a third and start with that. You can even start with just 10 cards if you’d like and work your way up. As you get used to the workout, you can add in more cards until you can do the whole deck. Feel free to customize based on your fitness level.
Remove the “face” cards (Jack, Queen, King, Ace, and Joker) from the deck, so that only the numbered cards (2-10) are left. Follow the “How to Play” directions above using the following exercises.
Spades: Squats (lower body strength)
Diamonds: March in Place (cardio)
Hearts: Standing Crunches (abs)
Clubs: Triceps Dips (upper body strength)
How to Do Each Exercise:
March in Place: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynbWNnrijkA
Standing Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZ8_X5vK8Ug
Triceps Dips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s3Mppxwx1o8
Remove the Joker from the deck, but keep all the other cards (including face cards). Follow the “How to Play” directions above using the following exercises.
Spades: Reverse Lunges Switching Legs (lower body strength)
Diamonds: Jumping Jacks (cardio)
Hearts: Basic Crunches (abs)
Clubs: Modified Push-Ups (upper body strength)
How to Do Each Exercise:
Reverse Lunges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raQl44N_Rec
Jumping Jacks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c4DAnQ6DtF8
Basic Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xyd_fa5zoEU
Modified Push-Ups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SsTi7ueuDTU
Use the whole deck (including jokers and face cards). Don’t remove anything for this one. Follow the “How to Play” directions above using the following exercises.
Spades: Burpees (lower body strength)
Diamonds: Mountain Climbers (cardio)
Hearts: Bicycle Crunches (abs)
Clubs: Push-Ups (upper body strength)
How to Do Each Exercise:
Burpees: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZgVxmf6jkA (you can start with the beginner option and work your way to a full burpee)
Mountain Climbers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmwgirgXLYM
Bicycle Crunches: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iwyvozckjak
Push-Ups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IODxDxX7oi4 (I recommend watching this video even if you’re used to doing push-ups, so you can perfect your form)
Remember to take it slow and never push yourself further than your body wants to go. I’m a group fitness instructor and even level 1 was a bit tough for me, so don’t overdo it! Keep in mind that Flaxseeds & Fairytales is all about how small, consistent efforts create the most long-lasting results. It’s better to do level 1 regularly and work up slowly than to start with level 3 and burn out. Do this workout 3-5 times a week and I promise you’ll see results!
Did you try this Deck of Cards workout? I would love to know what you think! Let’s discuss in the comments below. 😀
Looking to get the most out of your workout? Check out Are Your Shoes Sabotaging Your Workout? Find Out Here! for my best tips on how to choose the right shoes for your workout (yes, there are right shoes and wrong shoes! 😉 ) I recommend wearing high-quality cross-trainer shoes for this workout like these here.
Feel free to pin the image below on Pinterest so you can reference it later or print it to keep as a guide!