T Nation

Have You Faced the Deck Of Cards?


Here is a great workout my friend showed me the other day. Its (very) challenging which makes fun and rewarding. The idea is you take two exercises and you assign a color, either black or red to those exercieses. Face Cards are 10, Aces are 11, and other cards are their shown value. You then flip over a card and do whatever exercise comes up(for example, I did pullups were black and pushups are red) and you do as many as the card tells you to do.
Its a lot of pushups and a lot of pullups, but its pretty fun. Have you heard of it before?


I've done this on and off for years. And the funny part is that while it's not "scientific" I have had some great workouts this way.

You can also do these random type sessions with a pair of dice.


I did this today, except instead of assigning exercises to card color, I did it by suit, for a bit more variety. Hearts - leg lifts; Clubs - lunges; Diamonds - pull-ups; Spades - pushups. It was quick, anything but easy, and got me sweating. Great variation from the regular old Iron game.


Actually, it sounds pretty scientific to me. Randomised variables will eventually over time be kinda evenly distributed. Ive actually been thinking that the whole undulating training thing (sorry having a mind blank) could be made very simple by breaking out ye ol AD&D di and going to town. Excercise selection, Rep ranges, rest periods. All you would need is a list of excericses/rep ranges and a set of dice.

1 minute before the session roll em, and record them.


This does sound good for a change. When you say quick, how quick? Approximately how long did the entire deck take?


I've done it before as military PT. I don't know what truth it has, but I heard this has roots from prison. The usual varition I have seen is red upper body, black, lower body and abs.


Ive heard of this in various forms, the most notable possibily being called the Karl Gotch bible by Matt Furey. Ive also ran into a few cats in the military that will swear up and down they invented it and have various names for it(the "pain train" comes to mind)...

Anyhow, for the sake of varity it could be effectively used on bodyweight exercises and the only few times I did it was spliting up the suites into four exercises, I think I used the pullup, handstand pushup(against the wall of course), jumping lunge and jumping hindu squats. Ugh, makes me sick and sore to think about THAT one again....


Depends how long you rest.


its roughly 400 reps and each set is roughly 6.5. it equates to 60 sets. its pretty tough.


95 total reps per suit the way it is described by the original poster. 95x4 suits = 380 total reps.

380 divided by 52 cards (sets) = 7.31 reps per set.

Depending on how many movements you include (the more the easier), that would be a tough workout, but not the most difficult.

Actually I like the rep count per set: 7.31.


did it like once a week in basic training


I tried it yesterday. The first card I drew was a joker. I saw that as a bad omen and I left.



My buddies who have been there swear by this workout.

I haven't tried it, but will soon I think


You can always throw the joker in as a 20 rep card.