T Nation

The Deck of Cards Workout


Hey all. I've been reading and surfing around here for several months, but this is only my third post. I was just wondering if anyone else has ever tried The Deck of Cards workout, and if so what exercises you used?

For those unfamiliar with the workout, you either pick 2 (red cards and black cards) or four (each suit) exercises. Shuffle a deck of ordinary playing cards, turn the top card over and do the corresponding exercise for the number of reps on the card. Face cards are usually ten, Aces eleven, and jokers are 15, 20, 25, 30 or something else crazy.

I'm currently in "bodyweight only" mode, and I tried this out for the first time two days ago (read about it a while ago, though). I chose dips (well, a combination dip to L-sit to tuck planche, but that didn't last long, so it was mostly just plain ol' dips), pullups, a variation of a bodyweight squat, and leg curls on a Total Gym (believe it or not, that piece of equipment can give one some nice options. That leg curl is less like a traditional weighted leg curl and more like a leg pullup.). To try to round it out, I decided that jokers would be a timed hold of a "superman" (and man, do those little plastic action figures put up a fight...).

It was a helluva workout, especially the dips and chins. Took me about an hour, but I got some good ideas on what to do differently. First, the bodyweight squats weren't enough. Next time it'll be jump squats or pistols (actually, I plan to run through some different exercises all together). Second, I really need to shuffle better. I think I wound up doing about 50 pullups in a row to start and 40 or so straight dips at the end. But, it was fun, it was unpredictable ( to a degree of course), and at the end of the day, you wind up having done 115 or 230 reps of each exercise (forgive me if the math is way off, I'm just an artist, dammit).

Anywhat, if anyone else has tried this drill, I'd love to know what you did.



Oh, almost forgot. I've seen several references to something called "the MacGuyver workout" or somesuch, an article written here at somepoint I think. Can anyone point me towards that? It sounded interesting. I tried searching the site, but I'm fairly computer illiterate (remember I mentioned I'm an artist...) and wasn't able to come up with anything. Any direction would be much appreciated.



A million ripped prisoners can't be wrong...


Haha deck of cards, this reminds me of DeiselWeisel.


I did that as a college students during week-long vacations, when I didn't have access to an on-campus gym. Just pushups and crunches. The last time I did it, I was doing pushups, crunches, pistols, and one more exercise that I can't remember for each of the 4 suits.

My bodyparts were nice and sore for a few days after the workout (because I was doing something different and confusing my body), but I'll take a regular gym over a deck of cards any day. Too boring for me.


We used to do deck of cards workouts when we were deployed on ship in the Mediterranean for six months. You can use it for just about anything. We used it to do sprints on the helicopter landing deck, pushups, squats, dumbell swings, lunges. Different suits would be a different type of pushup. It helps pass the time in an otherwise boring place.


I think I do a workout like that a couple times a year...when I go to Vegas...It must be geared more for fat loss cause every time I do it, I lose my ass.


When we do it aces are 15 and jokers are 20. You do 2 exercises until you get to a joker then you change the exercise. 2 jokers in you deck means about 6 different exercises total. We use some of these exercises.

-Push ups
-jump squats
-jump and bring knees to chest
-jump and kick your self in the butt
-mountain climbers
-leg lifts
-spikes? (what i call them, actual name of exercise unknown)
-sit ups with punches
- jump lunges (spring loaded floor but are killer!)

That's all that i can think of right now but no way should that take you an hour... i wanna say 20minutes ish tops.



That's a workout that I've seen a lot of the Marines doing on ship in the hangar when there was nothing else to do. I was going to start doing that once or twice a week, and I found a good breakdown on the page above. Hope it helps man.




What the heck is DeiselWeisel?

I think a big reason it took me an hour (besides not being in good enough shape to do it in a shorter time and my having to stop and remember what each card represented) was my crappy shuffling skills. As I mentioned, to start off, I wound up doing about fifty pullups in a row, and pullups aren't my strong point right now.

Under half an hour is something to shoot for, however. Though I think I may attempt a few exercises using the Tabata Method today.