Get a Workout Playing With Cards

By: Raymond Burton

If you have a deck of cards then you have the perfect means to get a wicked fat burning workout while you are on the road or in the field. This is a workout I use with my fitness-orientated clients that want a change of pace. It's perfect for the people that don't want massive muscles but want to burn fat and stay athletic and trim. My clients find that after a couple weeks of this style routine, they are able to climb, snowboard or keep up a high energy pace all day long.

In my army days, this was a great one to do while on exercise in the field because it required no equipment and the cards could be used for less physical fun later!

If you do MMA, you can also get great results with this routine. All that changes is the exercises in order to better mimic actual fighting movements. For example the Burpees would turn into more of a sprawl. The jumping jacks and step ups could be replaced with specified reps of combinations on the heavy bag.

It's simple yet so effective, just keep flipping cards. Give this a shot and maybe keep a bucket handy if you are really going to give a good go.

Start off with one minute each of the exercises below. Go through the whole list before taking a break:

Jumping Jacks

Bodyweight Squats

Sit-ups

Pushups

Now onto the good stuff. Assign each suit in the deck with an exercise. Here is what I usually pick for the beginner level:

Clubs - Burpees on bench or floor

Spades - Walkouts

Hearts - Sit-ups

Diamonds - Pushups

This is the easiest assignment. Whatever number card you pick, you do the number of the card with the exercise for that suit. For example if you turn the Jack of clubs, that means you would do 10 Burpees. All face cards are 10. Aces thank goodness are only one! Black jokers are 100 bodyweight squats in under 4 minutes. Red jokers are 75 sit-ups where every five you flip to do a pushup in 4 minutes. I have a "special" deck that a couple extra jokers sneaked into somehow. You do ten cards nonstop and then take a 30 second break if you are new to this type of training.

If all is going well and you want to up the ante some, then try this assignment. It will work the muscles with higher resistance movements with focus on the lower body.

Clubs - Burpees off the floor with a jump.

Spades - Dive Bombers or Hindu Pushups. This is a killer effective when done right.

Hearts - Do a sit-up on the floor, then standup and do two punches (jab, straight) and two front kicks (left and right).

Diamonds - Jumping three way lunges

Start fast and attempt to complete all the cards and jokers by the end of 60 minutes. If you start to fade on the high impact exercises, throw in an active rest. You do this by automatically adding the equal amount of jumping jacks followed by step-ups as the previous card had you doing. For example: An eight of hearts would mean 8 sit-ups, 8 jumping jacks and 8 step-ups, then flip the next card.

When you do finish the deck in under an hour, then you start to race the clock. Keep track of how long it takes to complete the deck and race to beat that time at your next session.

This method has given my clients and myself many hours of "pleasure"! Give it a try when you want to do something different for a workout, want extra conditioning for MMA, sports or have little weight training equipment available.

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