Now that we’re clear of the final summer hurdle – the three day Labor Day Weekend – many of you feel it’s time to buckle down and really work hard on leaning up your body composition, especially before the high-caloric holidays hit us between November and December. So today I thought I’d share with you one of my favorite ways to torture my clients (probably how I got the name “Priestess of Pain”) – the Playing Card Workout.
This workout is so versatile and customizable it can be used with kids or adults, at a gym, or at home with as little as resistance bands and/or just body weight exercises. You can also decide whether you’re going to “play” this workout for as little as 10-minutes, up to 30 or 60-minutes, it’s your choice.
The concept is simple: you assign a type and quantity of exercise to each of the cards Ace Through King (1-13) in a deck of playing cards. Then you shuffle them up, and take one card at a time, perform the exercise designated for that number (or face card), and then go back and pick another. I change up my exercises regularly but here’s one I’ve used on beginning fitness clients who have just some basic gear. Remember it doesn’t matter the suit, just the number of the card:
- Ace (1) 10 Burpees
- Two 25 Jumping Jacks
- Three 15 Push-ups
- Four 10 Single Leg Touch Downs (each)
- Five 25 Biceps Curls (dumbbells or resistance bands)
- Six 30 Crunches
- Seven 10 Incline Push Ups (against a bench or chair)
- Eight 50 Air squats
- Nine 3 30-second planks
- Ten 15 Triceps dips (using bench, chair or counter)
- Jack (11) 30 Mountain Climbers
- Queen (12) 20 Crab Walks
- King (13) 15 Shoulder presses (dumbbells or resistance bands)
It doesn’t matter if you turn over the same numbered card numerous times (i.e., you turn over two 6’s in a row – you’ll be doing 60 crunches). Keep the pace fast if you’re only working out for a short period (10-20 mins). For longer (30-60 mins), every 10-minutes take a 2 minute break for water and to slow your heart rate down.
There’s an even simpler option, assign only 4 exercises, one for each suit, and then perform that exercise for the amount of times of the numbered card you pick (i.e., Clubs = Push ups, a 5 of clubs is 5 push ups). But either way, you’ll achieve great results and it’s hard to plateau with this workout.
This workout routine will keep boredom at bay as it stimulates your brain and challenges your body, and it has effective cardio with simultaneous muscle fatigue all built in to one fun routine. I challenge you to try it with your whole family, and encourage the kids to assign the exercises. For those of you who are excited that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back at Starbucks for the season, you’ll need to work of those calories for sure, and this is a quick easy way to do it. Cheers and good luck!