Deck of Cards Workout

Are you looking for a new way to workout and shake up your routine a bit? There are so many workout programs out there that can focus on certain parts of your body, on building your muscle or on helping you lose weight. But what if you want something different What if you want to be surprised by your workout?

Here, we are going to talk about how the deck of cards workout can do just that! If you have a spare deck of cards handy (but in all honesty, this workout is so effective it’s worth going out and buying some) and an insane amount of determination then you are going to LOVE this workout.

Deck Of Cards Workout: How it Works?

Deck Of Cards Workout

The deck of cards workout is quite simple once you get the hang of it. To start with you are going to need a standard deck of cards. Give the cards a good old shuffle o that they are nicely mixed up.

The basis of the deck of cards workout is that you assign a move to each suit (hearts, clubs, spades, and diamonds) and then add numbers to your Jacks (11) Queens (12) and Kings (13). As you work your way through the deck of cards, you will find yourself doing the same four exercises but with different quantities of reps. 

Why it Works

This workout is really effective, especially when you choose the four exercises wisely. Using all-over body working exercises is best because otherwise, you may end up doing an uneven amount of exercises that focus on one part of the body.

The speed with which you move from one exercise to another will fire up your metabolism and give you similar effects as you would expect to receive from HIIT. All in all, the fact that your body doesn’t know what is coming next will make it work harder and give you a better workout. 

Who Uses the Deck of Cards Workout?

Many personal trainers will have this trick up their sleeve (like what we did there?) and will often use it as an endurance assessment as well as an all-over body workout. But one celebrity in particular raves about the deck of cards workout, Carrie Underwood.

In between running around after her son and maintaining her high flying career, you’ll find Carrie flipping cards and working out! And let’s face it if a deck of cards can give you a figure like Carrie’s then sign us up! 


1. Don’t try to get through the entire deck on your first try

While it might be tempting to do all 52 cards on your first go, don’t. You will do some serious damage to your body and you will more than likely get bored to death because you will be there all day.

Instead, start off by doing a smaller number of cards (depending on your fitness you can start at 10 or 15) and then work up to 5 more cards each week. Once your stamina and your body is used to sustaining the pace for a long period of time then you will be able to increase the intensity of the exercises too. 

2. Try it with more exercises

If you are worried that you are going to get bored with just 4 exercises, then try adding in more exercises. Assign a new exercise to odd numbers as well as the suit, try changing up the exercises after every 10 cards or assign 2 exercises to each suit and then decide which you want to do when you pick it up.

3. Work out with a buddy

Working out with a buddy always helps you to go further and try harder. Why not try the deck card workout with a buddy and pick each other’s cards for them? Last to finish their half of the deck has to buy the coffees (or the post-workout protein shakes). 

Here are some examples of the deck of card workouts you could try at home. Remember that for each numbered card you pick up you use that number to decide how many reps you do, Jacks (11), Queens (12) King (13):

10 Deck of cards workout

Example 1 – Easy: 

Spades: March in Places, Diamonds: Squats, Hearts: Triceps Dips, Clubs: Standing Crunches. This workout is designed to work the whole body but without breaking too much of a sweat. One for beginners, you’ll still find it tricky to complete an entire deck with this workout.

Make sure you have a chair to hand for the triceps dips and that you don’t go too far on your squats otherwise you’ll burn out before you get to the end of your workout. 

Example 2 – Easy:

Spades: Knee Lifts, Diamonds: Squats, Hearts: Lunges, Clubs: Calf Raises. This one is designed to work your legs and core. Focusing mainly on leg exercises with some knee lifts thrown in to help strengthen your core, you’ll find it hard to work through the entire pack on your first go but once you work on it for a few weeks you should be able to get there.

Try to keep your knees as high as possible even on the high rep rounds and be sure to maintain your engaged core. 

Example 3 – Easy:

Spades: Arm circles, Diamonds: Plank, Hearts: Squats, Clubs: Jumping Jacks. This is an all-over body workout that will cover every muscle from the top to the bottom. The added cardio will help to burn fat and if you keep the momentum steady you should begin to feel the burn quite quickly. While the arm circles feel like an easy break, get two high numbered spades in a row and you are going to know about it tomorrow! 

Example 4 – Medium:

Spades: Jumping Jacks, Diamonds: Reverse Lunges, Hearts: Push-Ups (modified if required), Clubs: Basic Crunches. This workout is a bit harder and adds in more cardio than the previous ones. The jumping jacks can be a killer so make sure you have a drink of water to hand and try not to lose the speed. The push-ups can be modified so you can do them on your knees if you prefer. This will be especially helpful when you are getting to the end of your workout and you. Are. Tired! Try to keep your form with the basic crunches even when you are worn out. 

Example 5- Medium:

Spades: Push-Ups, Hearts: Hip Raises, Diamonds: Burpees, Clubs: Squat Jumps. 

This workout focuses mainly on the legs and core. If you have bad knees, then make sure that you are well supported or try another workout because this one will put a lot of pressure on your knee joints. Try not to lose form when fatigue sets in with the burpees but instead change it up to alternate burpees with another exercise that you prefer such as mountain climbers.

Example 6 – Medium:

Spades: Jumping Jacks, Diamonds: Crunches, Hearts: High Knees, Clubs: Triceps Dips. A combination of cardio, core, and arms, this workout is the perfect blend of high intensity combined with single-focused movements.

Make sure that you try to engage your core throughout ALL of the exercises and don’t be tempted to flake out of those high knees. If you can’t do the reps required, then don’t attempt that many cards for another week. 

Example 7 – Hard:

Spades: Mountain Climbers, Diamonds: Burpees, Hearts: Push-Ups, Clubs: Bicycle Crunches. This one will really push you to the limits. Made up of 50% cardio, if you hit too many kings in a row with this then you are going to feel it!

Make sure that you are prepared for this workout and that you have worked through the easier and medium levels. Try not to do the whole deck right away, but if you do manage it you might be up for a strongman award! 

Example 8 – Hard:

Spades: Crunches, Diamonds: High knees, Hearts: Plank, Clubs: Russian Twists. This hard workout focuses mainly on the core and a little cardio to shake things up. If you like you can make the Russian twists a little harder by using a medicine ball or kettlebell to add weight when you are twisting. Remember as always form is more important than speed so try to pace yourself. 

Example 9 – Hard:

Spades: Burpees, Diamonds: Squats, Hearts: Bicycle Crunches, Clubs: Jumping Lunges. The added cardio elements in this workout will help to burn fat at a much quicker rate than the easy levels.

Remember to pace yourself and not to try and do too many cards in a row with this workout. It will be hard enough so set yourself a goal of 5 extra cards a week. 

Example 10 – Super Hard:

Spades: Jumping Jacks, Diamonds: Burpees, Hearts: High knees, Clubs: Mountain Climbers. So you think you’re hard enough to do a super hard deck of cards workout, do you? Well, then this one will soon put you in your place and make you cry to your Momma. This super cardio, high-intensity workout is going to make you sweat and burn! 

So there you have it! The deck of cards workout explained. The deck of cards workout program is not only good for your body but good for your soul too so why not give it a try net time you are working out? Now, what are you waiting for? Grab those cards! 

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