There’s nothing that will drop the intensity meter to zero like doing the same boring workout over and over again. What keeps me exercising is having fun with it, and doing something fresh and interesting is a great way to recharge your workouts.
You don’t always have to equate ‘fun’ with easy though. Playing a game of basketball is a fun, though the exercise intensity isn’t at max. 400 meter sprint intervals on the track, however, will probably always be gross and I can’t say that I’ve ever called them fun. But there are workouts that dial the intensity meter to TEN while still being lively and interesting.
One such workout is the playing card workout. It’s simple and can be done anywhere. All you need is a deck of playing cards and some room to move.
For this workout, I slip in an extra pair of jokers, so that there’s a total of 4 jokers in the deck. You’ll thank me for that tip after you try out this workout. 😉
Pick any four body-weight exercises – (squats, push-ups, tricep-dips, lunges, sit-ups, chin-ups, mountain climbers etc.) and assign one to each suit. Of course, you could do any type of exercise you like, even with weights.
My workout might look something like this:
- ♤ Any Spade card = Squats
- ♡ Any Heart card = Lunges
- ♧ Any Club card = Push-ups
- ♢ Any Diamond = Sit-ups
- Jokers are always Burpees.
Shuffle the deck, put it face down on the floor where you’re going to exercise. Flip one card over at a time. For every card you flip over, do the exercise you picked for that suit and the repetitions determined by the number on the card. Without resting, flip the next card over and continue.
- So for example, 7♤ = 7 squats, and the 10♢ = 10 sit-ups
- Face cards = 10 reps as well
- Aces = 11 reps
- Jokers = 10 burpees
Flipping one card at a time, do the corresponding exercise until you go through the whole deck. That gives you 95 reps per exercise and since you’re using 4 jokers, 40 burpees by the time you are done. The deck is shuffled so you never know what’s coming.
A more advanced version might be something like this:
- ♤ = Plyometric body-weight squats
- ♡ = Curtsy lunges
- ♢ = Push-ups (or Plyometric push-ups if you’re superwoman!)
- ♧ = Chin-ups
- 15-20 burpees per Joker (knees to chest on the jump)
Setting a timer and trying to get done before your time runs out also increases the intensity. Nothing like chasing the clock! 😯
For extra credit, move your reps of burpees up from 10 to 15.
Adding an extra 20 burpees to the workout doesn’t sound like much, but when you already know you’re in for a grueling 20-25min of work, 20 burpees becomes a big deal.
I’ve created an infographic below, that you can use if you like, so if you want to save it on your computer or phone, or print it off and hang it on the wall where you work out, go ahead!
Lets do this thing!!!
What a great idea to always have a varied workout!
Hi Tricia, yes it’s a fairly simple way to not only vary the exercises but also the intensity. If I’m fairly tired from a previous workout or short on time, I make the exercises real easy. If I have some frustration to work off or my ‘annoy mom button’ has been pressed one too many times, then I’ll make it grueling. Physical exhaustion can be such good medicine… 😀