The deck of cards workout is one of my all-time favorite workouts, and is the perfect way to exercise while on vacation.  All you need is you and a deck of cards!

I’ve been using the deck of cards workout for almost 30 years and have performed an endless string of variations of this great workout.  The basic deck of cards workout consists of doing body weight squats for every black card selected and push-ups for every red card, and there are no limits to the way this exercise routine can be tweaked.

While on vacation the basic deck of cards workout provides you with the perfect exercise routine because it can be done in just about any location and doesn’t require any equipment.  Of course if you’re able to have a few pairs of dumbbells with you and/or a Kettlebell, the deck of cards workout offers an even more incredible training stimulus.

The deck of cards workout can be modified in any number of ways, but a few basic alterations are to substitute lunges for squats, split the red cards into push-ups and sit-ups and/or to split the black cards into squats/lunges and squat thrusts.

If you split the deck up and include one joker with the black and red cards, the colors account for 230 repetitions.  Here are the rules and the basic breakdown.

  • Jacks are 11 reps
  • Queens are 12 reps
  • Kings are 13 reps
  • Aces are 15 reps
  • Jokers – if you have them in the deck – are good for 20 repetitions
  • For every red card turned you do push-ups – for the King of Hearts you do 13 push-ups
  • For black cards you do body weight squats – for the five of Clubs you’ll do 5 squats.
  • Each suit of cards contains 105 repetitions T
  • The extra 20 reps come from the Jokers

Once you’re familiar with these guidelines you can make any adjustment that you see fit.  No matter how you slice it – or cut it – the deck of cards workout will challenge even the fittest.



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