A few months back, when I first joined my gym, I hired on a personal trainer (at the introductory rate) for four sessions to help familiarize myself with the gym and the equipment. I was kind of shocked when he recommended that I didn’t start off on the equipment right away but instead learn to work with my own weight first. Part of me was disappointed, thinking that he was just trying to get more sessions out of me in the future to show me my way around the equipment, but then I realized that he really was looking out for my body’s best interest. He said there is no reason to be able to lift a bunch of dead weight if you can’t even handle the way your own body works and I agree with him.
One of the workouts that I did with him was the Playing Card Workout. When I met with him the morning of the workout he said “Today we’re going to have some fun.” I wasn’t sure what to expect from that considering the past two times I met with him he practically killed me. Seriously. I couldn’t walk for two weeks after he had me do a workout incorporating squats and my lower back hurt so bad after doing reclined sit-ups that I thought I had a hernia.
As it turns out, the Playing Card Workout was indeed fun. It went by so fast and I really felt like I had acomplished something when I was finished. Usually, when I go to the gym, I will alternate running with the card workout because right now I’m really wanting to do cardio to get my weight down. But by doing the card workout I’m also doing some strength training as well, so my body will reap the benefits of that once the weight is gone. There are times when I will do a stability ball workout or lift dumbbells and do squats, but I tend to run and do the card workout regularly.
Because I love this workout so much I figured I would share it with everyone. Here goes.
I’m sure you could mix up your workout accordingly, but to do my workout I need the following:
- (2) 8-12lb dumbbells
- (1) step at a height you feel comfortable jumping onto
- A deck of playing cards, Jokers removed.
- Water and a towel.
And now, how to do the workout.
Each suite represents a different fitness move. Here’s what I do:
- Diamonds – Laps. Run one lap per card. This is the only suite that only one repetition is done no matter how many items are on the card. If I had to do a lap for every diamond on the card it would take me a half a day and I would have run 6.3 miles on the track at the gym!For the following do one repetition for each number of items on the card. Jacks are 11, Queens are 12, Kings are 13 and Aces are 14.
- Hearts – Bicep or Hammer curls. Now I have to admit, on my lazier days I will grab the 8 lb. weights and call it a day, but I find I generally get a better workout from the 10 lb. dumbbells. The 12 lb. dumbbells are pretty heavy for me to try and lift, as I found out during the workout with the trainer. I completed the entire workout with them though, but my arms were really feeling it the next day. I try to stick with the 10’s unless they are not available then I decide how lazy I’m feeling that day and pick the weights that best suit that mood.
- Spades – Box Jumps or Squats. For the squats, I grab enough risers for the step so that when I bend my knees at a 90 degree angle my butt touches the top riser. For box jumps, set up the step to your desired height. I usually use a step with three risers. Any taller than that and I will fall forward and bang my head off of the railing I jump toward or trip on the way up and fall on my rear end. Jump with both legs onto and off of the step.
- Clubs – Crunches. Focus on touching your chin to the ceiling. This makes for a more effective crunch.
So there you have it. This workout takes me about 45 minutes to complete, with both some warm-up and cool-down laps, and I generally bun around 350-375 calories. Not a bad way to do it! Try switching things up too and have some fun.