Tough Deck of Cards Workout

deck of cards workout: kettlebell swings

With all the snow and cold weather of the past couple months, I’ve let myself get into a bit of a workout rut—still doing it daily, but with less intensity and enthusiasm. I think everyone falls into “blah” workout phases from time to time, and the best way to get out of them is to change up your routine. My prayers were answered via Groupon the other day and I purchased some discounted spin classes at a cycle studio in Boston to spice things up a bit. No one wants to be stuck in a fitness funk when spring rolls around and it’s time to get bikini-ready and keep the ol’ body mass index low, so I’m excited to add the classes into my normal workout regimen. I’ll keep you posted on how they go!

As for today’s routine, I haven’t done a deck of cards workout in a while, but this one is a toughie and definitely worth posting.

Tough Deck of Cards Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • 25-lb kettlebell
  • Exercise mat

You’ll need a deck of cards and kettle bell for this workout. I used a 25-lb bell, but you should use whatever you normally swing. You’ll go through the cards, flipping them over one by one until you’ve gone through the entire deck. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number on the card indicates the number of reps you’ll do. Face cards = 10 and Aces = 11. So if you drew a 4 of clubs, you’d do 4 side-to-side squat jumps.

tough deck of cards workout

DIAMONDS = Elbow Plank Side Hops

Start in an elbow plank position. Hop both feet over to the left, then back to center, then over to the right, then back to the center.

SPADES = Kettle Bell Swings x2

The x2 means that you’ll do twice the number of reps as what’s shown on the card. If you draw a 7 of spades, you’ll do (7×2) 14 kettle bell swings. To do a kettle bell swing: Stand with feet a little more than shoulder-width apart, holding kettle bell with palms facing towards body. Drive your hips back, lowering your body and bending your knees slightly, swinging the kettle bell back between your legs. Then explosively drive your hips forward while swinging the kettle bell forward and up to just above eye level. Continue the swinging motion.

HEARTS = Windshield Wipers

Lay on back, legs perpendicular to the ground and arms outstretched for support. Lower your legs to the right, twisting your hips but keeping your back on the ground, until legs are just hovering above the ground. Lift back to starting position and over to the left side, and then back to starting position. This is ONE rep.

CLUBS = Side-to-Side Squat Jumps

Squat down and touch the floor by your left foot and then jump up, arms stretched overhead. For the next one, do the same thing, only landing and squatting down to touch the floor by your right foot.

The kettle bell swings ended up being the most brutal for me because I swear I drew EVERY spade card right in a row. It was the never-ending onslaught of kb swings and it was terrible. Terrible in a good way. It took me 33 minutes to get through this workout—see if you can beat my time!

These photos were shot on the beach in Southie. I’m pretty sure if you go in the water, you’ll grow a tail and lose your eyesight, but details shmetails.


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  1. These just look fun. Like this should be a group thing.

  2. I consider my self to be in pretty good(maybe even great) shape. Did this in 24min41s (with only a 15lb weight – my arms are my weak spot) and I’m telling you this kicked the crap out of me.
    Amazing workout! I love your blog so much

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