Deck of Cards Workout (Bodyweight Exercises)

Deck of Cards Workout: Bodyweight Exercises - each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you make your way through the entire deck.

I’m going to start each week in April by sharing a deck of cards workout on the blog. This first one is all bodyweight exercises, but I’ll be incorporating equipment into the others (sliders, dumbbells, kettlebells). If you haven’t heard of this structure, it’s a really fun way to switch things up!

I’m not going to put a YouTube version of these workouts on my channel because unless you went through the whole thing at the exact same pace as me, it’d be a pain–you’d have to pause or fast forward the video after each card was turned over. Doesn’t make sense! I will have a video preview though so that you can see the exercises in action. These will be posted to my Facebook page, Instagram and embedded here. And for all my YouTube subscribers–don’t worry! I’m going to still post other workouts in video format throughout the month in addition to these.

Deck of Cards Workout (Bodyweight Exercises)


All you’ll need for this workout is a deck of cards. There are also smartphone apps for deck of cards workouts you can download if you want to take this to the gym. Shuffle the deck and you’ll flip one card over at a time until you’ve gone through the entire deck. Each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number of the cards tells you how many reps to do.

Face cards = 10 reps
Aces = 11 reps
Joker = 15 reps, exercise of your choice

As with all workouts, make sure to warm up beforehand. This 5-minute warm up is a great one if you need some guidance!

Deck of Cards Workout: Bodyweight Exercises - each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you make your way through the entire deck.

Deck of Cards Bodyweight Exercises

CLUBS – Surfer Get Ups | Start laying on your stomach with hands by your side. Squeeze your back and glutes to lift your chest and hands off the ground. Lower your hands back to the ground by your rib cage. From here, you’re going to explosively press up and jump into a low squat with one foot in front and the other staggered behind (think of a surfer jumping up on the board to catch a wave). From here, bring your hands back to the ground as you jump your feet back into plank lower your body to the ground with control. Repeat from the top, this time landing in low squat with your other foot in front.

DIAMONDS – Bicycle Sit Ups | Start laying on your back with your hands lightly behind your head, elbows bent out to the sides and chest open. Engage your abs, pulling your bellybutton down to the floor as you lift your legs off the ground about six inches to a hover. This is your starting position. From here, bend your right knee in towards your chest as you crunch your left elbow across to meet it, lifting your back off the floor like a twisting sit-up. Your left leg should remain outstretched in a hover as you do this. Slowly return back to the starting position and continue, crunching in the same direction the entire time. The goal is to keep the legs off the ground the whole time, but if you need to modify, your left heel can quickly rest on the floor in between reps. Complete the full number of reps on the right and then the left.

SPADES – Jump Tucks | Jump up into the air, using your core to pull your knees up towards your chest. Lower them quickly in time to land. You’ll want to bend your knees, sinking into a squat to prep for the jump, and you’ll land this same way, sinking into a squat to absorb the landing. As you jump up bring your hands in front of your rib cage and try to hit them with your knees.

Low(er) Impact Modification: Jump Squats. If you have a history of knee pain or are otherwise at risk of injury with high-impact movements, do jump squats instead of jump tucks. The landing is gentler.

HEARTS – Hovering Fire Hydrants | Start on your hands and knees in a tabletop position, hands stacked under shoulders, knees stacked under hips. Plant the balls of your feet on the floor and lift your knees to hover a couple inches off the floor. Keeping your right leg in that 90-degree angle, lift that knee out and up in a wing motion (like a dog lifting to take a pee), opening up at the hip. Bring it back in close to the starting position. As you do these, pay attention to your core: You want a straight spine, protecting the low back by pulling your abs in tight the whole time. You also want your hips to stay right around shoulder height, so keep your supporting leg at a hover; resist the urge to straighten your stationary knee. Complete the full number of reps on the right and then the left.

Deck of Cards Workout: Bodyweight Exercises - each suit corresponds to a different exercise and the number tells you how many reps to do. Flip over one card at a time until you make your way through the entire deck.

WEARING | leggings c/o Terez // tank c/o Aurum

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a deck of cards workout, but I’ve got a bunch from the archives on this page you can check out. 

Quick, Intense Bodyweight Cardio Workout (10-Minutes)

This 10-minute bodyweight cardio workout is quick but INTENSE.This bodyweight cardio workout is proof that longer doesn’t always mean harder. In just 10 minutes, I was completely breathless and my legs were on fire–I’ve been doing that hot feet exercise since my elementary school basketball days and it still kills me!

This quick, intense cardio workout is high intensity and some of the moves are definitely high impact as well (lots of jumping). If you’re working with knee issues or just looking to dial down the intensity a bit, I’ll talk about modifications for all the exercises in the video.

10-Minute Bodyweight Cardio Workout

The first 9 minutes of this workout have an interval structure: 40 seconds of work / 20 seconds of rest x9. During the 40 seconds of work, you have a primary exercise and then a secondary exercise you’ll do every 10 seconds. Here’s the breakdown:

40 sec Hot Feet, every 10 seconds do a Jump Tuck
20 sec Rest
40 sec High Knees, every 10 seconds Hit the Floor
20 sec Rest
40 sec Mountain Climbers, every 10 seconds do a Low Squat Snap
20 sec Rest
x3

You’ll then do a 60-second finisher: 20 seconds Hot Feet, 20 seconds High Knees, 20 seconds Mountain Climbers.

This 10-minute bodyweight cardio workout is quick but INTENSE.

Bodyweight Cardio Exercises in This Workout

Hot Feet | You probably know these best as a basketball or football drill. You essentially run in place as fast as you can while in a wide-leg squat position. With your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart, squat down. Staying low, you’ll quickly run your feet up and down, staying on the balls of your feet and barely picking them off the floor (an inch or two) so that you can maintain the speed.

  • (every 10 sec) Jump Tuck | Jump up into the air, using your core to pull your knees up towards your chest. As you jump up bring your hands in front of your rib cage and try to hit them with your knees.

High Knees | Maintaining good posture (don’t hunch forward!), run in place, using your core to drive your knees up high as you do. Sometimes I like to hold my hands at about belly button height as a guide and drive my knees up to hit them. Keep these quick! If you have knee issues or need to modify, march in place instead of run (but still get those knees up high!).

  • (every 10 sec) Chest to Floor | Think burpee. Hands are going to come to the floor as you bend your knees and jump back into a plank, bending your elbows and lowering your chest to the floor with control. Once you hit the floor, straighten your arms, pressing your body back up through plank and then onto your feet.

Mountain Climbers | These are like doing high knees in a plank position. Start in a plank, hands stacked underneath shoulders, core squeezing in tight (don’t let your low back sag or your butt stick up in the air). From this position, drive one knee at a time up towards your chest, like running horizontally. The pace on these should be quick.

  • (every 10 sec) Low Squat Snap | From your plank position, jump your feet up and outside of your hands as you release your hands from the floor, landing in a low squat position. Stay low and just quickly bring hands back to floor and snap back into a plank.

This 10-minute bodyweight cardio workout is quick but INTENSE.

WEARING | Lululemon tank (found it on thredUP for cheap–this referral link will get your $10 off your first order) // Crane & Lion x Recycle Studio leggings

This workout could absolutely be used on its own if you’re looking to fit in a whole lot of sweat into a short amount of time on busy days. It also makes for a great quick cardio finisher to weight lifting sessions or other strength-focused workouts. Here are some pairing ideas:

Beginner Tabata Workout – Full Body, No Equipment Needed

This tabata workout is perfect for beginners. No equipment needed, although a chair is helpful if you're a true beginner or working with mobility issues.

I have a few beginner workouts on the blog (you can find all beginner resources here), but haven’t yet made one in video form. This post is long overdue! And let me know in the comments if you want more beginner workouts. The hard ones tend to get a lot of positive feedback so I sorta get stuck on this track of trying to make each workout more challenging than the next, but I want this site to be a fitness resource for everyone. What sense does it make to cater fitness to only those who are already relatively fit?!

This week’s workout uses pretty much the same structure as last week’s, but is toned down a notch.

Beginner Tabata Workout

No equipment is needed for this workout (just have an exercise mat or some padding for the knees handy). If, however, you’re a true beginner or are working with mobility issues that will make it difficult to get down and up again from the floor, I’d recommend using a chair or bench throughout the workout. I’ll show you how to modify the exercises throughout the video.

This workout is made up of three tabatas. A tabata is 8 rounds of 20 seconds work and 10 seconds rest. I’ll give you two exercises for each tabata and you’ll alternate between the two during the 4 minutes. Rest 30 seconds after each completed tabata before moving onto the next.

This tabata workout is perfect for beginners. No equipment needed, although a chair is helpful if you're a true beginner or working with mobility issues.

Tabata 1

  • Squat with Pulse | Feet about hips-width apart, squat down, sending your hips and butt back and down (not the knees forward!). Keep your chest open, shoulders back—it’s natural to lean forward slightly as you lower down, but we don’t want to hunch forward. Bring your hands in front of you as you sink down to your lowest point, bodyweight staying in your heels. Pulse up an inch and down an inch. From there, powerfully stand back up, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward (squeeze your bum at the top!) and driving your arms behind you. Make sure you’re actively engaging the outer thighs to prevent the knees from caving inward (knock-knees) as you lower down into your squat. To modify, forget about the pulse and practice your squats using a chair (sit down on the seat and then stand back up).
  • Back Lunge with Pulse | Start standing with feet hip width apart. Step your left foot back behind you as you bend the right knee, sinking into a lunge. Get as low as you can, trying to bring the right knee as close to a 90-degree bend as mobility allows. From this low lunge position, pulse up an inch and down an inch. Stand as you bring the left foot forward in line with the right to your starting position. For balance assistance, you can place a hand on a chair. Alternate legs each round of work.

Tabata 2

  • Modified Push Ups | You can do these either on the floor from your knees or on your feet with your hands on a chair/bench/elevated surface (even a wall works!). Think “plank” with your core alignment as you bend and straighten your elbows. You want to maintain neutral spine and lower your torso as one unit, rather than just dipping your chest and sticking your butt up into the air.
  • Forearm Plank | Most of us are familiar with a plank, so just a couple form queues: think of stacking your joints, elbows directly below shoulders. Think of gently knitting the ribs together and pulling the low belly up and in. Squeeze the glutes and quads—notice how engaging these muscles helps straighten out your body even more. Fire up the entire abdomen by pulling the forearms and balls of feet in towards each other (you won’t actually move, you’ll just contract the muscles). If this is too much, modify by dropping to your knees or by brining your hands to a chair/bench/elevated surface.

Tabata 3

  • Twisting High Knees | Start standing with arms overhead. From here, march your right knee up towards your chest as you twist your torso to the right and bring your elbows to the outside of the knee. Return to starting position and repeat to the left. Make these as quick as you can. For assistance with balance, keep a hand on a chair as you do this. Just make sure to switch hands each 20-second round.
  • Modified Burpees | From a standing position, squat down and bring your hands to the floor (or a chair to modify). Step one foot back at a time to a plank position. Step one foot at a time back up to the outsides of your hands and stand back upright to standing position.

This tabata workout is perfect for beginners. No equipment needed, although a chair is helpful if you're a true beginner or working with mobility issues.

WEARING | tank c/o New Balance // Booty By Brabants leggings // adidas sneakers