Medicine Ball Deck of Cards Workout

med ball sit and toss exerciseBlahh. I am so sick that I feel tired just looking at this workout post. The cold I had last week has morphed into a sinus infection, and the pressure is so intense that it’s making my teeth ache to the point where I can barely eat. I somehow dragged myself to a Pilates class on Sunday, but other than that haven’t had the energy to workout much at all.

I was really hoping I could just cure myself because I HATE going to the doctor and HATE medicine, but I’m throwing in the towel and getting some antibiotics later today. So while I breathe heavily through my mouth and blow 40 pounds of snot out of my head every five minutes (so sexual), let’s rewind to a happier, healthier time when I made this med ball workout…

Here are the general rules of a deck-of-cards workout:

  • Each suit corresponds to a different exercise.
  • Each number tells you how many reps of that exercise you’ll do.
  • Face cards = 10
  • Aces = 11
  • Flip over the cards one at a time until you’ve gone through the entire deck.

med ball push ups

Medicine Ball Deck of Cards Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • 6-lb medicine ball

For this med ball deck of cards workout:

  • Spades = Sit Up & Toss
  • Hearts = Jumping Jack Squats x 2 (multiply the number on the card by 2)
  • Clubs = Alternating Uneven Push Ups
  • Diamonds = Basketball Drill Jump Shots

I’m using a 6-lb med ball for this workout, but adjust the weight according to your strength level.

medicine ball deck of cards workoutSPADES: Sit Up & Toss

Lay on back with arms stretched overhead, holding on to your medicine ball. Lift the medicine ball forward as you sit up, keeping arms straight, and lift it straight above your head as your body comes into upright sitting position. Bring ball into chest and toss up into the air. Catch and slowly lower to the ground, bringing ball back overhead behind you.

HEARTS: Jumping Jack Squats x2

These are essentially jumping jacks in a squatting position. Start with legs a little more than shoulder-width apart in a squat position, holding medicine ball mid-torso. Jump legs together (remaining in a squat position) and reach medicine ball down and to the left of your feet. Jump back into starting position, then alternate, jumping legs together and reaching medicine ball down and to the right of your feet. The “x2” means that if you draw a 4 of hearts, you’ll do (4×2)= 8 jack squats.

CLUBS: Alternating Uneven Push Ups

I do these from my knees, but if you’re a badass feel free to do the full-body version (show off!). Do a push up with your right hand on a med ball, then roll the ball to the left and do a push up with your left hand on the med ball.

DIAMONDS: Basketball Drill Jump Shots

Squat down, bounce the ball off the ground, jump up (like you’re taking a jump shot, but not really) with arms overhead and land back in a squatting position.

By the way, there’s this cool iPhone app called RipDeck that will actually act as a deck of cards in these workouts. You plug in what each suit corresponds to and it will do the rest!


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.


Oblique-Burner Deck of Cards Workout

The title pretty much says it all. My obliques were burning the day after I did this deck of cards workout.

Oblique Burner Deck of Cards Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • 15-lb kettlebell
  • Exercise mat

In case you missed the first deck of cards workout I posted, I’ll quickly explain the premise. You’ll go through this workout by flipping over a card, one at a time, and doing the exercise corresponding to that suit. The number on the card indicates how many reps you’ll do. Face cards = 10 and Aces = 11 reps. Go through the entire deck.

Here’s how the suites break down for this particular workout:

  • Spades = Kettlebell Windmill: Start in a standing position, legs wide, kettle bell pressed above head in left hand. Your left foot should be pointing forward, your right foot pointing out at an angle. Slowly bend down, keeping legs and arm holding kettle bell straight. Touch the ground by your right foot with your right hand, keeping the kettlebell perpendicular to the ground the whole time. Slowly raise up to starting position. You’ll perform this on both sides. So if you draw an ace of spades, you’ll do 11 reps on the right and then 11 on the left. I used a 15-lb kettlebell for these and by the end of the workout was cursing the day I came up with this method of torture. I was seriously one damn spade face card away from flipping the hell out.
  • Diamonds = Hindu Squats x2: Multiply the number on the card by 2 for your rep count. A Hindu Squat can best be described as a fluid, deep squat in which you roll onto the balls of your feet as you come up. This is one squat variation where it’s okay for your knees to stick out farther than your toes, and they will when you’re at the deepest point of the squat. Keep feet shoulder-width apart and move your arms in a circular motion so that your fingertips brush the ground when you’re at your lowest.
  • Clubs = Bicycle Crunch x4: Multiply the number on the card by 4 for your rep count. Lay on back, hands behind head. When you crunch up towards your bent left knee, your right leg should be extended out and not touching the ground. Switch sides, crunching over towards the right with your left leg extended. Continue in a fluid, cycling motion.
  • Hearts = Skiers x4: Hop laterally left and right as if you’re skiing through moguls. Multiply the number on the card by 4 for your rep count.

This workout took me close to 40 minutes to complete (the windmills are BY FAR the toughest part), and I was really feeling it the next morning. Be sure to stretch out your hamstrings afterwards—mine were super tight the next day.

Hope everyone has a great weekend! I’m off to Nantucket. Do you have any fun plans? (Besides doing this workout, of course.)