Cardio Deck of Cards Workout for the Gym

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout (perfect for the gym!)Hello from Logan Airport! I’m here bright and early about to head to San Francisco for a fun blogging trip with Stitch Fix & LUNA Bars. I’ll obviously post ALL about it when I get back, but for now you can follow my trip on Instagram and Twitter. If you read a bunch of health & fitness blogs, you’ll probably recognize a lot of the other bloggers going with me–I was actually a little shocked (but so excited) to see I made the list! If they’re the MLB of fit blogging, I’m still playing tee ball over here haha. Anyway, on to today’s post…

I don’t have a gym membership, but every once in a while I’ll mooch a guest pass to Equinox or Sports Club LA from one of my friends and get in a workout using cardio equipment. This deck of cards workout is perfect for the treadmill, but can also be done using an elliptical, stairmaster, jump rope—or just by running outside. Get creative with the cardio portion!

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout

Equipment I Used:

  • Treadmill
  • Two 10-lb dumbbells
  • Deck of Cards (or a deck-of-cards app like RipDeck)

For the deck-of-cards workout structure, you flip over one card at a time. Each suite corresponds to a different exercise, and the number on the card indicates the number of reps you’ll do. For example, a three of diamonds = 3 jack-jump planks in this workout. Go through the entire deck. There are smartphone apps out there (I use RipDeck) you can use so that you don’t have to be that weirdo walking into the gym holding a deck of cards. ;)

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout (perfect for the gym!)


Holding a dumbbell in each hand in a plank position, do a push up. Row your right hand up, elbow thrusting up, and then do the left. That’s one rep. If it hurts your wrists to hold the weights while in plank, place them besides you and just grab them after you do the push up for the rows.


Start in a plank position. Jump both feet up towards your hands. Jump them back into plank position. Jump feet apart (like a horizontal jumping jack) and then jump them back together into your starting plank position. That’s one rep.


To do a V-Up, you start on your back with arms stretched out overhead and legs hovering just slightly above the ground. You’ll then crunch up, bringing your hands towards your toes (keeping legs and arms straight). When done correctly, your body will make a “v” shape as you crunch; this means you’re not just reaching your arms up, your chest needs to move towards your knees. Lower back down to starting position. If possible, your feet should never touch the ground.


  • Face card or Ace = Sprint (9-12 mph)
  • 6-10 = Run (7-10 mph)
  • 2-5 = Jog (5-7 mph)

Cardio Deck of Cards Workout (perfect for the gym!)

WEARING | tank: Athleta // bra & leggings: c/o Reebok // sneakers: Nike


Like what I’m wearing in today’s post? SHOP A SIMILAR LOOK:

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.