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The Deck Of Cards

The Deck Of Cards

No discussion of novel exercise methods is complete without an explanation of the deck of cards.

Deck of cards? What’s that? People who are old hands at the exercise game will no doubt have already heard of this method.

It appears simple and it is (on the surface) , yet it’s exceedingly difficult in practise, an exquisite combination that all great ideas share.

A deck of cards has four suits, right? So for each of the four suits we pick an exercise. It’s best to choose 2 upper body exercises and two lower body exercises. These exercises can be anything, either weights or freehand exercises like pushups.

To begin, you turn over the first card and do the exercise you have allocated for that particular suit. For example if you draw a heart and you have allocated pushups to that card you do pushups. The amount of reps you do is dependent on the value of the card. If you have drawn the 5 of hearts you do 5 pushups. When it comes to the lower body exercise, if you are doing a freehand exercise like bodyweight squats you do double the value of the card. So, for example the 5 of spades would have you doing 10 reps of squats.

Face cards have the following values. Jack 11, queen 12. king 13. And of course the ace. You don’t get away with just doing one rep. It has a value of 14. The Jokers? Your choice as to whether you leave them in or out and what value they have.

When described it sounds simple. And easy. However, in practice you will find yourself wishing you had shuffled the deck better as you get four face cards in a row and you have to do 50 pushups more or less non stop.

It’s a great routine to use when you are travelling. In a hotel room and got nothing but a deck of cards? No problem. Just choose 4 freehand exercises and go for it.

So that’s the method. It appears simple. However you will find that even though it is simple it is fiendishly difficult. Give it a try. Can you get through the entire deck without stopping?

About The Author


A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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