Where Dedicated Wrestlers Become Champions


Deck of Cards

With Hurricane Irene in Jersey, I decided to share one of my favorite indoor workouts, the deck of cards. Sometimes you can’t get to a gym, a mat, and you don’t have a lot of space. This workout can be done pretty much in a closet and you don’t need anything but a deck of cards. A hurricane isn’t the only reason why you might have to workout in your home, apartment, or condo…snow storms forced me many times to workout in my apartment. Don’t let inclement weather or anything else stop you from getting to your goals, and to reach your goals you have to be prepared for anything. I could have said, “Oh well, it’s a state of an emergency. I guess I don’t have to workout today.” But I didn’t and that kind of thing separates you from your competition.

Deck of Cards Original

I have to thank Mike Sparacino, who introduced me to this workout during our time at Hofstra, sometime in 2004. He is the same friend that I mentioned in Wrestling with Your Destiny, who introduced me to the rotating grip ball to help with my grip strength. What the workout entails is taking a deck of everyday playing cards and flipping them over and doing the number of push-ups on the card. So if you get a five you do five push-ups, if it’s a ten you do ten push-ups and so on. Jacks are 11, Queens-12, Kings-13, and Aces-14. This computes to 420 push-ups. Pretty simple. If you want to make it more challenging, throw the two jokers in and make them 15, or even 25 each.

I modified this original deck of cards workout. I don’t like to waste time and doing two push-ups four times in every deck made me feel like I was wasting time. What I ended up doing was any time I got a 2-9 card I flipped over the next card and added them together and then performed that number of push-ups. It moves the workout along and is harder to do. If it is your first time attempting this deck of cards workout, I recommend not doing that. You will be sore enough the next day.

Deck of Cards 2

Now as all wrestlers know, we need a lot more developed muscles than just our chest and triceps to be successful. So I added abs. Whatever card I got, I did my push-ups first and then I doubled the number and then did crunches. For example, if I got a queen, I would do 12 push-ups then 24 crunches, or other ab exercise, which I varied throughout.

Deck of Cards Ultimate

After a few times of doing the deck of cards 2, I decided to add pull-ups. Now for this addition you do need a pull-up bar. I used a simple one you can pick up for twenty bucks and hang in your doorway. After I did my push-ups and doubled my abs, I halved the original card number and performed that many pull-ups. For example, if an ace came up I did 14 push-ups, 28 abs, and 7 pull-ups before I flipped the next card. If the card you flipped over is odd like a 7, round-up and do 4 pull-ups.

Another workout you can do inside with  little space is  jumping rope. I have spent many hours indoors with my jump rope to improve my foot speed and coordination.

The next post will be my other go-to workout out when I was stuck inside.

You always have options.

A word of warning: Build up to the ultimate deck of cards workout.


  1. Peter Peter
    February 17, 2012    

    How lOng do you rest betwee each playing card? So after drawing a 10 and doing them, how long before the next card?

    • February 17, 2012    

      As little rest as possible, especially if you’re adding in crunches and pull ups. Work up to that though.

  2. Peter Peter
    February 18, 2012    

    Ok so maybe 15 secs first time? And then try and bring it down.

    • February 21, 2012    

      Yeah try that. Let me know how it goes. Good luck.

  3. Marc Marc
    May 13, 2013    

    The way I was taught at my school was that all picture cards are 10, aces are 15, and jokers are worth double the previous card

    • May 13, 2013    

      Hey Marc,
      That works as well. I like my way of doing it but the way you were taught is certainly not wrong, as long as you do it!

  4. ray ray
    August 26, 2013    

    This looks awesome! I’ve got an old pack laying around at the house, this will def. come in handy to get me up and moving while I’m off work–I bet you can fit several mini workouts in during commercials.

  5. Laura Laura
    October 2, 2013    

    I’ve seen this work out done where each suit is a different exercise, so for example: hearts are push ups, diamonds are jumping jacks, spades are flutter kicks and clubs are sit ups. If you have a hard time doing one exercise 420 times or so, this may help you build up as well.
    Also, for my younger or less in shape kids we would do half the number on the card and round up for the odd numbers. It definitely helped some kids that could only do 5 or 6 push ups before they got too tired. As you get stronger go to the whole card value. Hope this helps!

  6. Keon Keon
    December 8, 2014    

    I’m 14 how many weeks should I keep this up to get a little more muscle gain?

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  8. October 27, 2016    

    Super jazzed about getting that kno-ohww.

  9. November 13, 2016    

    In times like these I fall back on a wonderful piece of penmanship by Maya:"You may write me down in history with your bitter twisted lies. You may tread me in the very dirt, but still, like dust, I'll rise."

  10. December 24, 2016    

    ..men Anne.mora mi…æ syns da du klart et utroolig bra æ..med aill utfordringan..vorri i England du altsÃ¥….ja Island va fantastisk…og det kjæm drypp he rpog der fra mæ…men du vet det e itj alltid de tyypsike turistbildan da…trappa i den blÃ¥ lagune…rust under brua midt i vatnet..JA du vet…sÃ¥nn e det no….ka æ drømme om??…ååå..det e såå my det..men Italia va fantastisk….der vil æ tebake…vakre døra..detalja av hav og himmel….hmmm.menneska e æ itj sÃ¥ flink te Ã¥ ta bilda tÃ¥…ha ei super helg frue…klem

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