Have Fun While You Sweat With These Card-Game Inspired Home Workouts

Shot of a fit young woman doing yoga at home

With every January comes the New Year’s gym rush – that means accepting the reality of crowded machines and inevitably lingering around your favorite treadmill before it’s available.

On the days when you’re tight on time, though, you could push your coffee table aside and opt for an at-home cardio workout instead.

If you’re leaning toward option number two, that’s where Nikki Kimbrough, a NASM-certified personal trainer, comes to the rescue. Her fun and challenging under 30 minute cardio sequences will make your workout feel like a game night.

All you need is a deck of cards (yes, really!) and you’re ready to sweat.


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Crazy Eights

Repeat the following high-intensity circuit as many times as you can in four minutes. Rest for one minute before repeating four times altogether.

Beginners, attempt to complete the sequence twice in four minutes. Intermediate-level athletes, try to finish three to four circuits in four minutes. You’ve reached an advanced level if you can push five or more rounds in four minutes.

Eight jumping jacks – a great cardio move that works the entire body.
Eight squats – this move targets glutes, hamstrings, and quads.
Eight burpees – another challenging cardio move that gets the entire body active.
Eight push-ups – this works the chest, biceps, triceps, back, and core muscles.
The Card Game

Each card suit is assigned to an exercise, allowing you to transition quickly between the moves. When you draw a suit, you perform the designated task for the number of reps indicated on the card. This is a continued workout until the deck is finished.

If you’re a beginner, it’s optional to begin with half the deck. Once your fitness level increases, add the other half of the deck.

The Suit Cards

Diamonds: squats
Hearts: push-ups
Spades: lunges – works the glutes, hamstrings, and quads
Clubs: sit-ups – targets the core muscles

The Face Cards

Jack: double the next exercise.
Queen: repeat the last exercise.
King: take a one-minute break.
Ace: one-min cardio – pick between mountain climbers, high knees, quick feet, burpees, and jumping jacks.
Joker: save this card for when you’re fatigued – it gives you a pass on any move.

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