Tuesday, January 22, 2013

At-Home Workout: 52 Pickup!

Last week on The Biggest Loser, Bob had his team perform their "last chance workout" (the final sweat session before a weigh-in) using a deck of cards. He assigned an exercise to each suit, and the players had to perform as many reps as were shown on the drawn card. Bob assigned face cards a value of 10 and Aces 11.

The minute I saw that part of the show, I knew I wanted to try one of these workouts for myself. I went to Pinterest to see what variations I could find, and then I pieced together my own creation and put it to the test last night. I made Joe join me, and boy was it fun to work out alongside my husband!

Here's my "Team Carnes" variation on the deck of cards workout:

I decided to give the face cards values of 11 (J), 12 (Q), and 13 (K) instead of all of them being 10. This way, you're never doing the same number of reps at a time for any exercise, and each exercise will be done for a total of 90 reps. 

I also thought it would be fun to give the Aces a special 30-second exercise that matched up somewhat with their corresponding suit. This would, theoretically, also provide a little "break" from the other four exercises whenever the Aces randomly appeared.

And then I threw in the Jokers as a one-minute rest!

Overall, this went really well. The whole deck took us about 25 minutes to complete, and we were definitely sweating HARD throughout the whole thing! One thing I didn't really consider when I was selecting the exercises was how difficult it would be to perform squat jumps and burpees one after the other (if the shuffle presented them that way). There was a point at which we drew something like: 9 of clubs, 10 of diamonds, 5 of clubs, 6 of clubs, 9 of diamonds and HOO BOY. It was pretty much impossible. My heart rate was probably spiked up to my 95-100% range. I ended up modifying the squat jumps to just plain squats for several of the higher-card draws.

I really liked the 30-second Ace exercises! It provided a change of pace and an extra little challenge.

Also, the Jokers ended up being drawn pretty early in the deck, so when we drew the first one, we didn't really need a break yet and decided to place it back in the deck a little ways down. I think for future rounds of 52 Pickup, I will probably place them strategically so that one will be drawn after the first 17 cards (about 1/3 through the deck), and the other after another 18 cards (2/3 through the deck).

The cool thing about this deck-of-cards idea is you can substitute any exercises you want for each suit. Joe and I are thinking of making one that is more geared toward our martial arts movements, which would a) keep him more interested in doing these with me, and b) help us improve our form and flexibility during actual martial arts classes. I'll share that one if and when we do it!


Wanna try this workout? Let me know if you do!
I'd love to hear your input and/or any variations you put on it.


  1. Umm this looks AWESOME! Can we do it together sometime??

  2. I've heard about this idea and I love the concept! I love the way you adapted it. I *may* have to steal this sometime!

  3. Great workout and description! There's an app for that! Try RipDeck, a deck of cards iPhone workout app.

    Share with us your fav RipDeck custom workout and we may feature it and your blog on our In-App News, Facebook and Twitter.


    Like us on Facebook and follow @ripdeck on Twitter.


Thanks for your comment! I try to reply to all comments within the post itself so we can keep the conversation going.