Deck of Cards Workout!!

The Korean Naval Officers and I are all smiles (and maybe some grimaces) after completing this workout

It doesn’t matter if you are in the Republic of Korea Navy or in the United States Navy….we all love to get our PT on! I really enjoy working out, and I especially enjoy organizing workouts. I think it builds morale and brings people together!

During the summer of 2018, I had the privilege of embarking aboard the Republic of Korea Destroyer ROKS YULGOK-YI-I (DDG-992) for a whole month in order to conduct cross training during the multinational exercise, RIMPAC 2018. I had an amazing experience, and I plan to write a whole other blog entry about my experiences working with the highly motivated and proficient South Korean Navy. One of my favorite memories from my time aboard was when I introduced the South Korean officers to the infamous “Deck of Cards workout.” This is a really tough workout that requires minimal equipment and very little space which makes it ideal for doing on a ship! I regularly did this workout with my Command, and I thought I would share it with the South Koreans – they crushed it! In fact, they loved this workout so much that we ended up doing it every day, in their helicopter hanger bay, for multiple days in a row – I was exhausted afterwards!

Also, I have to add that one of my favorite memories of time spent with my husband and brother comes from a couple of years ago when Garrett and I went to visit my brother at his medical school in Dallas. We decided to do the Deck of Cards workout together, and we ended up doing it in an exercise room in the gym on my brother’s campus. There were mirrors all around the room and in between exercises, the three of us jumped and danced around to the music we were playing and laughed our heads off!! Such a special memory.

So…if you are up for a fun challenge, here are the details of the workout:

What do you need?

A deck of cards (as the workout name suggests), a yoga matt (so you don’t scuff your knees/hands on ship non-skid, if applicable of course), a water bottle, and lots of motivation!

The workout

Each card represents a different exercise. The number of the card indicates the reps with Jack being 11 reps, Queen being 12 reps, King being 13 reps, and Ace being 14 reps.

Each suit represents a different exercise and you can change this up! Below is what I usually use:

-Hearts – Burpees
-Diamonds – Push ups
-Clubs – 4-count mountain climbers or sit ups
-Spades – jump squats
-Joker –  1 minute of planks

Shuffle the deck of cards and then turn over the first card and complete the exercise. For example, if you pull the Queen of Hearts, you have to do 12 burpees. Then you turn over the next card, complete that exercise, and continue until you have completed the entire deck. When you do this workout for the first time, I recommend that you either do just half of the deck or you split the deck into thirds and take a two minute break in between each third. By the end of the deck, you will have completed 100 burpees, 100 pushups, 400 mountain climbers (or 100 sit ups), and 100 jump squats! Pretty hard core!

I plan to share some other workout ideas for small spaces on this blog. Though you will be super busy on deployment, staying active and even getting your coworkers out to join you for a workout will make a huge difference for not only your physical and mental health but for your Command’s morale!

In the USS CARL VINSON (CVN-70) hanger bay during our 2018 deployment after finishing up the Deck of Cards workout

Post by Brynn Gray

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