Take On The Deck Of Cards Workout Challenge

A poker face won't help much in this game of cards.

Kirsten Curtis |

During lockdown, many of us of have had to find ways to keep our home workouts interesting and exciting. Luckily there are a countless number of fitness challenges out there whether it be on TikTok, Instagram or YouTube. Here, we’d like to highlight one particular challenge that doesn’t require any gym equipment – just a standard deck of cards. This challenge caught our attention when Yanga Ngcayisa, whose weight-loss transformation is featured in our April issue, joined another fitness fanatic Seb Prentice to do an IG live workout.


Read all about how Yanga lost 34KG in just 6 months in our May issue. Available as a digital magazine.

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The 52 Deck of Cards workout gained popularity in late 90s by NFL legend Ray Lewis, who used this method for an intense workout. Inspired by the linebacker, Yanga slightly tweaked the workout to fit his own goals.

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“When the lockdown started I had to be a bit creative with my workouts because I didn’t have any equipment,” he says. “I looked up to Ray Lewis when I was younger. I used to do the deck challenge before I got a gym membership. So I started doing it again.

“Each suit represents an exercise and the number (on the card) tells you how many reps to do. You do that until the whole deck is done”

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Soon he would collaborate with high school friend, Seb Prentice, who has been doing regular IG live workouts throughout the nationwide lockdown – three times a week actually. Together they brought this challenge to their online audience

Related: How This Marketing Student Is Finding Creative Ways To Keep Others Fit

“Seb actually reached out to me. We know each other from way back,” he explains. “He was like ‘hey man, I’m doing these live workouts on Instagram and I want you to join me and do that deck challenge of yours’. So we picked two exercises each and went from there.”

Here’s How They Did It: 

  1. Know Your Suits/Exercises: Hearts are hand-release pushups, Diamonds are burpees, Clubs are jump squats and Spades are V-ups.
  2. A ‘number’ card (2-10) are the number of reps you will perform of the chosen exercise.
  3. Jack equals 11, Queen 12, King 13, Ace 14
  4. A Joker is the (un)lucky workout that you’ll have to do 15 reps of. Yanga’s Joker is burpees. Yikes.
  5. Grab a standard deck of (52) cards, give them a good shuffle, and turn over the top – that’s your first set.
  6. Don’t give up!

Join The Live

Both these men have used their social media to interact with their audience through fitness content and live workouts. This doesn’t only keep them in shape while staying at home but also motivates their followers to do the same.

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Seb hosts a live workout on his Instagram every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 16:00. He has found that this consistency has allowed to him to get know his audience a lot better, and has also given him the opportunity to collaborate with others.

“The live workouts have been an effective way to connect with my audience and branch out. What I also like is that it’s uncut and feels super intimate. Even if you watch the replay it still feels intimate because I’m speaking directly to the viewer,” he says.

“There’s also a group element to it because people are constantly chatting on the live during rest periods and throughout the session. It creates a positive and motivating environment for people during lockdown. It can become very monotonous doing the same workouts every day by yourself, so the live workouts can bring back some excitement.”

After the video with Yanga, Seb has found that the deck workout is a great way to switch things up during a workout. Yanga also enjoyed the collaboration, even though it was a challenge.

“It was tough, but it was fun,” he admits. “I didn’t expect there to be so many people watching the live. And the feedback we got was amazing.”

“I think live workouts bring back that accountability [that you usually get from a trainer] or if they didn’t feel like working out that day it can motivate them to join. Even after the live workout, the viewer can always message Seb or myself and ask for more info,” Yanga adds.

READ MORE: Push Your Fat Burn To The Next Level With This At-Home Bodyweight Workout


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