If I hear one common complaint from people about their particular workout routine it is that it’s too monotonous.
We are creatures of habit, and making gains in the gym requires a repetitive process, but many people get bored easily.
If this describes you or the way you often feel then my advice is to take a vacation.
No, I’m not suggesting you take a vacation away from the gym, but maybe a break from your normal routine will reinvigorate you and leave you with a new found appreciation for your old routine when you return home to it.
You need some excitement in your gym life. Something random and daring.
Something with the unpredictability of gambling…like a workout version of Las Vegas…but without the clubs, pools, and outrageous bar tabs.
Today, for my loyal Muscle & Strength nation, I’m going to teach you the perfect workout to break up the monotony of your daily workout routine.
Like a trip to Las Vegas, this workout is full of mystery and intrigue, and I don’t recommend using it on a weekly basis. Save it for when you really need a vacation and you are feeling daring. Grab a deck of cards, tap into your inner gambler, and get ready for the Luck of the Draw.
The Luck of the Draw Workout
The rules to this card game are simple. In a deck of cards you have 13 different cards, with 4 different suits of each one. Each card number is assigned a different exercise with a prescribed number of reps or time. After a thorough shuffling, draw your first card and perform the corresponding exercise for the assigned number of reps.
The only rest you earn is to draw another card and the goal is to complete an entire deck of 52 cards in 1 hour. The great thing about this workout is it really depends on “the luck of the draw” to determine what type of workout you have.
You could do the same routine 100 times and never have the same workout. The order of the exercises will always be different and it never fails that when your lats are tired from a set of pull-ups, you just happen to draw another king and have to return to the pull up bar for back to back sets.
I’ve put together two versions for you, one designed to do at the gym and another that requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. The all body weight version is perfect for when you are out of town or don’t have access to a gym for whatever reason, just remember to pack a deck of cards.
And one more thing…you might not want to mention it to your normal workout routine, which is bound to get jealous. Remember, what happens in Vegas…
Setting up the workout
- Grab a deck of cards.
- Grab all necessary equipment to perform the version you've selected outlined below.
- Shuffle the cards.
- Perform each exercise associated with the number of the card drawn.
- Finish the workout within 1 hour.
The Gym Gambler (Card Workout)
2 - Jump Rope - 1 minute
3 - Treadmill or Bike Sprint - 1 minute
4 - Dumbbell Curl & Press - 10 reps
5 - Farmers Walk - 150ft use dumbbells combined = your bodyweight
6 - Plank - 1 minute
7 - Box Jumps - 10 reps
8 - Dumbbell Shoulder Iso-press - 8 reps each side
9 - Close Grip Bench Press - 12 reps
10 - 1 Arm Dumbbll Row - 5 reps each side with a pause at the top
J - Ab Wheel or Med Ball Roll Out - 10 reps
Q - Dumbbell Lunges - 5 each leg
K - Dips - Max Reps
A - Pull Ups - Max Reps
The “No Equipment Required” Heater (Card Workout)
2 - Sprint - 1 minute OR Run Steps - 1 minute
3 - Hamstring Bridge - 5 reps each side w/3 second pause at the top
4 - Plank Walk Ups - 1 minute
5 - Hip Dips - 15 each side
6 - Pistol Squats - 10 each leg
7 - Hand Stand Push ups - Max Reps OR Hand Stand Hold (against wall) 30 seconds
8 - Bodyweight Skullcrushers - 20 reps
9 - Bodyweight Squats - 20 reps w/an extra 1/4 rep at the bottom of each
10 - Stability Alternates - 10 each side
J - Jump Lunges - 12 each leg
Q - Pull Ups Max Reps OR Walk Outs -10 reps
K - Push Ups - Max Reps
A - Burpees - 20 reps
Keys to the workout
1. Plan ahead: The goal is to be fast and efficient, with the minimal down time in between sets as you draw your next card. When doing the Gym Gambler, it’s crucial that you have any of the required dumbbells and equipment in the same general area. You don’t want to waste time scrambling for weights at the dumbbell rack or trying to locate a plyo box when you pull that 7 of clubs.
Before you start, grab several sets of dumbbells, keeping in mind that you may need slightly lighter weight as the workout goes on. Those 60lbers that you used for curl & press may be too heavy by the time you draw your forth 4 - particularly when it follows another set of max reps pullups from an ace.
You may have to make substitutions - if the only dip bars are located in a different room you may want to swap that exercise out for bench dips to save time.
2. Don’t Rush: Your goal is to finish the entire workout in under an hour, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a race. Concentrate on your form and make every rep count, just don’t go through the motions.
This is particularly important when doing the “No Equipment Required” workout. A set of 12 jump lunges can be kind of tough if you jump just high enough to switch legs, or it can be one of the hardest sets ever if you explode into each rep with maximal effort.
When doing bodyweight movements think to yourself, “if I had to demonstrate a single rep for a workout partner, what would it look like?”. If you keep that question in the back of your mind, each set will put you to the test.
3. Double down: Both of these routines can be done solo, but it really ups the ante to complete one with a partner. There are several different workout buddy strategies you can use.
Both of you can complete the same card at the same time or pull separate cards and get a completely different workout from each other. If you want to go that route, once you reach the half way point switch the half decks so that you still end up doing the 26 cards that your partner did on the front end of the workout.
The “No Equipment” workout can even be utilized with a group or class setting, simply have one person draw the card and lead the entire group through each exercise.
4. Get Creative: Perhaps the best thing about this card game is its versatility. You can use the Luck of the Draw as a template for any type of workout. Want to have a leg day for the ages? Pick 13 of your favorite lower body exercises and list them with a corresponding card 2 through ace.
Trying to get a shredded 6-pack? Write down a combination of your favorite cardio stations and some of my killer core exercises and get after it. There’s really no limit to different ways to utilize this workout.
5. Be Sporadic: Just like a trip to a casino, this workout is best when experienced sparingly. I like to use it once a month just to shake things up and give my clients a break from their normal routine. Part of what makes it so enjoyable is it will feel like a departure from the norm and a shock to the system.
So give it a try, but then keep it on the back burner until you need it…sort of like a fitness ace in the hole.