FitCamp’s “Suicide Poker” Workout
FitCamp’s “Suicide Poker” Workout avatar

Cardio & Strength Training In One Fun, Yet Challenging Workout

Some days I wake up not knowing what workout I’m going to pull out of my bag a tricks for FitCamp that day.  Once I chug down my first cup of coffee and the caffeine kicks in, then the brain engages and I come up with the workout on the way to my 6:15 a.m. class.  I knew that today was a cardio day, but I didn’t want to repeat a previous workout.  So, I came up with the “Suicide Poker” workout.

Everyone who ever played any sports knows that “suicides” are the line-to-line runs where you increase the distance each time down the floor.  The “poker” comes in because we use a standard deck of playing cards to determine the number of reps that a person must do.

The twist on this workout is our use of our “exercise” tennis balls.  I have eight tennis balls, each with an exercise written on them.  The eight exercises:  (1) Jumping Jacks, (2) Sit-Ups, (3) Push-Ups, (4) Squats, (5) Lunges, (6) Side Lunges, (7) Mountain Climbers, (8) 30 second Elbow Plank

If you are looking for a a great boot camp workout to try on your own or with friends, here’s our 60-minute FitCamp workout…

Items:  deck of cards, 6 cones or markers, tennis balls with exercises written on them (or slips of papers).

Pre-Workout: Do a 5 minute warm-up run followed by about 5-7 minutes of calisthenics.

The Workout

Position six cones or markers vertically about 12 feet apart, placing each one further away from you.  Or, you can use lines on a court.

Have everyone line up horizontally about 8-10 feet before the first marker so that they each have their own running lane the length of the floor.  Have each person blindly draw one tennis ball (or card) from a bag and then blindly draw a playing card.  This is the exercise and quantity they must do at each point during the suicide run.  For example, if I select the tennis ball with “Push-Ups” on it and then select an “8”, then I must run to the first marker and do 8 push-ups, run back to the start line, run to the second marker and do 8 more push-ups, run back to the start line, and repeat until I’ve completed my exercise at all 6 markers.

For the card values, face cards are worth 10, aces are worth 11, and we make a “2” the wild card.  If they choose a “2”, we have them draw a second card and then multiply that value times three.  So, if they draw sit-ups and a 2 followed by a 6, they’d have to do 18 sit-ups at each marker. 18 x 6 markers would be 108 sit-ups for that particular suicide run.  Make sense?

The one exception to the quantity is if the person draws “Planks”, I have them do a 30-second plank at each marker.  So, they didn’t have to draw a playing card.  Also, when doing lunges, side lunges, squats, or mountain climbers, every left-right combination counts as one rep.

When the person has completed the first suicide run with their exercise, they draw another exercise and playing card.  This time, they might draw a face card and have to perform 10 squats at each marker.   If they draw an exercise they already completed, have them draw again until they have completed all 8 exercises.  The nice thing about this workout is that everyone has a different exercise and number to complete, so they are working on their own and not competing with anyone else.

This exercise goes for 30-minutes.  Some people may finish in that amount of time depending on the number or reps they select and how fast they sprint to and from each marker.  If someone finishes early, have them just run the suicide drill until the 30-minutes expires.

One fun variation of this that I thought of while I was doing this workout is to have everyone keep the cards that they draw.  At the end of the exercise, you see who actually has the best poker hand and award that person a prize.  This would encourage everyone to complete their reps faster, so that they could draw more cards in 30 minutes.

Post Workout:  After the Suicide Poker drill, wait about 3 minutes and then do a 5-minute cool down run followed by 5-7 minutes of stretching.

In all, this workout will take 50 – 60 minutes.

I’ll try to post other FitCamp workouts that we do so that you can see some of the variety and creativity we bring to the table.

To Your Health!

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