The Karma Circuit – Do you feel lucky?

I thought I’d write about a circuit I sometimes use that I call the Karma Circuit. The reason for the name is the circuit specifics are chosen by picking playing cards out of a pack. If you’ve been good, Karma will be on your side. If you’ve been bad, you’ll be punished – if you believe in Karma that is!

Anyway, here’s how it works:

First of all, choose 4 exercises. For the sake of circuit balance I would recommend using these 4 categories: Upper body push, upper body pull, lower body and full body.

  • Upper body push could be PRESS UPS
  • Upper body pull could be CHIN UPS
  • Lower body could be JUMPING SQUATS
  • Full body could be BURPEES

The exercises you choose should be based on your goals. If you want a circuit to annihilate your arms for instance, you may only choose arm exercises. The categories above will work your full body and leave you with a ‘nice’ general feeling of tiredness and would be great for fat burning. You’ll also notice that I have chosen 4 body weight exercises. This is purely so my example could be used as a home workout. If you want to do it in the gym with weights, that is fine, just pick a resistance that would allow you to potentially do 20reps!

After you have chosen your exercises, assign each of them a suit from a pack of cards:

  • Upper body push could be PRESS UPS – DIAMONDS
  • Upper body pull could be CHIN UPS – HEARTS
  • Lower body could be JUMPING SQUATS – CLUBS
  • Full body could be BURPEES – SPADES

You may want to write this down as it can be painful trying to remember it! The last thing you need to do is assign 4 different CV elements to each suit. For the sake of my home workout example I would choose:

  • Skipping – DIAMONDS
  • Running – HEARTS
  • Shadow boxing – CLUBS
  • Agility drills – SPADES

Now, the fun part. Draw 5 cards from the pack. This is your first circuit. The first 4 cards represent your bodyweight exercises and the 5th is your 3min CV ‘recovery’. The number of each card denotes the amount of reps to be performed, or the level at which you do you CV. So, Ace-10 is 1-10 reps, or level 1-10 (easy-hard) of CV intensity. Jack, queen and king can be 15, 20 or 25 reps or different intensity intervals for the CV element. Essentially, it doesn’t have to be exact. If you get a King on the CV, just work as hard as you can for 3mins. If you get an ace, take it easy for 3 mins. If you do this for 5 picks of cards it will take you 40+ mins, depending on how lucky/unlucky you get with the numbers. An example for you:

  • Card 1: 7 of hearts
  • Card 2: 3 spades
  • Card 3: Jack of clubs
  • Card 4: 10 of diamonds
  • Card 5 (CV): 5 of hearts

Your circuit would therefore be:

  • 7 chins
  • 3 burpees
  • 15 jumping squats
  • 10 press ups
  • 3 mins of medium intensity (level 5) running to recover

Easy! If, you get multiple cards of the same suit, just add the reps together and split them accordingly over the entire circuit. You may get a 10 of diamonds and a 7 of diamonds in one batch. That would equal 17 press ups, which could be done altogether, or split into a 9 and an 8 at each end of the circuit. It’s completely up to you.

The cards make it fun and unpredictable. Working with a partner and drawing cards for each other is a great way of losing friends too.

Let me know if you have any questions, and try to avoid those kings!




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