Samaje Perine has solidified himself as one of the best running backs in the 2017 NFL Draft class.
At last week’s NFL Combine, the former Oklahoma Sooner put up an astonishing 30 reps on the Bench Press. That was the top result for any player not an offensive or defensive lineman by three full reps. He also clocked an impressive 11.71 in the 60-Yard Shuttle, the fourth-fastest of any running back at the Combine.
Perine’s strength is the stuff of legend. Last summer, he told TulsaWorld.com that his maxes on the Bench, Power Clean and Squat were 450, 325 and 600 pounds, respectively.
Perine recently told STACK that he’s “addicted” to lifting weights, but he hasn’t always had iron at his disposal. During breaks at Oklahoma, Perine headed home to Pflugerville, Texas. “Where my parents live now, we’re not really close to a gym with weights and all that stuff,” Perine said.
Wanting to stay in shape despite lacking easy access to a weight room, Perine approached Mahala Wiggins, an assistant strength and conditioning coach at Oklahoma, about alternatives. That’s when Wiggins introduced Perine to “The Card Workout.” It sounds simple, but it’s one of the most brutal we’ve ever come across.
Here’s the gist. You grab a deck of cards and shuffle them. Then you draw the cards one by one. Each suit is associated with a different bodyweight exercise—e.g., Clubs are Pull-Ups, Spades are Sit-Ups, Hearts are Push-Ups, Diamonds are Burpees. The value of the card corresponds to the number of reps you must perform. For example, the 9 of hearts would call for 9 Push-Ups. For the face cards, Jacks equal 15 reps, Queens and Kings equal 20 reps and Aces equal 25 reps of every single exercise. We know what you’re thinking—yes, this workout is insane. By the end of the deck, Perine will have performed hundreds of reps of each exercise.
“One of the things that’s so great about [Mahala] is that he’ll give you workouts you would never even think of. Just doing that I could feel the difference. I was getting some cardio in, getting some muscle-building in. It was something so simple, but it worked so well,” Perine said. “He told me to start with half a deck because I wasn’t going to get through it. He was definitely right. But I got to the full deck eventually. It took me two or three times through before I could get the full deck. It was a struggle, but I got it.”
Perine told STACK that his card workouts typically lasted between an hour and 90 minutes. He is a real-world equivalent of Juggernaut, so we wouldn’t recommend trying to perform the exact same type of card workouts that he does. This collection of “Deck of Cards” workouts is still plenty challenging; they’re just a bit lighter on the volume.