Product Review: Strength Stack 52
The Strength Stack 52 is a card deck workout system developed by Sergeant Michael Volkin. According to his website, Sergeant Volkin has been busy developing workout plans for soldiers in Iraq. In fact, he received a medal for the programs he created for the soldiers. Now, what began as a simple workout program he originally created for his mother while she battled cancer has become a military style workout available to the public.
As with other deck workouts the greatest advantage to Strength Stack 52 is how much fun it is relative to how much work you’re doing. The deck can be used either by an individual or by groups, and I’d recommend doing it in groups to enhance the motivation to push yourself.
Each card features a different exercise, an image of the exercise, and a brief description. There are also various ways to categorize each exercise on each card, such as a value number, a color code, and the difficulty level. Each of these categories is used in various ways in the games created for the deck. There is also a QR code on each card that will take you to a video demonstration of the exercise.
To access the games, you simply go to the website and look through their list. You can sort the games by popularity, by number of players you have with you, or simply browse through the thirteen total games they currently have descriptions for. You can even submit your own game ideas. Each game is a different way you and your friends can use the deck to get a workout.
The major benefit to a deck system like this is that it’s a great way to motivate your workouts through fun and competition. Once you know the exercises and have a few games in mind, it’s quite simple as well. And the exercises are the basics, another mark of any good workout, so you probably are familiar with them already. The deck is fairly inexpensive, the cards are high quality, and the deck travels very well.
I do wish the video descriptions were longer and included sound. One of the strengths of this deck workout over others I’ve seen is that they use the Internet as a support tool very well. Because the cards themselves are quick to use once an exercise is known, I think more detailed videos would be a greater advantage. The few I watched were short and had no sound or description of any kind. They were simply a quick demo. Better than nothing, no doubt, but not a full use of the media. I also noticed that the pushups, one of the exercises I happened to look at, had some questionable form including flared elbows and a short range of motion. The pushup itself was strict, and certainly qualifies as a military push up, but more could be put into the form.
Another thing that comes with the cards is one free month of the 60-Day Challenge. Although I didn’t do this challenge myself, the website includes a $75 value that is crossed out. However, the description only mentions a meal plan, which I would assume is fairly generic. I’m not sure if you would need to pay for this after the first free month, but I don’t see what would constitute a value that high based solely on the limited description. So, if you purchased the cards you would need to discover that for yourself.
I think workouts like this one are great for people that enjoy them. As a teen, I loved the concept of deck workouts or their homemade equivalent, flashcards, and performed them regularly. This is a high quality version of such a workout that includes some Internet support, which I hope they upgrade in the future. Doing that would really help this stand out over simply making it on your own. As a coach, on the other hand, this workout is designed more for the fun of a general fitness enthusiast and not for someone with specific exercise goals. If you’re the former, this would be a good one to check out.
Strength Stack 52 is available for $14.95 at StrengthStack52.com.