01/02/2014 12:37 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How My Accidental Product Could Change the Way You Exercise


By Michael Volkin, Strength Stack 52

It might sound like a sales pitch, but I created a product that might forever change the way you exercise, and it was a complete accident.

My product started when my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I was deployed to Iraq, and it resulted in sales to over a dozen countries in less than a year.

The product is Strength Stack 52 Bodyweight Exercise Cards, which I sell on my Shopify store. This is my story.

While stationed overseas for the Army, I was assigned to be the military fitness instructor for my company. But there was a problem; we had no equipment. Using our bodyweight as resistance was a common way for soldiers to get a great workout.

As a result of my assignment as the fitness instructor, I became an expert with bodyweight exercises.

After my return, my mother - a fitness enthusiast herself - was diagnosed with cancer. Since I didn't have a cure for cancer, the next best thing I could do was support her the only way I knew how.

I designed playing cards with bodyweight exercises on them. I turned these cards into a game by giving each card an exercise, a number and a suit. She could now do exercises wherever she was, in the hospital or at home. She could even create a competitive workout by playing exercise card games with her friends and family.

She loved them. In addition to making her more fit, she found that exercising with the cards motivated and energized her.

I built a website and quickly experienced growing pains. A couple of celebrities contacted me and the exercise cards were even on NBC's The Today Show. The traffic was too much for my previous ecommerce solution to handle.

I was fortunate enough to learn quickly from my mistakes. I upgraded to Shopify so my website visitors could get a premium user experience filled with lots of neat features. With the Shopify dashboard, I could easily edit and refine my site, which increased what my customers spent per transaction.

With Shopify, I was able to become more hands-off in my website and more hands-on growing my business.

So why have I been experiencing success for a product that wasn't even intended to be a product? I would love to say the answer is me, but in actuality, the answer more likely is in the product itself.

As simple as Strength Stack 52 is, it changes the way a person exercises. A person transforms from doing repetitive sets to competing with their friends for the highest score in various card games.

All of a sudden, exercising becomes a fun competition and not a chore. Imagine playing a game of War with your daughter using only your bodyweight as equipment. You don't need an hour a day at the gym; you only need 10 minutes here and there to flip a few cards.

I love success stories, so grab a deck and get Stackin'!

Watch this video to learn more about Strength Stack 52:


Michael Volkin is a U.S. Army veteran, author, and entrepreneur. He served as a sergeant in Operation Enduring/Iraqi Freedom as a Chemical Operations Specialist where he received an Army Commendation Medal. He has a Master's degree in Science and has authored four books in three genres. He is also the inventor of Strength Stack 52 bodyweight fitness cards -The Game of FIT.

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