AMRAP workouts, which stand for “as many reps as possible workouts”, have become famous with the introduction of CrossFit. But how do you actually do these kind of workouts and what are the benefits?
Let me walk you through the topics below and also give you 3 different types of bodyweight AMRAP workouts that you can do right away.
So the topics are:
What exactly is AMRAP workouts?
How do you do AMRAP workouts?
The benefits of AMRAP workouts
AMRAP vs. circuit training
AMRAP workouts for strength, conditioning and stamina.
The importance of warm-up before AMRAP workouts
As mentioned above, AMRAP stands for “as many reps as possible”. The way it works is very simple. You select one or more exercises that you want to perform and decide upon a time frame for your workout. The goal is then to do as many repetitions of the exercises you have chosen in the selected timeframe. That’s it.
Let me give you an example:
Let’s select burpees as the only exercise you want to do. Burpees are great as they work the complete body and therefore can be done as a standalone exercise.
For the time frame, we select a Tabata scheme. It means you will work for 20 seconds and then rest for 10 seconds. This you will do 10 times.
Now the trick is simply to do as many repetitions as possible of the burpees during the 20 seconds work time.
The more traditional way of working out often have fixed repetitions and the time frame or load is then the flexible variable. Like 5 round of 5 repetitions with a specific load or run 5K as fast as possible.
So what’s the big deal with AMRAP workouts?
AMRAP workouts are not magical in anyway, but they do have a lot of benefits, and some of them are:
Time control. The biggest problem people have when it comes to workout is the time. With an AMRAP workout, you know exactly how much time you will spend. Secondly, it works very well with high-intensity interval training (HIIT), which also means shorter workout time.
Automatically fits your level. If we took the above example with the burpees we could have anyone do the workout and all would get the same challenge. A beginner would do a couple of burpees and an advanced athlete would complete a lot of burpees. They would finish at the same time and both would have done a workout that challenged them.
It challenges you. As you count the repetitions you can always use that number to challenge yourself. Next time you do the workout you will try to do a few more repetitions. Or if you work out with other people you will try to beat their numbers.
Both strength, stamina and condition. An AMRAP workout can easily be designed to either focus on strength, stamina or condition. Later, I will explain this in details and give you some examples of workouts.
AMRAP vs. Circuit training
If you have been working out for some time you are probably familiar with circuit training.
The way we work out here is very similar to AMRAP, but the big difference is that we have a fixed amount of repetitions and always more than one exercise to perform in circuit training.
Whereas the AMRAP way of working out will always demand for your best shot, in the circuit training, you will have to adjust the amount of repetitions in order to do so.
In some cases, the circuit training would be a better choice when looking for strength sessions and AMRAP when you are out for stamina and condition. However, it’s perfectly fine to use AMRAP for strength training and I will show you that now.
AMRAP workouts for strength, stamina and condition
As mentioned, one of the benefits of AMRAP is that it can be used to focus on different types of training. However, the scheme, mindset and selection of exercises have to differ.
Proper strength training should be done with a load that will make you repeat the exercise 1-15 times before a rest is needed. Working with the outer numbers should be limited, so focusing on numbers around 5-10 is better.
A pause is needed in between sets in order for the muscle to recover for another round.
Therefore, select exercises you know you can do 5-10 repetitions before a rest is needed. Add a longer pause in between the rounds.
Example: Work 1min & Rest 1min X 8 times. In set 1,3,5,7 AMRAP Push-ups & In set 2,4,6,8 AMRAP pull-ups.
Stamina means longer workouts with a moderate intensity. Therefore, the exercises should be less demanding and something that can be repeated for a longer time.
The efforts should be kept to moderate, and that is a bit contradictory with the AMRAP principle. However, the better your condition the more repetitions you can do even with a moderate heart rate.
Therefore, workout for a period of 15-30min with no breaks. Select less demanding exercises. Control your efforts. Watch your breath, or even better, put on a heart rate monitor. In that case, the challenge will be to do as many repetitions as possible with low heart rate. When the heart rate goes up you have to slow down.
Example: Work for 18min with no breaks. Heart rate stays around 75% of max heart rate (when you can talk in short sentences). AMRAP: 20 Jumping Jacks – 10 Air Squat – 10 Sit-ups – 5 push-ups.
Probably the easiest way to use AMARP as we just want to go as hard as possible.
Most beneficial is a HIIT scheme, meaning short intervals with short breaks in between.
Exercises should be compound, meaning as many muscles and joints as possible.
The intensity should be as hard as possible. When we do real HIIT, we will have a heart rate around 90-100% (this is when you can only speak single words).
Therefore, we go short but hard. We select exercises that use as many muscles as possible.
Example: Work 1min then rest 20sec X 6 times. In set 1,3,5 AMRAP Jumping Squats & in set 2,4,6 AMRAP Mountain climbers.
AMRAP and warm-up
As we often go very hard on AMRAP workouts, it is extremely important to warm-up properly before such a session. Most important of all is that it will prevent injuries, but it will also put your body in a state where it will perform its best and get the most out of the workout.
I have some examples of good warm-ups right here.
Below, I have some more examples of AMRAP workouts that you can try out right now. I have even more right here, and if you are looking for a proper workout plan, I have some here.
Good luck with your training.
Stamina & aerobic focus:
AMRAP for 14min no break:
-10m Bear Crawl
-10 Flutter Kicks
Cardio & HIIT focus:
8 sets of: Work 20sec, then rest 20sec
Set 1,3,5,7 AMRAP Jumping Squats
Set 2,4,6,8 AMRAP Mountain Climbers