Ultimate AMRAP Workout Guide (To Crush Your Fitness Goals)

Connor Sellers
Published by Connor Sellers | Senior Coach
Last updated: December 28, 2023
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I got into AMRAP workouts five years ago when a friend joined a CrossFit gym. While it is effective for strength and endurance, it comes with a few precautions.

So, I decided to collaborate with my friend, who’s now a CrossFit instructor, to help me put together the best AMRAP workouts to help our readers get started with this kind of approach.

We spent three days going through different AMRAP workouts to determine which kinds of movements were best suited. I also include in this article other details to guide you further.

Quick Summary

  • AMRAP is short for “as many reps as possible,” or sometimes also “as many rounds as possible.”
  • The concept behind AMRAP is to enhance muscular endurance through high-intensity workouts with brief rest periods between sets.
  • A study published in the Journal of Physical Education and Sport revealed a 14 percent improvement in leg muscle strength for individuals who followed AMRAP training.
  • As a fitness trainer, incorporating various exercises, such as push-ups and kettlebell AMRAP workouts, and pushing beyond pain thresholds can be more effective when complemented with the right supplements.

What Does AMRAP Stands For?

AMRAP stands for "As Many Rounds (or Reps) As Possible." This acronym defines a high-intensity metabolic workout involving a sequence of exercises performed in a continuous circuit, with minimal rest, all within a specified timeframe.

In the context of "AMRAP workouts," the 'R' stands for Rounds. When a program designates an exercise for "AMRAP," it means executing as many repetitions as possible.

What Is the Goal of Doing AMRAP?

The goal of engaging in an AMRAP (As Many Rounds As Possible) workout is to push your body to its limits. Breaks are taken only when essential, particularly when maintaining proper form becomes challenging.

The primary aim is to complete as many rounds or repetitions as possible within the designated time frame, resulting in an intense and challenging experience during AMRAP workouts.

How Do You Structure A Workout?

Kettlebell workout routine with circle of friends

To structure effective AMRAP workouts, use a simple approach in planning diverse workout stations, emphasizing avoiding heavy weights and aiming for as many reps as possible in each set.

As a fitness trainer, I advise clients to push themselves while ensuring proper form in every movement to elevate heart rate, foster effective fat burning, and enhance fitness, as supported by research from the Mayo Clinic [1].

If you're looking to kick your routine up a notch, aim for as many reps as possible at each station and push to complete as many rounds of the circuit as you can.

Best Exercises for an AMRAP Workout

Doing seated dumbbell curls

The best exercises for an AMRAP workout are those that don’t require a lot of setup, like bodyweight movements or dumbbell curls. It's ideal to choose a few for a circuit.

Here's a list of exercises:

  • Military push-ups
  • Standard kettlebell swings
  • Kettlebell sumo squats
  • Close-grip pull-ups
  • Ab crunches
  • Biceps curls
  • Goblet squats or lunges
  • Side-stepping kettlebell swings
  • Wide-grip pull-ups
  • Calf raises

An effective AMRAP routine targets your entire body. When doing as many reps as possible, your heart pumps, and the worked muscle group burns from metabolite buildup, as per Medical New Today [2].

As a fitness trainer, I recommend short rests—around 15 to 20 seconds, unlike the usual 45 to 60 seconds between sets. Mixing free-weight and bodyweight exercises for various body parts is crucial for maintaining intensity throughout the session.

“Muscle fatigue and burning during high-intensity exercise result from an accumulation of intracellular metabolites such as inorganic phosphate and hydrogen ions that impair the contractile function of the muscle.”

- Gregory Minnis, DPT

What Are Some Examples of AMRAP Workouts?

To provide a clear understanding of what AMRAP workouts involve, here are a few examples.

10-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP Workout

This 10-minute AMRAP is an intense workout. Progress through the listed exercises in a continuous circuit, taking only brief breaks when necessary.

Exercise 1: Burpees x 10
Exercise 2: Push Ups x 15
Exercise 3: Pull Ups x 5

In my opinion, it's a quick and vigorous routine that effectively accomplishes the fitness goals. After those 10 minutes, you'll feel the burn and know you've put in substantial work.

1-Exercise 5-Minute Bodyweight AMRAP

This AMRAP involves a single exercise—burpees. The objective is to complete as many burpees as possible in 5 minutes. It's a simple yet effective workout.

15-Minute Kettlebell AMRAP Workout

In AMRAP workouts with free weights, my focus is on sustainability rather than heavy lifting. These sessions prioritize conditioning and high-volume resistance training, aiming to minimize rest and complete the maximum number of rounds or reps within the given time frame.

Exercise 1: Front Squat x 5 reps
Exercise 2: Bent Over Row x 5 reps
Exercise 3: Cleans x 5 reps
Exercise 4: Kettlebell Swings x 5 reps

Are There Benefits To Doing AMRAP Workouts?

Yes, doing AMRAP workouts and adding them to your routine yields several key benefits, including:

Improved Muscular Endurance, Stamina, and Aerobic Conditioning
AMRAP workouts improve physical preparedness and heart health, enhancing muscular endurance, stamina, and cardiovascular capacity. This conditioning extends beyond strength training to contribute to overall well-being.

Calorie and Fat Burning
AMRAP workouts burn a significant number of calories and boost post-workout oxygen consumption, promoting continued calorie burn. This "after-burn" effect contributes to metabolic enhancement, aiding in weight management.

Enhanced Body Composition
Despite using lighter loads, AMRAP workouts contribute to leanness and muscle building through high-volume resistance. This protocol supports hypertrophy, making it an effective method for body recomposition.

What Equipment Will You Need?

Different equipment used during workouts

For these HIIT cardio workouts, you'll only need basic items like an exercise mat, parallette bars, a pull-up bar, resistance bands, and a dumbbell set.

AMRAP workouts focus on increasing your heart rate, and you don't necessarily need machines or heavy weights.

As a fitness trainer, I suggest changing up the AMRAP workout as you get the hang of it. But keep away from complicated machines that might slow you down between sets, messing with the steady pace needed to keep your heart pumping.

In CrossFit gyms, however, stations are strategically placed for swift transitions, allowing a brief 5 to 10 seconds between exercises. This facilitates catching your breath and staying prepared.

Following a vigorous AMRAP session, I consistently suggest to my clients that they incorporate protein supplements to help with muscle recovery.

FAQs

How Long Should An AMRAP Workout Be?

An AMRAP workout should be at least 30 minutes. But it all comes down to your level of fitness, and if you’re not totally exhausted after half an hour, then keep going until you’ve got nothing left to give.

How Many Calories Does A 20-Minute AMRAP Workout Burn?

A 20-minute AMRAP workout can burn up to 300 calories, depending on how hard you push and your fitness level. AMRAP workouts are classed as high-intensity, and the more you push your heart rate up, the more calories you’ll burn in the process.

Who Should Do AMRAP Workouts?

AMRAP workouts are for anyone aiming to achieve peak physical condition with both strength and endurance. Whether you're an athlete or simply want to be "in shape," AMRAP is a highly effective method for building muscular endurance and impressive conditioning, ensuring sustained energy and quick recovery.


References:

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise-intensity/art-20046887
  2. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326521
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