Bonus: They are super fast and easy to follow.
Most workouts are pretty methodical: You choose (or are given) a few select exercises–say, squats, push-ups, and lunges–with a specific number of repetitions and sets. These reps and sets can be directly linked to your fitness goals. For example, more reps with lighter weights may increase endurance, while fewer reps may increase strength.
But some workouts–like AMRAP workouts–aren’t so meticulously planned, making them super versatile and accessible for fitness professionals and everyday exercisers alike.
You’ve found the right place if you are interested in AMRAP workouts. What do they mean for your Health? How can they help you build an effective AMRAP? We have gathered insights from two experts and three AMRAP workouts that you can do at home. Here’s everything you need to know.
What Is AMRAP?
AMRAP stands for “as many repetitions as possible” or “as many rounds as possible.” The workout style is often associated with CrossFit (the notoriously difficult, high-intensity exercise program). Still, in the most basic of terms, AMRAP workouts involve picking an exercise (or series of exercises) and then completing as many repetitions or rounds of that pattern as you can in a set amount of time. This means that you should rest as little as possible.
AMRAPs can be adapted to different abilities beyond the basic structure. AMRAPs can be done with your bodyweight only, or you can add weights to make it more challenging. You can focus on cardio, strength training, mobility, or a combo of the above. You can adjust the difficulty of the exercises and the time that you do them. For example, a 20-minute AMRAP with burpees is more difficult than a 10-minute one of bodyweight squats.
Remember: AMRAP does not have to be intense,” Yuri Feito (Ph.D., MPH-CEP), education and professional development strategist at American College of Sports Medicine, tells Health. Feito is not an ACSM spokesperson. For example, you can do an AMRAP with gentle stretches to warm up and cool down before your main workout. Your fitness level and goals will determine how your AMRAP workout feels and looks.
What are the benefits of an AMRAP exercise?
As mentioned above, AMRAP workouts vary in intensity and duration, which means that their benefits can vary.
High-intensity AMRAPs–where you’re elevating your heart rate and working at max or near max effort with minimal rest–qualify as interval training, which can provide several serious health benefits. Feito says these benefits include an increase in muscle mass, increased aerobic capacity, and neuromuscular improvement.
This AMRAPs with high intensity are extremely efficient. These AMRAPs allow you to get the most from your workout in a shorter time, Erin Derrick, ACE-certified personal trainer, and founder of IAM Fit Charlotte, North Carolina, tells Health.
Feito also points out that AMRAPs has another advantage: the structure allows you the freedom to set your own pace and intensity. This can give you a sense of independence and autonomy that could make it easier to stick with your workouts over the long term.
AMRAPs, however, is only one type of interval training. Feito says that while interval training has many benefits, there is no evidence to support the claim that AMRAPs are the best type for interval training. It’s fine if you don’t feel like you’re getting along with AMRAPs. You can also find similar benefits in other styles, such as Tabata or EMOM.
When it comes to exercising, the best program is the one that you enjoy doing and are consistent with.
Who is the most benefit from AMRAP training?
AMRAPs are a great option for most types of exercisers, provided you do not have any injuries or other health issues that could affect your ability to exercise. High-intensity AMRAPs are a great option for busy exercisers looking for a lot of exercises.
How to create a safe and effective AMRAP training program
The best AMRAP workouts will be those that are appropriate for your goals and fitness level. These are our top tips to help you create a safe and effective AMRAP program.
1. Choose simple movements that you can do well.
An AMRAP is not the right time to do that difficult new exercise on TikTok. Feito suggests that you “start with comfortable movements” and that don’t require too much technique. Derrick recommends sticking to exercises similar to movements you use in daily life for an AMRAP that is both functional and effective.
2. Focus on form
Feito believes that speed is often overemphasized in AMRAPs. However, the good technique should always be your top priority. You can take a break if you are unable to maintain safe and correct techniques. Poor form can lead to injury.
3. Find a sustainable pace
Although it can be tempting to do everything possible when you begin an AMRAP program, this approach will likely lead to burnout. Instead, you should find a pace that you can sustain for the duration of the AMRAP, so you don’t need to take breaks. Derrick says, “You want it to last whatever length it is.”
4. It should take no more than 30 minutes.
Derrick suggests that you limit your AMRAP to 30 minutes or less. The “sweet spot” for AMRAPs is between 15 and 20 minutes. You can make it more manageable by combining several AMRAPs of three to five minutes each.
Three AMRAP workouts that trainers have approved
These three AMRAP workouts are easy to do at home using only your body weight, Derrick’s second and Feito’s third. To avoid starting with cold muscles, do a quick three- to five-minute warm-up for the cardio- and strength-focused AMRAPs.
16-minute cardio AMRAP
Complete as many circuits as you can in 16 minutes. You can rest for up to one minute between rounds if you feel the need. You can adjust the reps and the time to suit your fitness level.
- 50 High knees Standing tall, place your feet hip-distance apart. Slowly bring your right knee towards your chest. Stop when your right thigh touches the ground. Next, lower your right knee and immediately go back to the starting position with your left knee. This is 1 rep. Repeat this pattern on the other side.
- 40 plank jacks with your hands under your shoulders, hold a plank position with your feet hip-width apart. Core, glutes, and quads should be braced. Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your ankles. Jump your feet together quickly, then jump back to about hip-width apart. This is 1 rep. Keep the rest of the body still while you jump.
- 30 skaters: Standing tall, with your feet hip-distance apart and your arms at your sides, keep your legs straight. Your torso should be bent forward. Press your right foot towards the right to propel your left foot several inches to the right. As your left leg swings to the left, your left arm will move back and forth. Your left arm swings forward, across your body, and your right arm swings behind you. Now, touch your left toes on the ground. Take a moment to pause. Next, lift your right foot off the ground and jump with your left foot towards the left. Your right leg will swing back and cross to the right. Your right arm will swing forward and cross your body while your left arm will swing directly behind. For a moment, touch your right toes on the ground. This is 1 rep. Continue the pattern, switching sides.
- 20 burpees Standing tall, with your feet hip-distance apart, keep your feet together. Place your hands on the ground and bend at the waist. Next, jump into a plank position with your shoulders over your wrists. Keep your feet in a hip-distance position; your feet should be parallel to the ground. Core, quads, and glutes must be braced. To perform a push-up, bend your elbows. Jump your feet towards your hands at the top of the push-up and then jump up to raise your arms overhead. This is 1 rep.
- 30 squat jumps: Standing tall, with your feet hip-distance apart, stand tall. As you lower, bend your knees so that your hips are bent, and your hips move back. When your knees are at 90 degrees angles, stop. Jump up to your maximum height, extending your arms behind you, and then continue with the motion. Slowly land on your knees, bend your knees, and then immediately do another squat. This is 1 repetition.
- 40 sit-ups Place your hands behind your head and lie on your back, knees bent. This is your starting position. As you raise your torso from the floor, brace your core. Keep your feet planted as you lift your torso off the floor. Don’t arch your back or turn your back. To return to the original position, pause when your torso is parallel to the ground. This is 1 rep.
- 50 jumping jacks: Standing tall, keep your feet together. As you extend your legs, jump your feet wide and raise your arms to the sky. Jump your feet together and lower your arms to your sides. This is 1 repetition.
20-Minute Strength-focused AMRAP
Each move should be repeated 8 times. Next, repeat the circuit with 12 repetitions for each move. Next, repeat the circuit 16 times with each move. Keep going in this manner, adding four repetitions to each circuit. Complete as many circuit rounds as you can in 20 minutes. You can rest for up to one minute between rounds if you feel the need. You can adjust the reps and the time to suit your fitness level.
- One-and-a-half squats Standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart, stand tall. Keep your hips straight and bend your knees. Press your heels through the ground to raise your feet halfway. Pause and then lower your heels to 90 degrees. You can then return to standing by pressing your heels. This is 1 repetition.
- Push-ups begin in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders. Keep your feet hip-width apart and brace your core, glutes, and quads. Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your ankles. Now, extend your elbows back slightly (but not straight out from the sides) and lower into a push-up. Then, pause and press your palms through your palms to return to the high plank position. This is 1 repetition.
- Sumo squats: Standing tall, with your feet slightly wider than your hips, your toes pointed out, and your hands at your sides, stand straight. To lower your hips into a squat, bend your knees. To return to standing, pause and press your heels through the ground. Lower your hands towards your sides as you stand. This is 1 rep.
- Commandos: Begin in a plank position with your wrists under your shoulders. Keep your feet hip-width apart and brace your core, glutes, and quads. Your body should form a straight line from your neck to your ankles. Now, raise your right hand and place your right forearm on top of your right. Continue with your left hand. Next, raise your right forearm and place your right hand on the ground. Continue with the left forearm. This is 1 rep. Keep your hips as still as you can while your arms move. Each rep, alternate which arm leads.
- Walking lunges: Standing straight up with your feet shoulder-width apart, keep your hands on your hips. Keep your torso high and step forward approximately two feet with your right foot. Next, bend your knees and lower your legs into a lunge. When your legs are at 90 degrees, stop. To return to standing, pause and press down on your heel. Step your left foot forward approximately two feet, then lower your knees into a lunge. When your legs are at 90 degrees, stop. To return to standing, pause and press down on your front heel. This is 1 repetition.
- Side plank crunches: Begin by laying your right hand on the ground. Your left hand should be pointed straight up. The left foot should be stacked on top. Brace your core and glutes. This is your starting position. Drive your left elbow towards the left and your left knee towards the other. When they touch, stop and then reverse the motion to get back to the original position. This is 1 rep. Be sure to do this on both sides.
Mobility AMRAP 5-minutes
This circuit can be completed in as few as five minutes.
- 5 squats Standing tall, with your feet hip-distance apart, your hands at your sides, keep your legs straight. As you lower your hips into a squat, bend your knees. When your knees reach 90 degrees, stop lowering. To return to standing, pause and press your heels through the ground. Lower your hands towards your sides as you stand. This is 1 rep.
- 5 Up-downs Standing tall, with your feet at hip-distance apart, stand tall. Place your hands on the ground and bend at your waist. Next, jump into a plank position with your feet in front of your shoulders. Now, bring your feet towards your hands and stand up. This is 1 repetition.
- 6 pigeon stretches (3 per side)Begin by standing in a plank with your hands under your shoulders. Next, move the right knee towards the right wrist. Place your shin parallel to your chest on the ground. Extend your left leg. Keep holding for several deep breaths. To deepen the stretch, lean forward towards your waist. This is 1 rep. Repeat for 2 more.