AMRAP: What is it and should you do it?

Need a quick yet effective sweat session? Then you need to familiarize yourself with AMRAP.

This training style allows you to squeeze in a lot of reps in a short amount of time — so you can finish your workout and get on with your day.

Here’s how it works.

What is AMRAP?

AMRAP is a form of interval training. It stands for “as many rounds as possible” or “as many reps as possible” depending on the format of the workout.

“Generally, the idea is that you perform a circuit or [single] Do the exercise with a set number of reps, for as many rounds as possible in a set time frame,” says April Whitney, a NASM-certified personal trainer.

For example, you might do a circuit (eg, 15 repetitions of each dumbbell squat, push-up, and V sit-up) for as many rounds as possible in 15 to 20 minutes, resting as needed.

Or, you can set your timer for 30 seconds and try to complete as many repetitions of a given exercise as you can before the time runs out.

How long is AMRAP?

Female High Knee Exercise |  AMRAP

The length of an AMRAP workout can vary widely and will depend on whether you’re incorporating it into an existing workout (for example, as a finisher) or doing it as a stand-alone routine.

It can be as short as 30 seconds of a single exercise or as long as a 30-minute circuit workout.

“Technically it could be longer, but it starts to get pretty aggressive,” says Hannah Davis, a certified strength and conditioning specialist.

Will AMRAP help me lose weight?

Like other forms of interval training, AMRAP burns more calories per minute than traditional steady-state cardio.

“AMRAPs tend to burn more calories because of their higher intensity levels, which can be effective for weight loss in general,” says Whitney.

Plus, many AMRAP workouts incorporate strength exercises, making them a great way to build muscle and improve muscular endurance — and building muscle can help boost metabolism.

Is AMRAP always a cardio workout?

AMRAP workouts can get your heart rate up fairly quickly, making it a great option for building cardiovascular fitness.

“But unlike traditional cardio, AMRAP can also do an excellent job of building muscle,” says Davis.

Why? That’s because you can use both strength- and cardio-focused exercises in an AMRAP workout, including burpees, push-ups, plyo lunges, and mountain climbers.


People on the ropes of war  AMRAP

It depends. Although AMRAP workouts can be intense, they don’t automatically qualify as high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

“Amrap [typically] There is little to no rest between exercises throughout the duration of the workout, while a HIIT workout should technically include a rest period after extremely intense exercise,” says Davis.

However, if you structure things correctly, you can use AMRAP to create a HIIT workout.

The Tabata protocol is a classic example of a HIIT workout that takes advantage of AMRAP.

To do this, simply pick an exercise (usually a cardio exercise like sprints or burpees) and do as many repetitions as you can in 20 seconds. Rest for 10 seconds, then repeat that work-rest sequence seven times.

How do I add AMRAP to my routine?

There are many ways to take advantage of AMRAP’s cardio-boosting, calorie-torching benefits. “There’s no wrong way to do AMRAP,” says Davis.

You can either throw in a round of AMRAP at the end of a strength training session, or create a standalone AMRAP workout.

To create a complete AMRAP workout, Whitney recommends choosing an upper body exercise, a lower body exercise, and a core exercise.

Repeat each exercise 10 times for as many rounds as possible in six minutes. Rest for a minute.

Repeat that circuit two or three more times, or choose new exercises to change circuits.

5 Exercises to Add to an AMRAP Workout

Now that you know what AMRAP is and how to do it, here are five steps you can use to create an AMRAP workout.

1. Burpees

  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides.
  • Bend your knees, hinge at your hips and squat down, placing both palms on the floor.
  • Move your legs into a high plank position, hands directly under your shoulders, core engaged, back straight, hands and balls of your feet on the floor, and your body from head to heels.
  • Push-ups: Bend the elbows to lower your torso until your chest is a few inches off the floor (your elbows should point behind you at about a 45-degree angle), and then quickly push back up.
  • Return your feet to your hands and then jump into the air and explode upwards.
  • Land softly with knees slightly bent and immediately begin your next rep.

T-MINUS appears at 30.

2. Push ups

  • Start in a high plank position with your feet together, your hands shoulder-width apart (but slightly wider than that), and your body straight from head to heels. Clench your glutes and close your core to lock your body into position.
  • Lower your chest to within a few inches of the floor, keeping your head and your elbows at about a 45-degree angle from your body.
  • Pause, and then push yourself back to the starting position as quickly as possible.

3. Reverse lung with rotation

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a dumbbell in both hands in front of you with your elbows at your sides. This position begins.
  • Keeping your chest up, back flat, shoulders back, and core engaged, take a big step with your left leg.
  • Lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Your right knee should track directly over the ankle, and the knee should be bent about 90 degrees, with the left knee hanging a few inches off the ground.
  • Bring the dumbbell toward your right hip and rotate your torso to the right.
  • Reverse the entire movement and return to the starting position.
  • Repeat, this time stepping back with your right leg and rotating your torso to the left.
  • Continue alternating sides.

Appeared on Abs + Booty Burn with Jordan Morello.

4. Dumbbell swing

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, holding one end of a dumbbell in both hands, interlacing your fingers to ensure your grip is secure.
  • Keeping your back flat, arms straight and core engaged, push your hips back and swing the dumbbell between your legs. Your knees should bend slightly as the hips hinge.
  • Now squeeze and explode your glutes, hanging the dumbbell at shoulder level.
  • Swing the dumbbell back between your legs to begin your next rep.

Appeared on Strong + Solid with Lita Lewis.

5. Dumbbell jump squat

Jump squat  amrap

  • Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in front of your chest with both hands.
  • Keeping your chest up, core engaged and back flat, bend your knees, push your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Back yourself up explosively, jump straight up.
  • Land softly with knees slightly bent, immediately lowering yourself into your next rep.

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