If you’ve been a part of the fitness world for a while, you already know that there are a bunch of different ways to train for your goals. But if you’re a complete beginner, all of these options can be a little overwhelming at first. You might know about the most well-known types of workout, such as steady-state cardio and HIIT, but there are a lot more that you can try for your goals, such as AMRAP workouts!
Whether your focus is on strength, cardio, mobility, or any other goal, AMRAP workouts can take you closer to those goals while effectively building your endurance at the same time. This is because this type of workout is specifically designed to take you to your limit, rest for a moment, then keep going until you’re done!
To better understand what AMRAP workouts are all about, we’ll tell you all the details. From how it works and its benefits to how to effectively create your own workout routine, as well as a couple of AMRAP workout examples so you can better visualize it! So let’s start from the basics…
What is an AMRAP workout?
AMRAP stands for “as many reps/rounds as possible”, meaning that during this kind of workout you’ll be performing as many repetitions of an exercise or set of exercises as you’re capable of, resting only when you feel like you need it. This type of workout is usually done in circuits, performing one exercise after the other with minimal to no rest in between and cycling through those same exercises until you’ve completed your workout, which is typically under 30 minutes.
For example, let’s say you have a circuit that includes doing 10 burpees, 10 pull-ups, and 10 mountain climbers in 12 minutes. The goal is to cycle through that circuit as many times as possible, going from burpees to pull-ups and from pull-ups to mountain climbers without skipping a beat until you feel like you need a small break. After resting and catching your breath for a moment, keep cycling until you’re done.
This is just a basic example, but AMRAP workouts are highly customizable. You can make it strength-focused, resistance-focused, cardio-focused, or a little bit of everything, as well as play with the number of exercises, reps, and total workout time. You can also include all different kinds of free weights, machines, and accessories – or nothing at all! It’s up to you, what your goals are, and what you enjoy the most.
While this might sound like a high-intensity workout similar to HIIT (high-intensity interval training), AMRAP workouts don’t have timed intervals. Instead, you choose how much you’re going to do before resting depending on how you feel at the moment and how much energy you have. And it doesn’t have to be high-intensity at all! You also can choose low-impact exercises and cycle through them with minimal rest, however you feel more comfortable.
Benefits of AMRAP workouts
The different aspects that make up this type of workout can be incredibly beneficial for your fitness goals and overall gym experience. Here are the main benefits:
It’s an effective way to manage your workout time
AMRAP workouts are a great option for those looking to reduce their time at the gym and make the most out of that short time frame. This type of workout typically lasts around 30 minutes or less, making it the perfect alternative if you need to wrap it up early because you have stuff to do later, or you just have a busy lifestyle that doesn’t allow you to spend hours working out at the gym.
It challenges your mental and physical endurance
Because you’re performing as many reps or rounds as you possibly can, this type of workout truly tests your mental, cardiorespiratory, and muscular endurance by bringing you to your limit before resting for a moment. The idea behind AMRAP workouts is to keep going until you can’t perform a rep with the proper form, which is your sign to slow down or stop until you can resume your circuit.
It’s highly customizable
As we mentioned before, you can build your AMRAP workout however you want to. This helps avoid boredom because you don’t need to repeat the same circuit over and over again. Instead, you can change things up each time you work out with different exercises, volume, intensity, and equipment. The best AMRAP workouts are the ones you can actually enjoy, so choose accordingly!
It might burn extra calories
If you choose to go the high-intensity route and add fast-paced exercises that truly challenge your endurance, not only you’ll burn calories while you work out, but also after you’re finished. This is because high-intensity exercises increase post-exercise oxygen consumption, known as EPOC. It refers to the two-hour period after your workout when you’re using energy to recover and return to your normal resting state, burning extra calories in the process.
How to do an AMRAP workout
Now that you know what AMRAP workouts are and their incredible fitness benefits, it’s time to learn how to actually do them. Here’s a quick but effective guide to creating your own effective AMRAP workout routine:
Pick your exercises and equipment
The first step to creating your own AMRAP workout is to choose what you’re going to include in it. You can plan your workout around a single exercise, but including 3-7 exercises that target different muscle groups will ensure that you get a full-body workout in little time and that you don’t neglect any part of your body. You can mix strength training exercises with cardio, or perform goal-specific exercises only – it’s up to you!
That said, since AMRAP workouts are mostly non-stop, you’ll want to make sure that you choose exercises that you can perform correctly and with the proper form so you don’t have to pause as often. This isn’t the best time to try new things, so stick with your favorite exercises or include exercises that have simple movements so you can make the most out of your workout time.
And choose your workout equipment! If you prefer bodyweight exercises, you can just make sure to have a mat with you. Or you can add dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, and even a barbell to add some resistance to your movements. Even further, if you’re at the gym and there’s a machine that no one’s using and you want to include in your rotation, go for it! Just make sure everything’s within reach so you can quickly cycle between stations without delay.
Set a time limit and a rep range
AMRAP workouts tend to last around 30 minutes or less, with the most common time limit being between 15 and 20 minutes. This will depend on your fitness level, so if you’re an absolute beginner, a 10-minute or even shorter workout can be a good starting point so you can get the hang of it first. Just make sure to have a timer in hand!
While the goal is to cycle through your circuit as many times as possible, you still need to pace yourself effectively so you can reach the end without form failure. If you choose a higher time limit, try to find a good pace that isn’t too fast or explosive to avoid getting exhausted halfway or taking too many breaks. Even if you’re used to fast-paced and high-intensity workouts, the non-stop aspect can make it very challenging.
When it comes to choosing the rep range, that’s completely up to you. You can go for lower reps if you’d rather move quickly between stations, or higher rep ranges to really give it your all to each station, choosing a single rep range or different ones for each exercise depending on how intense they are. Go as low as 8-10 reps or as high as 30 or more – your call!
Perform your workout
The last step is starting the timer and performing your circuit! The main thing to keep in mind is that you should be able to do each rep with the proper form. If you feel like you’re not quite getting the form right, or you’re starting to fail, either slow down or completely stop to rest. You can also skip an exercise if you’re not able to perform it correctly and swap it for another one, or just keep going with the rest of the exercises.
Remember, safety is the most important thing during a workout. Proper form is what will keep you from feeling uncomfortable or getting injured, so make sure to prioritize that over getting your workout done, especially if you’re dealing with heavy weights during your training.
And that’s pretty much it! The steps are pretty similar to other types of workouts, so if you’re already familiar with creating workout routines, this should be a walk in the park. But if you’re a beginner or have trouble visualizing an AMRAP workout, here are two good examples of goal-focused workouts that you can try or take inspiration from:
Strength-focused AMRAP workout:
Time limit: 15 minutes. Equipment needed: one pair of dumbbells.
- Sit-ups x 15
- Push-ups x 15
- Dumbbell thrusters x 20
- Dumbbell reverse lunges x 15
- Renegade row x 20
Cardio-focused AMRAP workout:
Time limit: 15 minutes. Equipment needed: none.
- Jumping jacks x 20
- Burpees x 10
- Plank jacks x 15
- High knees x 20
- Side skaters x 15
Challenge your endurance with AMRAP workouts
If you’re looking to improve your overall endurance or trying to cut short the time you spend at the gym, definitely try AMRAP workouts! As you can see from this guide, they’re perfectly customizable to your liking and fitness level, so you don’t have to worry about them being too easy or too tough for you. Just keep in mind that proper form and safety always come first!
And if you’re looking for more exercise ideas or different workouts to try, don’t forget to check the Fit With Iulia app! The app features weekly goal-focused workouts created by Iulia herself so you can get closer to your fitness goals. Try your first workout for free by downloading the Fit With Iulia app, choosing a goal, and trying the first workout of any goal – no subscription required!