13 Heart Pounding AMRAP Workouts to Shed Weight

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October 27, 2020 Guardian-Elite Fitness
There has been a growing fitness trend centered around workouts that are not only high intensity, but also efficient with our time. AMRAP workouts fit that criteria of high intensity and being time efficient. In fact, AMRAP workouts have enjoyed increasing popularity especially with more people moving toward workouts that can also be home-based.

But, you may ask, what exactly is an AMRAP workout? If you’re not deep in the Crossfit world or an avid HIIT enthusiast you may have no idea what an AMRAP workout is. That’s OK. In this post we’ll be taking a look at what AMRAP is and the AMRAP workouts you can incorporate into your standard routine to crank up the intensity and make some much needed gains.

  • What is an AMRAP Workout Meaning?
  • How long does an AMRAP workout last?
  • AMRAP Workout Benefits
  • How are AMRAP Workouts Different Than a HIIT Workout?
  • Things to Remember During an AMRAP Workout
  • 13 AMRAP workouts to Try
  • Barbell AMRAP Workout
  • AMRAP Workouts with Dumbbells
  • Bodyweight Strength AMRAP Workout
  • Medicine Ball AMRAP Workout
  • AMRAP Workouts: Crossfit
  • Plyometric AMRAP Workout
  • Kettlebell AMRAP Workout
  • AMRAP Core Workout

What is an AMRAP Workout Meaning?

AMRAP itself stands for “As Many Rounds As Possible”, or “As Many Reps As Possible”. AMRAP in and of itself is not the workout.

Think of it as the framework or a structure for many different variations of workouts that you can do. It’s plug and play, as long as you are sticking to the same structure of the workout, but don’t worry. We’ll get more into that later.

The cliff notes version is that an AMRAP workout using “rounds” will usually include a number of different movements or exercises that make up a circuit. A set amount of time will be chosen for the AMRAP circuit, say 12 minutes.

After starting the clock, you will perform one set from each exercise using a pre-determined amount of reps before moving to the next exercise. You will continue the circuit repeatedly until the 12 minutes is up.

For the “Reps” version, this might only include one exercise that you keep doing until time is up. The other option is to not move on to the next exercise until you can no longer perform another rep of your current exercise.

How long does an AMRAP workout last?

As I alluded to above, the time can vary and is totally customizable, but traditionally, the AMRAP workout will last between 3 minutes and 60 minutes. The most common length is between 10 and 30 minutes.

As a quick example. Let’s set up a quick AMRAP workout.

We will pick three different sets of exercises:

  • 15 pushups
  • 10 pull-ups
  • 10 Squats

Now we need to choose a certain time for the workout. We set this AMRAP workout at 10 minutes. From here, start the timer and without stopping to rest, go through the full range of reps for each exercise and repeat until time expires.

That’s it. There is really nothing much more complicated than that to it.

Although, the key to making any AMRAP workout effective is the level of intensity spread evenly over the duration of the workout.

You might finish gasping for breath, lying on the ground, but you can congratulate yourself on completing a killer workout.

AMRAP Workout Benefits

Plyo box with kettlebell and medicine ball sitting on top of plyo box

Mental Toughness

You may not immediately think of improving your mental toughness when you hit the gym or start your workout, but the truth of the matter is that any workout—and especially an AMRAP workout—will require some toughness not only physically but mentally.

Remember, there is no rest while the clock is running. If you are only halfway done on time and wearing down, you are going to need to find that next gear to keep going and push through. In the end, you’ll be happier you did. You might even realize that you are capable of doing more than you thought possible.

AMRAP Workouts are Good for Beginners

AMRAP workouts can be structured for any fitness level. If you are a complete beginner, choose a set of exercises that you already know how to do, like pushups, jumping jacks, high-knees, mountain climbers, etc. None of these are technical in nature or difficult to perform.

If you are very out of shape, choose a set time that is near your limit. Whether that is 2 minutes or 20 minutes. It doesn’t matter. The goal is to push yourself and then continue to make progress.

Maybe you go for 2 minutes at a time this week, then next week you are ready to up it to 5 minutes. That’s the great thing about this type of workout. It’s very customizable for all fitness levels and experience.

AMRAP Workouts Can Be Done at Home

Most AMRAP workouts will include bodyweight movements that don’t require the use of a gym. This is great news for those without access to a gym or simply don’t have the time or the desire to go to the gym.

You may need to tailor your AMRAP workouts to only include these types of bodyweight and cardio exercises that you can do at home, because there are also sets that will use a dumbbell or barbell. But even this is not a deal-breaker, since more and more people are choosing a home gym set-up these days than a crowded gym.

AMRAP Circuit Workout for Burning Fat

AMRAP workouts and especially circuit workouts are very effective at burning calories, mainly due to the level of sustained intensity of the workout. In fact, the high intensity is also a contributing factor in what is called EPOC, or excessive post-exercise oxygen consumption. This is an elevation in metabolism that contributes to extra calories being burned even hours after you have completed your last workout.

Think of your metabolism like a hot stove. Even after the cooking is done, the stove still takes time to cool down. Your body also takes time to return to its rested state. This means that you are still going to be torching the calories in the form of fat long after the last set of exercises have been completed.

Building Muscle with AMRAP Workouts with Weights

It is possible to blend muscle building exercises within an AMRAP workout. This is where dumbbells and barbells enter the picture. For instance, take three “push” exercises, like the bench press, shoulder press and triceps extensions. All of these can be incorporated into an AMRAP workout.

Traditional gym workouts would look something like this. Do 6-8 reps on the bench press for 4 sets, resting 2-3 minutes in between sets. Go to the water fountain, get a drink. Come back and start the next exercise with the same rep and set pattern.

We can change this into an AMRAP workout by setting our time limit, like 10 minutes, lowering the weight and increasing reps. We can then cycle through as many rounds as possible between our push exercise like the bench press, shoulder press and triceps extensions.

If you don’t have access to free weights, try pushup variations, body squats, dips, lunges or burpees. All of these bodyweight exercises can help to build muscle too.

Burning Fat with AMRAP Workouts

As we spoke about before, an AMRAP workout is going to promote fat burning in and of itself because of the high intensity nature of the workout.

But you can take this one step further even. Try to add some explosive type exercises into your round to take the fat burn up a level and truly get your heart pumping. Here are a few examples of high intensity exercises:

  • Mountain climbers
  • High knees
  • Squat jumps
  • Box jumps

How are AMRAP Workouts Different Than a HIIT Workout?

AMRAP and HIIT training overlap in several areas. Both focus heavily on high intensity, both use similar exercises (think high knees, burpees or sprinting) and they are both time-based. However, the main difference here is that where HIIT training uses set rest intervals in between periods of shorter, all-out exercise, AMRAP is continuous high intensity work without the rest intervals. One other main difference is that HIIT will use a set amount of working sets in its intervals before you hit the rest interval. An AMRAP workout can have a varying number of rounds, since you are doing as many as possible before the time is up. This is not to say that one is better than the other. HIIT is effective and is another tool in your fitness arsenal for you to use. But it’s important to know what the differences are between the two so you can decide when is the right time for an AMRAP workout or maybe a HIIT workout, depending on your current fitness goals.     HIIT Workouts: The Absolute Best Way to Burn Fat and Improve Fitness

Things to Remember During an AMRAP Workout

Consistent Pace You’re going to be tired during an AMRAP workout. It’s the name of the game. If you aren’t reaching what you feel is your limit, then you aren’t going hard enough. With that said, it’s important to pace yourself for these workouts. The longer the AMRAP workout, the more attention you need to place on proper pacing. Aim for a 70% effort level throughout the workout to start. You can also think of this as “comfortably hard”. A common mistake for beginners trying an AMRAP workout is that they start out way too fast and then crash before the time is up. How do you know what 70% feels like? Check out this post for some tips and pointers to figure out your ideal pace.   Time Keeping Normal AMRAP workouts will last anywhere from 3 to 60 minutes. But remember, the goal is to continuously work at a high intensity for the full amount of time. Make sure to keep the duration to a manageable amount of time that is still challenging. Controlled Breathing A big part of keeping pace during the workout is controlling our breathing. Getting into a good rhythm is easier when you’re breathing isn’t erratic. How can you do this? Here are some simple breathing techniques to try during your next AMRAP workout. Form is Key An AMRAP workout is focused on high intensity, but don’t let this take away from good form. Make sure that each rep of each exercise is done with the correct form at as high intensity as possible. This way you know that the exercise is working as intended. It’s easy to get caught up in going as fast as possible. When we do this, we will usually cut corners on proper form. Don’t do this. It’s better to slow down just a little and make sure you are performing each rep with proper form. This is especially true when we mix weights in with the workout. Record Your Results Recording the results from each workout is key to measuring and tracking progress. You will want to record how many reps of each exercise you do and how many rounds you are able to complete for a set amount of time.  This will come in handy over time as you see if you are improving and if you are ready to take things up a notch. We call this concept progressive overload, and it is the key to improving strength and conditioning.

13 AMRAP workouts to Try

Here are 13 different AMRAP workout ideas to give a shot. You pick the amount of time, then go for it. If you don’t know what some of the exercises are, don’t worry. There are videos and pictures included. Here we go. Cardio AMRAP Workout30 High Knees5 Burpees10 Tuck Jumps25 Mountain Climbers Burpee Example Tuck Jump ExampleTotal Body AMRAP15 Jump Lunges10 Pull ups30 Air Squats10 Push ups Air Squat Example Jump Lunge ExampleBarbell AMRAP Workout15 Barbell Bent Over Row10 Barbell Push Press10 Barbell Front Squat Bent Over Row Example Push Press Example Front Squat ExampleAMRAP Workouts with Dumbbells10 Dumbbell Hang Snatches12 Dumbbell Walking Lunges10 Dumbbell Overhead Squats Dumbbell Hang Snatch Example Dumbbell Overhead Squat ExampleBodyweight Strength AMRAP Workout15 Air Squats10 Diamond Push ups10 Walking lunge25 Bicycle Crunches10 Pull Ups10 Classic Push upsMedicine Ball AMRAP WorkoutEquipment Required: Medicine Ball 15 Wall Balls10 Burpees10 Jump Lunges15 Medicine Ball Russian Twist10 Medicine Ball Slams Wall Ball Example Russian Twist Example Ball Slam ExampleAMRAP Workouts: Crossfit“Cindy”5 pull ups10 push ups15 air squatsThis AMRAP is typically 20 minutes “Danny”Equipment Required: Barbell 30 Box Jumps20 Push Presses30 Pull upsThis AMRAP is typically 20 minutes “Christina”Equipment Required: Pull up Bar, Kettlebell, Barbell 9 Pull ups9 Squat Cleans9 Kettlebell Swings9 Toes-to-Bar9 Push Presses9 Burpees Squat Clean Example Kettlebell Swing Example Toes to Bar ExampleThis AMRAP is typically 20 minutes Jason Khalipa’s AMRAP Workout15 Squats15 Push ups15 Sit upsThis AMRAP is typically 20 minutes Plyometric AMRAP WorkoutEquipment Required: Plyo Box 15 Squat Jumps25 Jumping Jacks10 Side Lunges5 Box Jumps

Kettlebell AMRAP Workout

Equipment Required: Kettlebell

10 Pull ups
10 Push ups
15 Kettlebell Swings

AMRAP Core Workout

10 Sit ups
25 Mountain Climbers
10 Leg Lifts

AMRAP is a great way to bust through a fitness plateau or simple get started in your fitness journey. AMRAP come in many shapes and sizes and are very customizable. It’s easy to see why the AMRAP workout has become so popular.