A few weeks ago, we dove deep into the world of High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts, which are very beneficial (and very tough) circuit training workouts. We got a lot of awesome responses and questions from people who, between taking deep, heaving breaths and wiping sweat away as a result of trying HIIT, wanted to know more about these fantastically exhausting exercises.
To go even further, today we want to show people a type of HIIT workout that we think you, just like us, will be big fans of. This is a type of HIIT workout known as AMRAP, which stands for As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible. Just like HIIT workouts we’ve already shown you, AMRAPs are designed to not only give you an awesome, muscle-building, fat-shredding workout, but they’re created to optimize your time by getting a solid workout fast.
Heck, HIIT and AMRAP workouts are so dedicated to saving you time, they don’t even make you say their full names. Just one or two syllables nicely packaged in an anagram and you’re moving on with your day.
In a second, we’re going to show you our top 5 AMRAP workouts that are going to have you howling for mercy. But first let’s get more acquainted with this niche workout style.
Here’s a simple guide to create and follow an AMRAP workout:
- Select one or more exercises for your workout (i.e., a push-up). If you chose more than one, create a small circuit with fixed order and number of reps per exercise (i.e., push-ups, pull-ups, v-ups, repeat).
- Set a fixed amount of time. Preferably using a stopwatch.
- Perform As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible in this time period. Good form is, of course, essential.
- Rest as needed during the workout.
So how does AMRAP differ from other HIIT methods?
Well, as we said, AMRAP workouts are a subset of HIIT. It really differs in two major ways:
- With typical circuit training, two or more exercises are necessary, and most workouts have at least a handful or more. With AMRAP, you’re free to choose as few workouts as you want (well, not zero … that seems unproductive). But say you just wanted to focus on your push-ups, you can simply do multiple sets of them without having to incorporate any other exercises.
- A regular circuit workout is going to have a fixed number of reps and sets to be performed during the workouts. An AMRAP workout has, instead, a fixed time frame. So for example, instead of starting a set where the goal is twenty push-ups, your goal is as many push-ups as you can in twenty seconds. Also, regular circuit workouts have a standard break time, while in AMRAP workouts you are going to rest as necessary. But don’t take that for granted! You still need to push yourself.
So which is better, you may be asking? Well, it’s not that one is better than the other. They’re just different options that can help you based on what you’re looking to achieve. AMRAP workouts can be more adaptable and target different qualities, while circuit training is mostly going to help you with muscular and cardiovascular endurance and agility.
If you like both of them, you can always combine them. The most well-known circuit-AMRAP combination is Tabata, which we also recently covered!
Like we said, one of the best parts about AMRAP is it’s going to fully optimize your workout time. If you think you need to spend hours working out for big-time results, think again! As you’re about to see in our top-5 list, you can get an awesome workout in as little as ten minutes! So the age-old excuse of “not having time to work out” can be squashed once and for all.
Now, the reason you’re going to be able to save so much time is because, in an AMRAP workout, you’re going to be getting a cardiovascular and muscular endurance workout — at the same time! In a typical workout, this would require at least two different exercises. But AMRAP is so intense you’ll be pushing yourself to exhaustion constantly and therefore target both qualities at once.
Though, that’s just it — you need to really push yourself if you’re going to make AMRAP work for you. We won’t say you need to push yourself to the point where you’re puking into a bucket, but you should be absolutely drained when you’re finished. So you’re going to have to push through and harness some serious mental toughness. The more you practice and push yourself, the more mentally tough you become. And we’re big on the idea that developing mental toughness in exercise bleeds over to every facet of life. So this is going to do more for you than just shed fat (which, by the way, it also does).
Finally, AMRAP gives you the freedom to target the results you want. If, for example, your goal was to build your conditioning, you would implement exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, or anything else you can do in a high number of reps. It’s all up to you!
The Top 5
Before you try any of these, while it’s important to push yourself, it’s even more important to listen to your body. There’s a big difference in feeling like you don’t think you can do another push-up and feeling like you’re going to pass out. Recognize your limits. Again, one of the great things about AMRAP is that you can rest as needed. There’s no time limit. Look no further than the videos themselves. Even the instructors need a breath every now and then.
The following workouts are going to utilize most (if not all) of your body, so you need to make sure you’re loose from head to toe. Try this simple, two-minute warm up to make sure you’re ready to go:
- Jumping Jacks — 15
- Arm Circles — 10 forward (small), 10 backward (small), 5 forward (big), 5 backward (big)
- Bodyweight Squats — 10
- Push Ups — 10
- Oblique twists — 8/side (stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands on hips, turn in a controlled motion while keeping your hips forward)
Alright, take a look at these, give them a shot, and let us know which ones wore you out! And if you’ve got a great AMRAP routine that you have either seen or created yourself, we’d love to hear about it, so let us know in the comments.
5) 10-minute full-body workout
4) 8 Minute AMRAP workout
3) Ab AMRAP Workout
2) Lower Body AMRAP Workout
1) Navy SEAL AMRAP Workout