AMRAP is one of the many acronyms CrossFit is known for in describing workouts.
The term has actually been around in weightlifting but not popularized until CrossFit boxes started using them in regularly.
These workouts are good for any level athlete from beginner to pro.
Some of the exercises sound harmless but when you do the workout, you find out quickly that you’re in for a very challenging one.
What Is AMRAP?
AMRAP is the acronym for As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible.
These workouts can go from 10 to 20 minutes and include one or more exercises.
The way they’re done is you perform a certain number of reps of each exercise and continue until the determined time.
Let’s say the workout calls for a 10 minute AMRAP of 10 pushups and 10 sit-ups.
You would perform the 10 pushups then the 10 sit-ups, then the 10 pushups again and so on. You would keep going until the 10 minutes are up.
With AMRAP, you take a rest when you need to; however, it’s not advisable to take more than a few seconds.
The workout is designed for you to keep going with minimal rest.
The way these workouts are scored is either by counting the total amount of repetitions. Or the number of rounds you did plus the number of repetitions of the unfinished round.
Continuing with the example above, let’s say you completed 3 rounds and on the last round you completed 10 pushups and 3 sit-ups.
Your score would be written down as either “73” or “3 + 13”.
You’re encouraged to write it down where you can reference it in the future. So when you do the same AMRAP, you can see how you’ve improved.
Benefits of AMRAP
AMRAPs are great when you’re looking for a fat burning workout.
When programed properly, you use both aerobic (with oxygen) and anaerobic (without oxygen) pathways.
It’s more fun than running on a treadmill like a hamster. Don’t you think?
Strength and Conditioning
If programed correctly, an AMRAP workout will help improve your strength and conditioning.
When including weight bearing exercises with cardio you get the best of both worlds.
Short or long time limit
Just like EMOMs, AMRAPs are great when you’re short on time and want to have an intense workout.
The difference is that AMRAPs are designed as the WOD so you probably won’t see it as a warm.
This is where the rubber meets the road. You have to push yourself mentally to get through an AMRAP no matter how many exercises you’re performing.
You have to keep going until the time is up. It doesn’t matter if it’s 5 minutes or 20.
At some point you may want to take a very long break or quit altogether but you can’t. There’s no quitting.
How often should you do AMRAPs?
AMRAPs are meant to mix up your regular routine not replace it. You might end up overtraining if you do AMRAPs continuously without breaking it up with EMOMs or a regular lifting routine.
Doing AMRAPs for four weeks is a good length of time. Think of it as a training modality.
They should also vary in time limit and number of exercises. So, you shouldn’t be doing the same AMRAP in one week.
Mix them up with different exercises, reps, and time limits.
What’s the difference between AMRAP and HIIT and Tabata?
Fixed time; fixed rest; fixed reps
AMRAP, HIIT, Tabata – what’s the difference? They are all hard workouts but they have differences.
Let’s take a look at all three and how the differ one from another.
HIIT (High Intensity/Intermittent Interval Training) is performing a high intensity exercise for a specified time limit followed by a low-intensity exercise for another specified time limit.
It always follows a 2:1 ratio of work to recovery. The total workout time varies and goes up to 30 minutes.
An example of a HIIT workout is a 30 seconds sprint with 15 seconds walking/jogging. The time can also be 40 seconds of work with 20 seconds of recovery.
Tabata is performing an exercise at maximum effort with a 10 second rest period for eight rounds.
This workout also follows the 2:1 ratio but it’s always eight rounds of 20 seconds of work followed by 10 seconds of rest.
You can do one Tabata workout or string two or more together.
An example of a Tabata workout is doing as many burpees as you can in 20 seconds and resting for 10 seconds. Repeating it eight times.
AMRAP has a fixed total time and can have fixed reps.
There is no designated rest period but you can take one if you need to.
It might seem easy looking at the workout on a board or paper but make no mistake that it’s a hard workout.
You’ll find a few examples below.
Below are 13 AMRAP workouts you can do to test your fitness level. They are:
10 minutes (ladder)
Do one rep of each exercise the first round, then two the second round, then three, etc. – going up one after every round.
20 Calorie Row
20 Double Unders
9 Wall Balls
15 Double Unders
1000 meter Row
15 Box Jumps
First 10 minutes: Pushups
Rest one minute
Second 10 minutes: Squats
Jason Khalipa, who won the title of Fittest Man on Earth at the 2008 CrossFit Games, created the following AMRAP:
Rich Froning, who became the first person to win the title of “Fittest Man on Earth” four times from 2011 -2014 in the CrossFit Games, does this AMRAP:
9 Front-squats (50 / 80 kg)
5 Shoulder to Overhead
Two CrossFit benchmark AMRAPS:
Hero WOD Zimmerman – AMRAP 25
11 Chest-to-bar pull-ups
2 Deadlifts (315 pounds)
10 Handstand push-ups
Cindy – AMRAP 20
Once you get a few under your belt, you can program your own.
You can make them as challenging as you want. Just don’t do complex exercises in an AMRAP.
Keep them simple to gain the most out of them.
If you want to use these workouts to keep track of your fitness progress, write them down or input them into an app that you can refer to at a later date.
When you do an AMRAP again you can compare it to your last score.