What Is An AMRAP Workout? (Plus: Some Famous Examples)

AMRAP (As Many Reps As Possible) is one of the most common metabolic workout formats set to deliver high amounts of volume, training stimulus, and calorie expenditure in a very, very short amount of time. 

In this article, we will break down what AMRAPs are and why some of the world’s fittest humans are doing them to build muscle, burn fat, and build serious work capacity.

What Is An AMRAP Workout?

AMRAP, which stands for “As Many Reps As Possible” is a metabolic style workout usually consisting of a few exercises done in a repeated fashion for an established time domain.

Why Do AMRAP Workouts?

Below are five (5) reasons why AMRAP-style workouts can help you improve your overall fitness, competitive performance, and mental outlook during hard sessions.

Measurable Results

AMRAPs offer us a workout that can be standardized and repeated on a consistent basis, making it great for helping us compare our previous efforts with our future. In doing so, we are able to not only gauge our level of progress retrospectively, but can also use these benchmark workouts as “testing” protocols throughout a training cycle (assuming the workout is testing what you are looking to improve), comparing an athlete’s own performance with themselves and others.

Increase Work Capacity

In a previous article we discussed EMOM-based workouts and their ability to systematically improve work capacity. Like the EMOM, the AMRAP can deliver high amounts of training volume in short amounts of time. By challenging oneself to be consistent in their work output while still being able to recovery can help to improve overall fitness and work capacity (in general, but also specific to the movements in the workout). This can be helpful for athletes and coaches looking to attack certain movements that may be a weakness in one’s fitness.

Refine Breathing and Pacing

Within the work capacity domain, understanding how to breathe correctly and pace oneself is key to produce sustained, unwavering effort. Seasoned athletes are very good at understanding the different tiers of intensity at which they can move for a given workout/movement, which enables them to stay in tune with breathing, heart rates, and pacing. This is not only key for competitive fitness athletes, but most individuals looking to perform quality work outputs, and more of it, for longer periods of time.

Time Efficient

If you take a look at the below AMRAPs, you will quickly see that most of them are around 20-minutes, yet have the ability to deliver a complete workout in a very short amount of time (assuming you are willing and able to push yourself). AMRAPs are a great way to train high amounts of volume, develop greater cardiovascular fitness, and enhance muscle endurance in a very short amount of time.

Test Mental Fitness

Mental fitness is something that must be developed through arduous training, constant practice, and awareness during those trying times. AMRAPS, like EMOMs, provide an athlete with an opportunity to settle into a workout flow, establish consistent breathing patterns, and become more aware of one’s movement and mind. If an athlete can learn to establish better mental awareness during training they are often more likely to be able to push themselves farther, herder, and to do so with greater mental control.

Famous AMRAP Workouts (and a new one)

We thought it would be best to ask really fit people which AMRAP workouts they loved the most, and why. Below are six (6) different AMRAP workouts that are used by some of the world’s fittest individuals to build work capacity, fitness, and mental grit!

“Nate”

Ryan Fischer, 5x CrossFit Regionals Athlete (Individual) and Owner of Chalk Performance Training, is a big fan of “Neal”, simply stating, “It keeps you moving pretty consistently.” The goal of this workout is to move fluid, be fast, and don’t stop.

20-Minute AMRAP

  • 2 Muscle Ups
  • 4 Handstand Push Ups
  • 8 American Kettlebell Swings (32/24kg)

“Mary”

Kari Pearce, 4x CrossFit Games Athlete (Individual, 6th Place Finish in 2018) shared with us that one of her favorite AMRAPs is “Mary”, which is jam packed with bodyweight movements in a well-balanced push, pull, and squat workout.

20-Minute AMRAP

  • 5 Handstand Push Ups
  • 10 Pistol Squats (alternating)
  • 15 Pull Ups

“Cindy”

Deanna Gibaldi Swedish, 2x CrossFit Games Team Athlete (CrossFit Queens) recommends “Cindy” as a great AMRAP for all levels to compete against themselves and one another. “I personally love that Cindy is achievable and very basic. It always challenges me to attack and try to beat my previous personal best. It also is a long enough time domain to allow me to focus and channel my energy, forcing me to stay calm during the moment.” Deanna went on to add that Cindy is a great workout to do with friends, both new and seasoned athletes.

20-Minute AMRAP

  • 5 Pull Ups
  • 10 Push Ups
  • 15 Air Squats

“Grunt Work”

Marcus Filly, 4x CrossFit Games Athlete (3x Individual, 1x Team) shared with us one of his homemade AMRAPs jam packed with some functional fitness movements. Marcus recommends this one as it includes a good amount of skill work paired with good ol’ fashioned grunt work.

45-Minute AMRAP

  • 50m Sandbag Bear Hug Carry (150/100lbs)
  • 4 Rope Climbs
  • 30m Sled Push (400/300lbs)
  • 2 Turkish Get Ups, per arm (70/54lbs)
  • 10m Handstand Walk

“3 Ladies (Karen, Isabel, and Cindy)”

Liz Adams, 6x CrossFit Regionals Athlete (4x Individual, 2x Team), shared with us one of her absolute favorite AMRAPs off all her training. The entire 30-minute workout includes a wide array of classic AMRAPs. Liz stated, “I love the long grind ones because it often comes down to mental toughness. Gotta keep moving in the middle piece with the 15 wall balls, as it gets really sucky even though 15 wall balls doesn’t seem like that many). It’s a great combo of grunt work, endurance, and muscular endurance.”

30-Minute AMRAP

  • 1000m Run
  • 40 Thrusters (empty barbell)
  • 30 Pull Ups

Then, with remaining time, perform 10 Rounds of Karen-Isabel.

  • 3 Snatches (135/95lbs)
  • 15 Wall Balls

Then, with additional remaining time (of the initial 30-minutes), perform Cindy (see above).

  • 5 Handstand Push Ups
  • 10 Pistol Squats (alternating)
  • 15 Pull Ups

“Sage (aka Sage at 20)”

Alex Anderson, 4x CrossFit Regionals Athlete (Individual, 10th Place Finish in 2018) recalled Sage as one of the harder AMRAPs he could remember. Sage is a straightforward workout, filled with staple CrossFit movements to build work capacity, mental grit, and fitness.

20-Minute AMRAP

  • 20 Thrusters (135/95lbs)
  • 20 Pull Ups
  • 20 Burpees

Featued Image: @marcusfilly via @ghitta94 on Instagram

Mike Dewar

Mike Dewar

Mike holds a Master’s in Exercise Physiology and a Bachelor’s in Exercise Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and is the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach at New York University. Mike is also the Founder of J2FIT, a strength and conditioning brand in New York City that offers personal training, online programs, and has an established USAW Olympic Weightlifting club.

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