Pro Tip: AMRAP Workouts Push You to Go Even Harder

Photo: Getty Imgaes/Jacoblund
The first time a fitness trainer told the class we were doing AMRAPs, I went into panic mode. If you're not familiar, AMRAP stands for "as many reps as possible," which means you're about to kick your body into high gear and work. This puts you in charge of how much time you get to recover, because the faster you get done with the exercise sequence, the more time you have left to breathe... before you start all over again.

It's definitely intense, which is why you'll find AMRAP in so many HIIT workouts like Crossfit or Barry's Bootcamp, but it's a really effective way to push yourself to work harder. "AMRAP is a popular training method that results in muscle fatigue, or near failure," says Kate Lemere, an instructor at Barry's Bootcamp. "You'll do as many reps or sets as you can in a given period, and they're a fantastic way to progress any given drill by introducing both elements of intensity and frequency, thus recruiting all available motor units within your primary muscle driver."

So when you're working with AMRAP in a workout, time is your variable—so it "will push you to your limit and create an incredible burn and pump that you can feel," says Lemere. The AMRAP that I did the other day, for instance, involved cycling through seven reps of three different arm exercises within a minute, which repeated for about five minutes... so my speed determined my recovery. (I'm sweating again just thinking about it.) And you can do AMRAP in the middle of a workout, or as a hardcore finisher. "An AMRAP performed with perfect form is an incredible finisher for any workout," says Lemere.

Want to try an AMRAP workout for yourself? We've got two for you, courtesy of Lemere

Intraworkout AMRAP workout: As many reps as possible

  1. Squats: Three sets of 10
  2. Walking lunges: Two sets of 50 (25 per leg)
  3. Push-ups: Two sets of as many as possible
  4. Plank: 60 seconds

Finisher AMRAP workout: As many rounds as possible, for 20 minutes

  • 20 bicycle crunches (10 each side)
  • Glute bridges
  • 16 supermans (three count hold at the top)
  • 14 bicep curls
  • 12 overhead presses
  • 10 forward lunges (five on each side)
  • 8 push-ups
  • 6 squat jumps
  • 4 walk-outs
  • 2 burpees

Thirsty for more? See if you can handle this HIIT workout:

Also important in your workouts: Incorporating power into your fitness game for even more of a boost. And here's what trainers have to say about doing either cardio or strength training first

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