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The Importance of Including AMRAP Workouts in Your Fitness Routine

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  • Post last modified:September 25, 2023

If you have an ongoing list of ambiguous fitness lingo (think: EMOM, WOD, HIIT, EPOC) and their definitions in your Notes app, it’s time to write down another confusing acronym that you’ll likely encounter on numerous workout plans. The term: AMRAP.

But what does AMRAP mean exactly, and why is it a valuable addition to your fitness routine? To get answers to all of your pressing questions, refer to this guide on AMRAP workouts, which explains the fundamental meaning of AMRAP and the key advantages of this training style. Additionally, you’ll discover AMRAP workouts that will aid you in achieving any fitness objective.

What Is AMRAP?

AMRAP stands for “as many rounds as possible” or “as many reps as possible,” depending on how you incorporate it into your workout. In an AMRAP workout centered around rounds, you might choose four to six exercises, a specific number of repetitions for each movement, and a predetermined amount of time (consider five to 20 minutes). Subsequently, you’ll complete as many rounds of these exercises as you can within that timeframe, as explained by Melissa Kendter, an ACE-certified trainer, functional training specialist, and EvolveYou coach.

However, in an AMRAP workout focusing on repetitions, you might select one exercise and a brief timespan (for example, 30 seconds to two minutes) and attempt to perform as many reps of that particular movement as possible during that period, adds Nikki Elliott, a fitness instructor at Equinox and co-founder of ELAVI, a protein snack company. After taking a short break, you can perform a second round of that exercise and then repeat the process with a new movement. Elliott explains that round-style AMRAP workouts are most commonly used in fitness classes and online workouts.

Regardless of the type of AMRAP workout, the objective remains the same: ensure you continue to move through each exercise, use a weight that challenges you, and prioritize maintaining proper form, which is always the most important aspect of any workout program, according to Elliott.

The Advantages of AMRAP Workouts

They’re flexible.

There’s no definitive way to structure an AMRAP workout, so they can be customized to help you achieve any fitness goal, notes Kendter. For instance, you can incorporate heavy weights if you aim to make significant strength gains or engage in plyometric exercises if you desire a cardio-focused workout, she suggests.

In the same vein, Elliot mentions that you have the option to train your whole physique or concentrate on only a specific set of muscles.

AMRAP workouts don’t have to be high intensity, either, says Elliott. “It can be lower intensity without any wild, leaping, plyometric moves,” she explains. “I think it’s a fantastic way to structure a low-intensity workout, to get an incredible full-body program that doesn’t force you to leap off the floor or do anything that may start to cause lower back pain.” And if you don’t have access to all the bells and whistles, you can structure your AMRAP workout around just one piece of exercise equipment, says Michelle Razavi, a fitness and yoga instructor at Equinox and ELAVI’s co-founder. “If I have a med ball or a bench, I can do three to five exercises just using that,” she says. “It can also help if you’re traveling or you don’t have that much access to equipment at a gym.”

Not to mention, they’re multi-functional. AMRAP workouts can be used as a brief warm-up that gets your body prepped for the real deal, a 20-minute workout that trains your whole body, or a “metabolic burst” at the end of a workout before you cool down, says Elliott. “AMRAP doesn’t have a set of guidelines or rules that should be followed,” she explains. “…It has a place in so many different areas and you absolutely have the freedom to incorporate it however you like.”

You can go at your own pace.

Unlike HIIT workouts, AMRAP workouts don’t have fixed work periods and rest periods (think: 30 seconds on, 30 seconds off), so you’re able to take a breather when — and for the amount of time — you need. “That’s how it can be tailored to any fitness level and any person because you can go at your own pace or adjust the exercises as needed until the clock runs out,” says Kendter.

That said, the clock ticking does hold you accountable, and it encourages you to keep moving rather than scroll through Instagram for five minutes in between sets. “So many people give themselves the opportunity to stop and then they take too long of a rest, and then it’s harder to get back into it,” says Elliott. “I think these shorter, bite-sized workouts like an AMRAP really keep you moving at a good pace and let you get a good workout in a more efficient amount of time.”

They build muscular endurance.

By powering through countless reps of thrusters, mountain climbers, or push-ups during an AMRAP workout, you’ll help build muscular endurance — a muscle group’s ability to perform repeated contractions over a period of time, according to the American Council on Exercise.

The greater number of repetitions you can execute before experiencing fatigue, the greater extent of muscular stamina you possess, studies suggest. Amidst exercises or daily tasks (contemplate: transporting heavy groceries up to your fifth-floor apartment), possessing an elevated level of muscular stamina implies that your body will not feel as worn-out as swiftly, and you will be capable of employing less energy to accomplish the assigned undertaking, Corinne Croce, D.P.T., SoulCycle’s in-house physical therapist, formerly conveyed to Shape.

They function as a benchmark.

Apart from providing you with an outstanding exercise routine that aligns with your abilities and requirements, AMRAP workouts also enable you to assess how your fitness is progressing, states Kendter. If you are embarking on a new workout program or intensifying your existing one, you can commence by pushing through an AMRAP workout and documenting the number of rounds or repetitions you completed, the amount of weight you utilized, and your post-workout sensations. Subsequently, after a span of eight to 12 weeks, you can repeat that identical AMRAP workout and take note of how those figures and sensations have transformed, she elucidates.

Even if you accomplished fewer repetitions or rounds the second time around, there are still lessons to be learned from your AMRAP workout outcomes. “Perhaps the repetitions decreased compared to the last time, but [attempt to] comprehend why and assess the condition of your body,” says Elliott. “Is it due to having particularly intense workouts this week? Have you obtained enough sleep? This also aids in considering other factors that can affect your workout. Keeping track of those things is crucial in comprehending how your body reacts to external factors beyond the workout.”

The Finest AMRAP Workouts

To enhance endurance and put your muscles to the trial, contemplate incorporating these AMRAP workouts into your regimen. Whether you require a brief and intense warm-up or a comprehensive full-body training session that you can execute at home, you have various choices.

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