AMRAP can stand for either “As Many Rounds As Possible” or “As Many Reps As Possible”, and is a core concept within CrossFit. The point of an AMRAP is to perform as many rounds or repetitions of a particular exercise or routine as possible during a specific time frame.
Benefits of AMRAP Workouts
AMRAP workouts are versatile and have a number of benefits that make them a popular mainstay in CrossFit. Below are a few of the key advantages you can experience by using the AMRAP protocol.
- Can be Scaled for Anyone – Regardless of your fitness level, whether you are a CrossFit veteran or total newbie, AMRAPs can be scaled to meet your needs. As your fitness level improves or your technique becomes smoother, the AMRAP can be adjusted accordingly.
- Maximize Calorie Burn – By pushing your body’s limits, it uses up the carbohydrates that it can quickly access. This triggers biochemical responses that lead to muscle growth and more efficiency.
- No Equipment Needed – An AMRAP workout is an ideal structure to follow when you want a workout that focuses solely on using your bodyweight – no CrossFit gear necessary. This flexibility means that you can fit in a workout while you’re traveling without having to find a gym.
- Easily Track Workouts – With the AMRAP protocol, you can easily track your progress as you increase the reps or rounds of each exercise. By tracking the number each time you exercise, it demonstrates your progress over time.
Example AMRAP CrossFit Workouts
Below are a few examples of CrossFit WODs that use AMRAP. These are designed to give you an idea of the flexibility and versatility available to you when implementing the AMRAP structure.
- Five Minutes, One Exercise – This AMRAP has you completing as many burpee reps as possible over the course of five minutes. While it’s a simple AMRAP that you can do almost any time and anywhere, this structure is highly effective.
- 10 Minutes, Three Exercises – Exercise one is 10 burpees, exercise two is 15 pushups, and exercise three is 5 pullups. During this circuit, you’ll complete each exercise in order, one after the other. The goal is to continually repeat the workout and rest only when and as long as you have to.
- 15 Minutes, Four Kettlebell Exercises – For 15 minutes, try to do as many rounds of these four kettlebell exercises. Exercise one: five front squat reps, exercise two, five bent over row reps, exercise three, five cleans reps, and exercise four is five reps of swings.
How to Score an AMRAP
Scoring an AMRAP means tracking both the rounds you’ve completed as well as the rep where you were when the timer sounded. If you’re using weights, add up the total amount of weight you used before multiplying that number by the reps you did. If you needed to drop back to a lower weight partway through the AMRAP, the lowest weight is used in scoring.
Maintaining Form in AMRAP Workouts
Because an AMRAP workout is challenging yourself against your previous performance, you’ll be tempted to go faster and faster at the expense of form and technique. Not only is this is a recipe for injury, but you also won’t be getting the full benefits of the workout itself.
Instead, stick to simple movements and exercises. Have someone periodically check your form — even if you’ve been doing CrossFit for a while. Sometimes an improper technique will sneak into your routine without you being aware of it.
Using AMRAP To Track Progress
With AMRAP, you are competing only against yourself. Even if you are exercising with a buddy or as part of a group, you use AMRAPs to track the progress you’ve made since you last did a particular exercise or circuit.
In order to do this, you’ll need to keep an accurate log to track “PR” (personal record) of every detail of your workouts. The reps or rounds of the AMRAP, the time allotted, any changes in the weight you used, and how long you rested.
Tabata Intervals with AMRAPs
A workout of the day (WOD) with a particular AMRAP specified can be based on short intervals known as a Tabata. A Tabata consist of eight intervals in all. Each of these intervals is made up of 20 seconds of exercise followed by a 10 second rest period.
During every 20 seconds of exercising, you complete as many reps of that particular exercise. The Tabata might consist of switching exercises after every rest period or you could focus on one exercise for all eight intervals. In some cases, such as if you’re running hard or maintaining a plank for 20 seconds before resting for 10 seconds, the Tabata interval might not follow the format of an AMRAP.
AMRAP vs HIIT
AMRAP and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) has many similarities, but they also differ in some ways as well.
With HIIT, you have set intervals of both exercise and rest. You reach 85 to 95 percent of your max heart rate by doing short bursts of exercises. This is followed by a set rest, or active rest, period. You continue this routine for a specified number of sets.
AMRAP, on the other hand, is more tailored to your particular needs. There are no set intervals of rest or exercise. You simply compete against the clock and complete as many rounds or reps of a particular exercise as possible. With AMRAP, too, you rest only when you feel that you need to.
It’s easy to see why AMRAP is such a vital part of CrossFit. Few other protocols are as adaptable and flexible as an AMRAP!