3 AMRAP Workouts You Can Do at Home

air squat AMRAP workout
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AMRAP workouts are straightforward, tough, and effective. The concept is simple—AMRAP stands for "as many reps as possible," or conversely, "as many rounds as possible." Either way, you're performing as many reps of a single exercise as you can in a pre-determined period of time, or as many rounds of several exercises as you can in a pre-determined period of time.

The beauty of the workout is in the simplicity of the format. "Performing workouts for AMRAP allows you to gradually enhance your strength and aerobic capacity with just your body weight," says CJ McFarland, the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for Onnit Academy Gym in Austin, TX. This is because the focus of each workout is on form and self-paced speed.

For example, if you complete an AMRAP today to see how many perfect repetitions of air squats you can complete in 60 seconds, and you do the same AMRAP next week and the week after that, you'll begin to see a gradual improvement in the number of repetitions you can complete while maintaining good form.

Of course, simply completing 60 seconds of air squats and calling it a day isn't an AMRAP in the most traditional application of the format. "It's recommended that you start with six to eight minutes of constant work," McFarland says, noting that most AMRAPs are set up in a circuit format where several exercises are performed back-to-back for the duration of the workout.

"Once you've achieved the adaptation to the workout, and you're used to maintaining sustained effort, you can move into a 10- to 15-minute range for each AMRAP."

Given the sheer number of exercises and combinations you can piece together to form an AMRAP, the possibilities are practically endless, but McFarland offers a few words of advice you can apply to any routine:

  1. Try to maintain a consistent pace throughout each AMRAP. It's normal to complete the first round or two at a fast pace, then to slow significantly as the workout progresses. Try to pace yourself, paying attention to your form and breath rate. "Keeping a consistent pace results in the most benefit from the sustained work," McFarland says.
  2. Use the same pre-determined AMRAP time for at least two sessions before adding time. By performing the exact same workout on at least two separate occasions, including the length of time you allot to complete the AMRAP, you'll be able to monitor your improvements. As in the example cited previously with 60-seconds of air squats, if you know how many reps or rounds you complete in your first attempt, you know what it'll take to beat your record the next time you attempt the routine.

If you're ready to give the format a try, McFarland offers the following AMRAP workout routines:

Body Weight AMRAP for Strength Capacity

"This circuit will enhance your general physical preparedness, or GPP, as the exercises selected each target the fundamental movement patterns, squat, hinge, push, pull, and lunge," McFarland says. See the exercises in action on YouTube:

  • Air Squat, 10 repetitions: Stand with your feet shoulder-distance apart. Press your hips back and bend your knees, dropping your glutes toward the floor. When your quads are parallel with the floor, press your hips forward and extend your knees. This is one repetition.
  • Pushup, 5 or 10 repetitions (keep the number consistent for the entire AMRAP): Start in a high pushup position with your palms under your shoulders, your legs fully extended. Bend your elbows and lower your chest toward the floor. When you're just shy of touching down, press through your palms and extend your elbows, returning to the starting position. This is one repetition.
  • Reverse Lunge, 3 or 5 repetitions per leg (keep the number consistent for the entire AMRAP): Stand tall, your feet hip-distance apart. Step your left leg backward, planting the ball of your foot with your left heel lifted. Bend both knees and lower left knee toward the ground. Just before it touches, press through your right heel and return to standing, bringing your left foot back to the starting position. This is one repetition. Complete all reps on one leg before switching sides.
  • Prone Y Lifts, 10 repetitions: Lie on your belly with your arms extended in front of your body, angled slightly outward as if forming a "Y," your palms facing each other. Keeping your shoulders lifted off the floor and your torso steady, lift both hands as high as you can from the ground, then lower them back down. This is one repetition.

Remember, if this is your first AMRAP attempt, set a timer for six or eight minutes and see how many circuits you can complete. The goal is to keep moving, so try not to rest or take breaks between exercises or rounds.

Body Weight AMRAP for Aerobic Capacity

If you're tired of traditional cardio workouts, McFarland suggests subbing in this AMRAP. "The exercises selected enable you to keep moving for an extended period of time with very little muscle fatigue," he says. See the exercises in action on YouTube:

  • Jumping Jacks, 10 repetitions: Start standing. Jump your feet out laterally as you swing your arms overhead. Jump your legs back to center as you bring your arms back to your sides. Continue as fast as you can to complete the reps.
  • Mountain Climbers, 10 repetitions per leg: Start in a pushup position on the floor, drawing one knee toward your chest, touching the same-side foot to the ground. Keeping your torso steady, jump both feet into the air, switching their positions. After touching down, immediately hop both feet back into the air, again switching positions. Continue as fast as you can to complete the reps.
  • Seal Jacks, 10 repetitions: Start standing. Jump your feet out laterally as you swing your arms wide, opening them up while keeping them parallel to the floor. Jump your legs back to center as you swing your arms to center in front of your body, clapping your palms together. Continue as fast as you can to complete the reps.
  • Squat Jumps, 10 repetitions: Start standing, feet hip-distance apart. Press your hips back and lower down into a squat. Explode upward, jumping into the air. Land softly with your knees and hips slightly bent. That's one rep. Continue as fast as you can to complete the reps with perfect form.

While it's typical to perform AMRAPs for just six to eight minutes when you're first starting out, there's some flexibility when approaching aerobic workouts. If you're in good aerobic condition, and often perform extended bouts of cardio or high-intensity interval training, feel free to increase the length of time for this AMRAP to 10 or 15 minutes. You could even rest after performing it once, then repeat it a second time.

Body Weight AMRAP for Mobility

The goal of mobility workouts is to take you to the end of your range of motion to assist with flexibility and, ultimately, to enhance your movement patterns and reduce pain associated with inflexible joints. "It's common to choose exercises or machines that restrict joint movement, which can cause a loss in joint integrity," McFarland says. "This circuit will allow you to train close to the end of your range of motion, doing just enough to help keep your joints healthy." See the exercises in action on YouTube:

  • Squat to Stand, 5 repetitions: Start standing, feet shoulder-width apart. Fold forward, reaching your hands to the floor between your legs. This is the starting position. Keeping your torso relatively straight, bend your knees and press your hips back to a squat position, your hands still on the ground. Extend your legs and return to the starting position. This is one repetition.
  • Prone Shoulder Handcuffs, 10 repetitions: Lie on your belly on the ground, your arms extended in front of you, palms facing each other. Engage your core and keeping your arms straight, sweep them out laterally to your sides, then down toward your hips, as if you were being handcuffed, working through your full range of motion. Reverse the movement and sweep your hands back in front of you, tapping your fingers together. This is one repetition.
  • Rollover to V-Sit, 5 repetitions: Sit on the ground, knees bent and together, heels touching the floor. Roll onto your back, gaining momentum, and as you roll forward with control, straddle your legs onto the ground and reach your hands directly in front of you, touching the ground at the end of your range of motion. Immediately roll backward again, bringing your knees back to center. This is one repetition.
  • Scapular Pushups, 10 repetitions: Start in a high plank position, palms on the ground under your shoulders, legs extended. Squeeze your shoulder blades together, dropping your chest slightly between your shoulders, then draw your shoulder blades apart, causing your chest to rise as your back widens. This is one repetition.

A Full AMRAP Routine

Of course, if you're looking for a well-rounded routine, you could perform each of McFarland's AMRAPs on the same day. Simply do a quick warmup to increase your body temperature, then start with the aerobic capacity AMRAP, aiming for an eight to 10-minute circuit. Take a two- to five-minute break, depending on your fitness level, then perform the strength capacity AMRAP for six to eight minutes. When you're done, take another short break, and finish with the mobility AMRAP, completing it in six to eight minutes. The total work adds up to less than 30 minutes, but you'll have challenged your strength, endurance, and mobility all in a single routine. Not bad for a day's work.