What AMRAP Means and Why It Works

All of the acronyms that come with the fitness community can get pretty confusing, and AMRAP is no exception. What does AMRAP mean, and is it any good?

Put simply, AMRAP stands for “as many reps (or rounds) as possible”. AMRAP exercises can help you burn calories and build muscle, and they add some extra structure to your workout routines.

While AMRAP is great for some types of lifters, it’s not meant for everyone. Below, I’ll help you figure out if you’re a lifter that should stay away from them or one that would love them.

Are AMRAP Exercises Effective?

These types of exercises are often done within a certain amount of time, for example, “30 seconds of AMRAP”. Because you’re doing as much as you physically can, it pushes up your heart rate and burns calories.

It can also be easier to track your workouts. When you’re using a set amount of time, you can use the number of reps that you do to gauge your progress.

While that sounds great, it can start to get dangerous. If you’re trying to fit as many reps as possible into a short period of time, it can cause your form to suffer. When you neglect your form, it almost always gives you worse results.

Poor form is also a recipe for an injury. Form is there for a reason, and if you’re going to do AMRAP, make sure that you aren’t forgetting your form.

AMRAP exercises are great for people that are just trying to stay in shape and are mainly done by people that do CrossFit. They usually burn too many calories for weightlifters and powerlifters, whose goals are to build muscle, not burn calories. Burning calories is the enemy of muscle building. This isn’t to say burning calories is bad, it’s just not for everybody.

I’ll go over each of these pieces below, more in-depth. Overall though, AMRAP is great for a lot of people, like CrossFitters, although it’s not a weightlifter or powerlifter’s first choice.

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Advantages of AMRAP Routines

Man doing AMRAP workouts.

AMRAP exercises do have a lot of advantages, but they also have their disadvantages. It’s up to you and your goals to figure out if it’s worth it. Here are some of the advantages:

AMRAP Routines Burn Calories

Because you’re doing so many reps or rounds of a workout within a short period, it burns your calories faster than regular weightlifting or powerlifting. This is great for some people, but not everybody’s in the gym to burn calories.

Improves Your Cardio System

As you’re burning all of those calories, it’s getting your blood moving. This means that your heart, as well as lungs, are improving as well.

AMRAP Can Help Track and Plan Workouts

Because you’re tracking the amount of reps you’re doing in a certain amount of time, it’s easy to track your workout. You know exactly how many reps you got last time, and you can easily set a rep goal for your next workout session.

You’re Competing Against Yourself

When you do an AMRAP workout, you’re competing against your own last workout. This is good for people that don’t want to compete against other people’s numbers and achievements. Competing against yourself is a good way to set new goals and break your own limits.

Your Muscles Are Pushed to the Max

As I said before, AMRAP means as many reps as possible. Sometimes, this means doing reps until you can’t lift anymore. When you do this, you’re pushing your muscles until they can’t lift anymore. This is great for hypertrophy, which is how you get bigger muscles.

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Disadvantages of AMRAP Exercises

Woman doing an AMRAP crossfit exercise.

AMRAP exercises have a lot of disadvantages, especially if you’re a weightlifter or powerlifter. If you do CrossFit or are a more casual gym-goer, you may be more suited for them. Here are some of those disadvantages:

Increased Risk Of Injury

As I just mentioned, with AMRAP, you’re doing all the reps that you can. Putting your body under this much stress can be risky, and you can hurt yourself if you push your body too far.

While AMRAP exercises can be great, make sure to keep safety as a priority. Injury is far too common in the gym, so you should take every step you can to be safe.

Your Form (And Results) Might Suffer

With traditional weightlifting, you’re supposed to do a certain amount of sets and reps, with no real time constraints. When you do AMRAP’s, you’re trying to crunch all of those reps into a small time period.

Because you’re trying to fit those reps within a certain time, it can be easy to neglect your form. Poor form not only causes you to not make as much progress but also greatly increases your risk of injury. If you want to do AMRAP’s, make sure you’re paying attention to your form as well.

AMRAP Routines Burn Calories

Man doing a crossfit routine and burning calories.

Burning calories isn’t something most weightlifters and powerlifters are worried about. This being said, it’s the focus of many other types of fitness enthusiasts.

AMRAP exercises get your heart rate a lot higher than traditional lifting, which means that alongside improving your cardiovascular system, they burn calories. This is good if your goal is to lose weight or become healthier overall, but it’s not great if you’re trying to put on muscle.

Since you’re pushing your muscles as far as they can go with AMRAP exercises, you’re using up a lot of your body’s energy, which means you’re burning calories.

As I mentioned, most weightlifters aren’t trying to burn calories while they’re lifting. For this reason, AMRAP exercises don’t work for most lifters, but they do work for crossfitters.

Crossfit’s goal, compared to traditional lifting, is to be healthier and have a better lifestyle. This means that burning calories is not only okay but it’s kind of the goal.

While AMRAP exercises aren’t for everyone, they work for crossfitters, or anyone who’s working out to burn calories and lose weight.

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3 Examples of Simple AMRAP Routines

Once again, regular weightlifters and powerlifters probably shouldn’t do AMRAP exercises. This being said, if you’re a crossfitter or want to lose weight, they can be great. Here are a few examples of AMRAP exercises:

Respiratory Training AMRAP Routine:

This exercise is meant to train your lungs and heart, and you don’t need any equipment other than your body. In this specific exercise, you’re doing as many rounds as possible, not reps.


  • 100 High Knees
  • 10 Diamond Pushups
  • 50 Tuck Jumps
  • 10 Side Lunges
  • 10 Burpees
  • 10 Sit-ups

Time: 12 Minutes

Instructions: Set a timer for 12 minutes, and go down the list doing each of these exercises. When you finish the list, start again at the top, and repeat until the timer is up.

Total Body AMRAP Routine

This routine is meant to train your whole body, and get you in shape overall.


  • 30 Double Unders
  • 10 Pull-Ups
  • 20 Jump Lunges
  • 15 Push-Ups
  • 10 Hanging Leg Raises

Time: 12 Minutes

Instructions: Once again, set a timer for 12 minutes, and go through this list as many times as possible before the timer runs out.

Ten Minute AMRAP

This is a great AMRAP routine to build lower body strength.


  • 25 Mountain Climbers
  • 5 Squat Cleans
  • 10 Wall Balls

Time: 10 Minutes

Instructions: Set a timer for 10 minutes this time, and go through the list of exercises as many times as you can.

Quick note: I don’t actually do any AMRAP exercises myself, so I had to look elsewhere for these routines. I got these examples from hereOpens in a new tab. and hereOpens in a new tab., respectively. I don’t own these routines, and I don’t take any credit for them.

Related Questions

What Are the Benefits of Amrap Exercises? AMRAP exercises burn calories, help you track your workouts, and push your muscles to their limits. They’re not for everybody, but for some, like crossfitters, they’re great.

Is AMRAP a HIIT? Yes, AMRAP exercises are a form of HIIT workouts. HIIT stands for high-intensity interval training and is another common workout type for crossfitters.

What Does Metcon Mean? Metcon stands for metabolic conditioning, and it’s another type of crossfit training. Although it’s not the same as AMRAP, it has the same concept with repeated rounds of any certain exercise.

Pete Schenkel

My name is Pete Schenkel, and I've been into weightlifting since I was a teenager. Now, my main focus is growing Powerful Lifting and putting more information out there. In fact, I'm also currently working on becoming a certified personal trainer.

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