The main goal of an AMRAP workout is to do a set list of moves as many times as you can in a set amount of time.
The R in AMRAP can mean both rounds or reps, but you’re getting the same benefits no matter which way you look at it. If you’re given a workout with a list of moves and rep counts for each, and told do it AMRAP, then you’d do as many rounds as possible, while following the rep count for each move. If the workout gives you time intervals for each move, and tells you to do it AMRAP, then that means to do as many reps as you can in that time frame. With both methods, you’re supposed to take a break and catch your breath only when you need it, to keep the intensity high.
AMRAP workouts are great for tracking your fitness gains and seamlessly progressing your workouts as you get stronger. CrossFit is known for its AMRAP-style workouts. If you’re doing the moves correctly and really pushing yourself to do better each time, you should notice you’re able to fit in more rounds (or reps) over time.
Physiologically, AMRAP workouts can help you maximize calorie burn in a short amount of time. While AMRAP workouts don’t have set high- and low-intensity intervals like high-intensity interval training workouts do, they’re typically considered high intensity. It makes sense: If your goal is to get in more rounds or reps than last time, you’re pushing yourself pretty intensely. You should always listen to your body and stop and take a break when you really need it, and over time, you’ll need less rest and you'll be able to keep the intensity up for longer.
AMRAP is also a great structure for at-home workouts, and can be done with just your body weight. Since adding more rounds or reps is a way to progress a workout and continually challenge your body, you don’t necessarily have to add weights to keep noticing positive changes—though once you start, chances are you’ll want to find new ways to challenge your body to continue reaping the benefits of your workouts.
AMRAP workouts are convenient and easy to do wherever you are. “I can give you five or six bodyweight exercises, ‘Do them for however many times can get through them in 15 minutes.’ If you don’t have much time and you’re working out from home or on the road traveling and don’t have space in a hotel gym, that’s a workable program you can do,”