You may have heard of the term AMRAP, which means “as many rounds as possible” in a given amount of time. However, fitness is not a race.
Too often, many people use the term when racing through exercise. Eventually their form begins to fail and they risk injury. Use a time limit rather than a sign of perseverance and assess your ability to continue an exercise for a period of time.
For example, this week we did what we call the “AMRAP kitchen sink”. This is simply a full body circuit mixed in with upper body, lower body, core, and cardio exercises for a quick, challenging, and effective workout when you are pressed for time.
Do a push-up and squat half-pyramid 1-10 with 50-meter jogging and some dynamic stretches between sets.
The pyramid looks like this: 1 push-ups, 1 squat, light jog for 50 meters. Then 2 pushups, 2 squats, light jogging for 50 meters. 3/3, 4/4 and work your way up to 10 pushups and 10 squats. Your total for this warm up is 55 pushups and squats when you stop at 10/10.
AMRAP (as many rounds as possible)
You have 30 minutes for the following exercise group:
Walk 400 meters or ride a bike for 2 minutes: Shoot at your target mile pace as you prepare for timed runs. If you want to run a mile in seven minutes, try running your 400 meters (one lap on a track) in 1:45 and try to keep that time window under two minutes if possible (eight minute mile pace) .
After running or biking without a break, do the following:
Pull-ups: 5-10 (or dumbbell rows: 10 per arm)
Lunge steps: 5 per leg
Pushups: max (do hand pushups if you’re in the army)
Step-Ups: 5 per leg
Dips or bank dips: 10-20
Heel Raises and Toe Raises: 10 each (shins)
Crunches or plank: 1 minute
This workout requires minimal equipment and should be easy to recreate almost anywhere. Skip any exercises that you cannot complete due to your skills or lack of equipment or facilities. Feel free to add more exercises to better prepare you for each fitness test.
Cooldown Reverse Push-ups and Squat Half Pyramid
Make the pyramid from 9-1 to complete the full 1-10-1 pyramid. The cooldown looks like this: 9 pushups, 9 squats, 50 meters run, 8/8, 50 meters run, 7/7, 50 meters … except for 1 push-ups and 1 squat. Mix in some dynamic stretches during this inverted cool-down pyramid as part of the 50-meter jogging section. There are a total of 45 reps of squats and pushups in this cooldown.
This is a good intermediate level workout that can be done in about 45 minutes if you count the warm up and cool down sections. You can easily scale this workout up or down depending on the skills of the people doing it with you.
Cut the pyramid in half and only go up to five or six. You can also shorten the time of the AMRAP sections, replace the exercises with simpler options, or reduce the repetitions if necessary.
The same goes if you want to make it harder by increasing the AMRAP period, doubling the reps of the warm-up exercises, or increasing the repetitions of the AMRAP exercises if you prefer.
In the end, you have a workout that keeps you moving all the time, but with built-in recovery as you rest the muscle groups as you go through the exercises.
Stew Smith is a retired Navy SEAL and fitness writer who was certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association. If you’re ready to begin a healthy lifestyle exercise program, visit his fitness e-book store. Send your fitness questions to email@example.com.
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