This “AMRAP” Workout Is Way Harder Than It Looks

How many times you can complete this circuit in 20 minutes?

A man shadow-boxing at the beach.
AMRAP workouts are endlessly modifiable. Ours is a real gut-buster.
Marco VDM/Getty Images

CrossFit’s workouts of the day (WODs) have taken their fair share of criticism over the years, usually for being too gung-ho.

You may have heard of the notorious “Angie,” which demands 100 pull-ups, 100 push-ups, 100 sit-ups and 100 air squats — in order. Trainees can’t start the next round of reps until they’ve finished the last. I finished it once, but couldn’t lift my arms above my head for a week.

Being mindful of load and limits, though, CrossFit intensity isn’t all that bad. It’s important to push yourself to your max heart rate while strength training, from time to time, and CrossFit figured out a way to gamify otherwise boring gym-class calisthenics.

One tenet to add to your training? AMRAP workouts. The acronym stands for “As Many Reps/Rounds As Possible,” and can turn a deceptively simple workout into an absolute gut-buster in a hurry. The essence of the scheme is to perform a series of moves to failure (or, at least, as many times/as long as you can without your form going down the toilet).

This is the sort of workout you don’t want to do too often, and you reserve for a day you’re waking up feeling right. We designed a full bodyweight circuit for you below, replete with a mix of familiar moves, plyometrics and a bit of shadow-boxing.

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The Workout: AMRAP in 20 minutes

This workout can be done anywhere and doesn’t require any equipment:

  • 10 Burpees: Full-body cardio exercise (and a dreaded one, at that) that works your arms, chest, quads, glutes, hamstrings, and abs
  • 15 Air Squats: A great exercise to work out your entire lower body and core. Don’t bother with kettlebells or dumbbells, as this is a bodyweight circuit.
  • 30 Jab-Cross Combos (15 each side): The promised shadowboxing move — stand one foot slightly in front of the other, fists up in front of your face. Extend one arm out straight (that’s your jab), then immediately follow it with a punch from your other fist (that’s your cross), twisting your body and pivoting on your back foot. Continue this combo at a fast pace.
  • 20 Mountain Climbers (each leg counts as 0.5): Another classic, excellent for building cardio endurance, core strength, and agility
  • 25 Tuck Jumps: For building explosiveness — from standing, jump up and bring your knees towards your chest, then land softly. This move is great for cardio and lower body strength.

What’s a Good Result?

An intermediate to advanced-level trainee would aim to complete around five to eight rounds within a 20-minute time frame. But remember, the goal isn’t to rush through the workout — instead, try to lose yourself in the effort. The hallmarks of an effective AMRAP workout are (a) steady pace, (b) minimized rest and (c) clean, controlled form.

Feel free to tinker with these moves, too. For instance: if you find the tuck jumps too challenging at first, you can modify them by doing a squat followed by a small hop. As you get stronger and more comfortable, gradually work towards the full tuck jump movement.

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