Bodyweight AMRAP Workout for Beginners

The beginner-friendly workout is even low-impact, to boot.

And all those feelings can most definitely pop up when you’re dipping your toes into AMRAP workouts — a timed style of training that can focus on any type of exercise or a combination of a few, such as both cardio and strength, and helps improve endurance.

To help you test the AMRAP-workout waters without feeling overwhelmed, Shape tapped two fitness pros to break down how to slowly incorporate the training style into your fitness program. Once you’re ready to give it a shot, try the accompanying bodyweight AMRAP workout that’s ideal for beginners and can be done from the comfort of your home.

Reminder: AMRAP can either stand for “as many reps as possible” or “as many rounds as possible,” depending on the workout. For the former, you’ll complete as many reps of a given exercise as you can within a specific, often short time frame. And for the latter, you’ll perform a specific number of reps for a handful of exercises, then power through as many rounds of those moves as you can within a set time period. Most often, though, you’ll see the round-style AMRAP workouts used in fitness classes and online workouts, says Nikki Elliott, a fitness instructor at Equinox and co-founder of ELAVI, a protein snack company.

Regardless of the type of AMRAP workout you’re introducing into your routine, there are a few keys to success you’ll want to keep in mind. 

Despite their simplicity, AMRAP workouts put your mental and physical stamina to the test. And diving straight into 20-minute, cardio-heavy AMRAP training sessions might be too taxing on your body. That’s why Elliott recommends sticking with short AMRAP workouts that feel a bit too easy, allowing you to perfect your form and get acquainted with the format when you first start mixing them into your regimen. “Then, whether it be the next day or next week, try to really continue increasing the challenge of the exercises themselves, the number of reps you’re going to do [in total], or the number of reps in a round,” she explains. “Continue to push yourself forward to build strength and endurance and increase the amount of time it takes to get to the point of failure.” (BTW, this concept is essentially progressive overload training.)

In order to get the most out of these timed workouts, you’ll need to create a plan before you start sweating. Consider the muscle groups you want to target, if you want to focus on cardio or strength (or a mix of both), and the equipment you want to use, says Elliott. Then, if you’re trying a round-style AMRAP workout, choose four to six exercises that fit the bill and the time limit you want to give yourself, depending on your fitness level and the time you have available, says Melissa Kendter, an ACE-certified trainer, functional training specialist, and EvolveYou coach.

When deciding which moves to include, consider focusing on opposing muscle groups, suggests Kendter. For a full-body AMRAP workout, you might choose a “push” exercise, such as a shoulder press, and a “pull” exercise, such as a row, to work the upper body. Then, you might include a quad move, such as a squat, and a hamstring move, such as a deadlift, to train the lower body, she says. “Alternating between opposing muscle groups is great so you can sustain energy to go through rounds without burning out too quick,” she explains.