Since I’ve been on a one week running hiatus per orders from my midwife, I’ve been doing lower impact exercises such as walking or biking. I’ve been averaging about three workouts per week, which doesn’t seem like many, but on the days that I don’t workout I’ve been doing some major projects around the house in preparation for the baby. In addition to low impact cardio I’ve been incorporating AMRAP (As Many Repetitions As Possible) Workouts into my exercise time.
Simply stated an AMRAP Workout is doing as many reps as possible of a given exercise in a given amount of time. For example: set a timer for one minute and do as many push ups as you can possibly do. I love the principle behind the AMRAP and how much variety it lends to the workout. Traditionally, strength training routines call for a given number of repetitions, lets say twelve, to be performed in a specific number of sets, say three. So you’re curling a barbell 12 times, resting and then repeating two more times through.
An AMRAP workout can be a lot more “high energy” if you want it to be. Typically I select 5-6 exercises to perform and then decide (usually based on how much time I have…aka When is Sophia getting up from her nap?) how many “rounds” or sets I want to perform, then select a given amount of time: usually one minute. Here’s an example:
As Many Reps As Possible in 1 minute x 4 rounds
I would preform each exercise in sequence (as many reps as possible in one minute) with no rest between. At the end of the round I rest for 1-2 minutes then repeat the round again, four times through. Since there are six exercises that I am repeating four times through, with two minutes of rest in between this turns into a 30 minute, high intensity workout.
Most of the exercises I listed are body weight exercises, meaning you need no equipment. But if you have equipment or are working out at the gym you can incorporate other exercises like pull-ups, weighted squats or traditional strength training exercises like bicep curls. If you do you’re workout outside or at a track, you could include an interval of sprinting, walking lunges or plyometrics. The beauty of the AMRAP workout is that the possibilities are endless and it can be performed just about anywhere. And you can increase your interval time to two, three or five minutes. Or you could add running intervals of ten minutes followed by strength exercises repeated for two minutes each.
The intensity of the workout can also vary, depending on how hard you push yourself. When I’m not pregnant I really try to push myself to get as many reps as physically possible, these high intensity workouts get my heart rate up pretty high, really fast. And it can be fun to try to compete against yourself to do more reps in a minute than you did the time before. During pregnancy I scale back a bit and go at a pace that is challenging but not exhausting, and often times I’ll go a little slower during the minute of exercise.
It’s important to remember not to forsake form for speed, especially when it comes to squats and deadlifts: you don’t want a back injury.
Here are a few exercises that are really conducive to AMRAP workouts: pushups, pull-ups, squats, single leg squats, dips, burpees, plank pose, crunches or sit ups in any variation, deadlift, good mornings, walking lunges, running, plyometrics, biking and more!
Have you ever done an AMRAP workout? What is your favorite cross-training technique or workout?