How To Do An AMRAP in Strength Training?

I feel like I just blinked and August is already coming to an end. That means back to school, back to hitting goals if you took the summer off and back to training. I finished my off-season about three weeks and have started prepping for my mock meet in January. I will be having 20 to 24 week prepping cycle until I test out my maximum strength early next year. Before getting into my prep, I did an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) week to test out my estimated 1 rep max so I could use those numbers to prepare for January’s mock meet. I know I haven’t shared a training for a powerlifting meet post since 2018 so I figured I would use this mock meet prep to share more about what goes into powerlifting training to help those of you who are new lifters in the sport and those of you who want to get into powerlifting. Here I will share what is AMRAP, how it is used in strength training, the benefits of it and how I use AMRAP in my training.

What is AMRAP?

AMRAP can mean ‘as many reps as possible’ or ‘as many rounds as possible’ depending on the sport. It was initially used in CrossFit but it is now used by most fitness trainers as they are extremely effective and an efficient way to improve overall conditioning and body composition. AMRAP help with muscular endurance, improving stamina while burning fat and building muscle. They tend to be used for a timed workouts where you will be aiming to push your body to the max, you will only be resting when you’re not able to complete a rep with good form. At that point, you can either pause or slow down, then continue with the workout. The aim is to do as many as reps or rounds as possible within a set time. It is really intense.

AMRAP & Strength Training

In strength training, AMRAP can be used as method of progressive overload as you can keep track of the number of rounds and reps that you have completed. That way, if you try the same workout again a week later or a month later, you can check to see if you beat your previous score. Before I got into powerlifting, I used to do AMRAP training at home when I didn’t have access to a gym. It helped me a lot with keeping good form and technique during the exercises, as well as helping my progress as I was constantly pushing my body each time I did. If you don’t have access to weights at the moment or you are not able to get to a gym, I highly recommend trying out Zuzka Light’s AMRAP sessions. You will not be disappointed!

Benefits of AMRAP

AMRAP are for everyone especially if you don’t do some type of conditioning with your training. I know that is common for powerlifters to focus on the big three (squat, bench and deadlift) and not put so much effort into conditioning but it makes a difference to your aerobic health, body composition and mental fortitude. Conditioning is a huge part of my powerlifting training as I power build (a hybrid between powerlifting and bodybuilding- I will do a separate post on that topic soon). I believe that training approach has helped me pack on a lot of muscle and strength in the last few years. One of the things that I love about AMRAP is that you are your only competition. You are competing with yourself, at your own pace, with your specific load and intensity. It doesn’t matter what someone else is doing because you are only trying to improve yourself and beat your previous record.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Improves muscular endurance, stamina, cardiovascular health
  • Boosts your metabolism by burning fat and increasing your oxygen consumption
  • Improves body composition by building muscle and strength…just make sure you eating enough for recovery
  • Easy to track progress over time
  • Builds mental fortitude as it requires efficiency and focus – that will translate to other areas of your life.
  • You can do them anywhere! They are very convenient.

AMRAP in Powerlifting Training

For powerlifting training, AMRAPs are used as a method of progressive overload as well as a testing tool to measure your training volume and estimated your one rep max (1RM). Your 1RM is the heaviest weight that you can life with maximum effort for one rep for a specific movement. That is usually tested at powerlifting meet or a mock meet. In the case of an AMRAP, you want to use the heaviest weight that you have used in that training cycle or training block and do as many reps as possible without breaking form.

I use AMRAPs before I start preparing for a powerlifting meet and I usually compete once a year. I only use this method to help me figure out the weights I am going to use for the squat, bench and deadlift and which accessories will be beneficial for me to do during prepping cycle. I record all my lifts so I can see what I need to improve the next time I do it. I recommend recording your lifts as it is another great way to track your progress.

What do you think about AMRAP? Is it something that you already do or are going to try doing? Holla at your girl below in the comments and remember that you can find more powerlifting tips and videos on my Instagram page.

Until next time,


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