Push it to the Limit: Calisthenics and Cardio AMRAPs

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A Marine recruit performs dips.
A U.S. Marine Corps recruit with Company E, 2d Recruit Training Battalion, Recruit Training Regiment, performs dips aboard Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, Calif., April 26, 2016. (Lance Cpl. Robert G. Gavaldon/U.S. Marine Corps photo)

As many rounds as possible, or AMRAP,  has been growing in popularity as fitness evolves into a competition. Here is a combination of three AMRAP workouts that limit your effort to 30 minutes per section. The sections include upper-body calisthenics, running intervals and swimming PT workouts. There are many types of AMRAPs you can do from weights and other cardio events to even obstacle course runs.

The following, with transitions, likely will be just less than two hours, or you can break them up into two or three workouts throughout the day.

This AMRAP is a simple PT circuit of the most classic upper-body exercises in calisthenics. You can change things up each round with different types of push-ups and pull-up grips, and add a variety of core exercises like flutter kicks, leg levers, swimmers, scissors, sit-ups and crunches (variety).

  • PT circuit: 30 Min AMRAP
  • Push-ups 20
  • Dips 20
  • Pull-ups max
  • Abs of choice 20
  • Stair crawls up/down a flight of stairs or bear crawl 25 meters

This AMRAP is a run fast and jog easy interval where you can challenge yourself to sprint the half-mile or run at goal mile pace for timed runs. You also can scale it back to walk/jog intervals if you just started out with running again. Also if running is too difficult, replace with non-impact cardio options like bike, elliptical, row, stair stepper, etc., for fast/slow intervals for four- to five-minute sets for a total of 30 minutes.

Run intervals: 30 minutes AMRAP

  • Half-mile run fast
  • Half-mile jog easy

The swim PT is always optional, and if you prefer to replace with another cycle of non-impact cardio, try adding in some upper-body PT between distance or timed sets of cardio for a total of 30 minutes.

Swim PT: 30 minutes AMRAP

  • Swim 100 meters free fast
  • Swim 100 meters CSS
  • Pullouts 10 (pull body out of water like a muscle up on the pool edge)
  • Push-ups 20

(Optional) Workout #2: If you complete the above in a single session and want to add another section of workouts to an afternoon workout, try the Classic PT Pyramid but with a twist (speed pyramid). Limit yourself to going up and down the pyramid as fast as you can. Can you get under 20-25 minutes? Speed pyramid (20-minute limit)

Pyramid 1-10-1

Pull-up x 1

Push-ups or dips x 2

Abs of choice x 3

After you sprint through this workout without much rest as all, mix in a cardio cooldown of your choice. If you are progressing in your running, try an easy run of 2-3 miles. Or if you need a break, try a non-impact option of bike, elliptical, rowing or an easy swim as a cardio cooldown.

This is an advanced workout, but it is pretty easy to scale back by just decreasing the amount of rounds you are able to repeat, add more rest into each event or change run/jog to jog/walk intervals even.

Stew Smith is a former Navy SEAL and fitness author certified as a Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with the National Strength and Conditioning Association. Visit his Fitness eBook store if you’re looking to start a workout program to create a healthy lifestyle. Send your fitness questions to stew@stewsmith.com.

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