When I first started seeing AMRAP workouts posted to Instagram I wasn’t tempted to try. Not because they looked too demanding. But because I thought they’d be too easy.
It’s not that I was arrogant, thinking I’m too good of an athlete to do a circuit training type of workout. The reason I didn’t think I should try these workouts goes back to high school gym class.
It was the memory of doing the worst circuit training workouts ever. Make that the worst workout ever. Not in terms of difficulty. But the chaotic way 30 of us rotated from station to station on the Universal machine, kicking and flailing our legs when doing bench presses and maybe getting 3 reps in before our gym teacher in his coach’s shorts that were way too tight and short blew the whistle to do another exercise.
There was no way I was going to do any type of circuit workout after that experience. I also wasn’t going to ever wear coach’s shorts. Thankfully I changed my mind on the former but not the latter. I gave AMRAP workouts a try and now to them all the time.
Doing AMRAPs has helped build my cardio much better than jogging. They also get me into better shape for other stuff I like to do. I’m recovering faster between rounds at jiu jitsu and getting faster on hill runs. I also notice that this type of HIIT workout makes me more productive. When I do it first thing in the morning I’m super focused all day and it’s much easier to get work done.
My 4 Kettlebell 15 Minute AMRAP Workout
Choose a weight that makes it moderately difficult when you do split squats for 10 reps. You’ll use this kettlebell(s) for every exercise. If you’re doing the workout with 2 kettlebells switch to 1 for the halos and pullovers.
Start with 10 reps per exercise. As you get further into the workout you’ll struggle to do even less but that’s the point. This is a workout to test your strength, conditioning, and will. When you can do 10 reps per exercise for 15 minutes it’s time to use heavier weight.
Here’s a list of the exercises. Do them in the order they’re listed. Set your timer for 15 minutes and go! Remember, no rest between exercises.Only take a break when absolutely necessary.
- Kettlebell Suitcase Carry Split Squats
- Standing Kettlebell Halos
- Lying Kettlebell Pullovers
- Kettlebell Bent Over Rows
“Tackling an AMRAP workout may be a one-stop solution if you’re looking to boost your fitness, shake up your workout routine, and test your mental and physical limits. ”Amber Sayer
Workout Tips And Tricks
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re doing each exercise. There’s also links to videos that demonstrate proper technique for each movement.
- Kettlebell suitcase split squats.
- In this video Marcus Martinez teaches perfect split squat technique.
- Hold the kettlebells at your side. Like you’re carrying a suitcase.
- After squatting down, focus on pushing up from the heel of your front leg.
- You should feel this exercise in your glutes and hamstrings the most.
- Keep your core engaged and tight and shoulders pulled back.
- Don’t lean forward, your upper body should be upright.
- Breath in when you’re squatting down, exhale as you push yourself up.
- 1 KB pullovers
- Here’s a video that shows how to do kettlebell pullovers.
- Lie flat on your back on the floor or a bench.
- Tighten your core without holding your breath.
- Hold weight over the middle of your chest with both hands on the sides of the handle. It should be in the same position as if you were pressing the weight.
- Start the exercise with your arms straight or slightly bent and lower the weight behind your head.
- Lower the weight behind your head getting as close to the floor or bench as you can.
- Pull the kettlebell back to the starting position using your lats, shoulder, and chest muscles & repeat.
- Standing KB Halos
- Here’s a video that shows great technique.
- Stand up with your shoulder pulled back while looking forward.
- Tighten your core but don’t hold your breath.
- Keep your chin in a neutral position and your head up, looking straight ahead.
- Your abs should be engaged to resist rotating from your hips
- KB Bent over row
- Watch kettlebell trainer Greg Brookes show how to do 1 arm rows.
- In this video Marcus Filly teaches the 2 kettlebell row.
- Hold a kettlebell in each hand like you’re carrying a suitcase.
- Bend from your waist until you’re at a 90 degree angle.
- Keep your core tight and engaged with your knees slightly bent and eyes looking forward.
- Your arms should be extended with the kettlebells just off the ground.
- Inhale and pull your elbows back while squeezing your shoulder blades together.
- Keep your abs tight so you don’t rotate your upper body.
- Pull the weight up until your elbows won’t go back and further, the kettlebells should be just below your ribcage.
- Lower the kettlebells back to the starting position and repeat.
“You can’t be mindless about an AMRAP workout — it requires a focus on counting. That combination of pushing forward and working at full tilt while constantly counting can give your mind as much of a workout as your body”Alex Polish
Frequently Asked Questions
How Often Can I Do This AMRAP?
Once a week is often enough if you’re doing other types of HIIT workouts. You can move up to 2-3 times a week if you’re not doing other high intensity workouts and want to move your progress along faster.
What Equipment Do I Need?
You can do this AMRAP with 1 or 2 kettlebells. Using 1 kettlebell forces you to focus on your unilateral strength a bit more – strengthening 1 side of your body at a time – while 2 kettlebells lets you use heavier weights. The weight of your kettlebells should be enough that it’s moderately difficult for you to do 10-12 split squats with good form.
How Many Sets And Reps Will I Do?
You’ll do as many as possible in the 15 minute time frame. Your goal is to try to do more sets and/or reps the next time you do the workout.
When Do I Rest?
There are no breaks between exercises. You’ll do one after the other continuously with the goal of doing 10 reps per exercise. As you become more tired, this becomes harder to do.
Only rest when you absolutely need to, when it’s not possible to do another rep with good technique. Keep your break as short as possible and get back to training.
Use good judgment here. If you’re feeling dizzy or otherwise unwell, it’s okay to stop the workout. The goal is to train hard and build a better body, not bury yourself to the point you can’t train again for a week.
Can I Adapt This Kettlebell AMRAP For My Fitness And Skill Level?
Here are a few tips on how you can adjust and scale this workout.
- If you’re just starting to work out or getting back into shape
If you have trouble making it through all 15 minutes that’s okay. I lasted 6 minutes the first time I did an AMRAP. Stop and record your time along with the number of sets and reps you did. Then add 30-60 seconds or more if possible to every subsequent workout until you can do it for 15 minutes.
You can also just take longer or more frequent breaks during the workout. Make it your goal to rest less and less during the workout as your fitness improves.
- You’d like the workout more of a challenge.
One of the best ways to make this workout harder is to change up how you do each exercise. Below are a few ways you can do this with each exercise.
- Suitcase Carry Split Squats
- Pause for 5 seconds on every rep before standing back up.
- Go slower. Take 5 seconds when squatting down on each repetition.
- Do 1½ split squats. Add ½ rep to every repetition. So you do a regular split squat and before standing all the way back up do a ½ split squat.
- Standing KB Halos
- Do an overhead press after every repetition.
- Add 2 kettlebell curls to every rep.
- Pause for 5 seconds on every halo.
- Lying Kettlebell Pullovers
- Do 3 chest presses after each pullover.
- Pause for 5 seconds between lowering and pulling the weight back up.
- Kettlebell Bent Over Rows
- Hold the weight for 5 seconds between pulling it up and lowering it down.
- Go slower and take 7 seconds to lower the weight before pulling it up.
- Stand up and do 5 kettlebell marches after every row.
It’s Time To Train
Now that you know how to do this 4 exercise kettlebell AMRAP workout it’s time to give it a try. I’d do it as a standalone workout first before making it a part of another. It’s a total body workout that takes very little time while giving you big benefits. Let me know what you think along with how many rounds and reps you’re able to do.
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