The AMRAP Bodybuilding Workout for Muscle Mass

Forget fixed rep & set counts, and challenge yourself with this new workout program. It's you vs the clock, and your goal is to do as many reps as possible.

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
Split
Advanced
8 weeks
5
15-30 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, Machines
Male
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Workout Description

It’s always motivating at first when you begin a new workout because you want to achieve a certain look or be prepared for a big event and that finish line is enough to keep you walking a straight line.

But once you reach the end of that road, you’re more then ready for a change. You want to get stronger and bigger and are ready for a new challenge.

This program is exactly what you’re looking for.

Over the course of the next eight weeks you can use this workout routine to help you build new muscle, get stronger, and feel even better.

Here’s the best part. The way you do this can even help you keep the majority of that definition you worked so hard to achieve before.

A Different Kind of Rep Scheme

Most bodybuilding programs call for you to perform X sets for Y reps with Z rest in between each set. Not this time. You determine the reps and number of sets for each exercise. You can even figure out how long you’re going to rest. You’re waiting for the catch, aren’t you?

Well, here it is. You’ll be using a clock or stopwatch - but not to track your rest, but rather your time to perform an exercise.

“Dude, what the heck are you talking about?”

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You’re going to pick a predetermined weight based on your strength level and try to perform as many reps as you can within a specific time. Once you reach failure, you get to rest but the clock keeps ticking. That means you’ll want to keep the rest periods short so you can get back to work.

The goal is to do as many reps as you can before time runs out. Let’s use the barbell curl as an example. You load a weight that you can do for 8 reps and you have three minutes. Start the clock and perform as many reps, with proper form, as you can. Once you reach failure, put the bar down but keep an eye on the clock. When you feel you can do more reps, continue but pick up counting where you left off. So if you did 9 reps, start with 10.

You keep taking these brief rest-pauses and resume lifting until the three minutes is up. Make note of the weight you used and how many reps you did. Next time you train this way, the goal is to either do more weight for the same reps or more reps with the same weight.

Benefits of the AMRAP Workout Program

Using a challenging weight like this will help you work on getting stronger. Shocking the muscles by doing something they’re not accustomed to will help create an environment for hypertrophy so you’ll grow. The longer sets will not only improve your endurance but also challenge your cardiovascular system as well as help you burn more calories so you can minimize the loss of definition while maximizing the muscle building potential.

Another perk of this? You’ll be in and out of the gym pretty quick. If you rest for two minutes between each exercise you do, you can be done in less than 45 minutes. That means you got the job done and can split so you can kick-start your recovery.

BPI Athlete Trying the AMRAP Workout

Notes on the AMRAP Workout Program

The purpose of this program is to build muscle so everything you do should be based on that goal. If you need to use a belt, sleeves, or straps to help you maximize your potential, go for it.

Each exercise listed below will have a recommended weight to use based on your strength. If you feel the weight you chose was too light or too heavy, adjust next time you perform that exercise. As long as you’re within one or two reps of the target, you’re good.

There will be no individual side exercises for the purpose of saving time. If you have to work each arm individually, then you would double your work time.

Rest in between each exercise is two minutes. As mentioned earlier, the rest time during the time period is up to you but keep those times short so you can do more work.

If you must do cardio, do it during a time of the day separate from the weight training and keep it moderate to low intensity. Recovery is a must for a program like this to work and doing more isn’t going to be better.

5 Day AMRAP Workout Split

  • Day 1: Chest and Side Delts
  • Day 2: Quads and Abs
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Back, Rear Delts, and Traps
  • Day 5: Biceps and Triceps
  • Day 6: Hamstrings and Calves
  • Day 7: Off
  • Day 8: Split Repeats

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Day 1: Chest and Side Delts

The Smith Machine is used here because all you have to do is spin the bar to rack it. If you prefer to do the barbell version, that’s fine but have a spotter on standby.

You’ll also notice that there is no front delt work. The front delts are involved with pressing and you’ll be doing a lot of reps so we don’t need to do much direct work with them.

Exercise Weight Selection Time
1. Incline Smith Machine Press 8 Rep Max 3 Mins
2. Flat Dumbbell Press 12 Rep Max 3 Mins
3. Cable Crossover 15 Rep Max 4 Mins
4. Seated Lateral Raise 15 Rep Max 4 Mins

Day 2: Quads and Abs

It’s easier to use a hack squat machine than doing traditional squats because of the time it takes to unrack and re-rack the bar. If you don’t have a hack squat machine in your gym, go with dumbbells.

As for the ab work, if for some reason weight is an issue for you, focus on taking your time with each rep and slowing down the motion.

Exercise Weight Selection Time
1. Hack Squat 8 Rep Max 3 Mins
2. Leg Press 12 Rep Max 3 Mins
3. Leg Extension 15 Rep Max 4 Mins
4. Lying Leg Raise 15 Rep Max 4 Mins
5. Weighted Crunches 15 Rep Max 4 Mins

Day 4: Back, Rear Delts, and Traps

There is actually no direct lower back work on this program because of the toll training like this can take on that area.

If you want to do lower back work on your own, add low back extensions with no weight for 4 minutes. I don’t recommend deadlifts or even rack pulls on this particular program because of the stress it can place on the spine.

Exercise Weight Selection Time
1. T-Bar Row 8 Rep Max 3 Mins
2. Wide Grip Pull Down 12 Rep Max 3 Mins
3. Wide Grip Seated Row 15 Rep Max 4 Mins
4. Reverse Pec Deck 15 Rep Max 4 Mins
5. Dumbbell Shrug 15 Rep Max 4 Mins

Day 5: Biceps and Triceps

There are only two exercises for the bis and the tris because that’s going to be all you need. Keep in mind that both were indirectly involved with your back days and chest days so they have already done work. This specific training will be plenty to see growth.

Exercise Weight Selection Time
1. Barbell Preacher Curl 8 Rep Max 3 Mins
2. Incline Dumbbell Curl 12 Rep Max 3 Mins
3. Close Grip Smith Machine Bench Press 8 Rep Max 4 Mins
4. Rope Pressdown 12 Rep Max 4 Mins

Day 6: Hamstrings and Calves

The hamstrings are so often neglected on leg day so that’s why they have their own day in this program. The lower back will also be involved with the stiff-legged deadlifts. Dumbbells are better so you can get a greater range of motion.

On the lying leg curl, focus on keeping the tension on the hamstrings. Don’t lift the hips. That doesn’t help anyone and we want to help you get muscle on the back of the thigh.

Exercise Weight Selection Time
1. Dumbbell Stiff-Legged Deadlift 8 Rep Max 3 Mins
2. Lying Leg Curl 12 Rep Max 4 Mins
3. Seated Calf Raise 15 Rep Max 4 Mins
4. Calf Press 15 Rep Max 4 Mins

9 Comments+ Post Comment

No Profile Pic
Posted Thu, 11/15/2018 - 07:24
DarrenH

Hi, I'm doing a little intermittent fasting at the moment for fat loss; I am fitting in my gym sessions at the end of my fasting period, before eating.

Is this the best workout so I can continue to lose fat, while at least maintaining muscle mass, if not building?

I train 5 days a week (Mon- Fri) without a rest day, so want to make sure I'm not overdoing a particular muscle group. Happy to move to a different workout plan.

BTW- this site is superb!

Thanks,

Darren

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Fri, 11/16/2018 - 10:54
JoshEngland

Hi Darren,

I generally don't recommend people working out while fasted. You get better performance during your workouts if fed. If possible, I'd recommend moving your workouts to some point during your feeding window.

That said, IF isn't the end-all-be-all to fat loss. So long as you're eating in a calorie deficit during the day/week, you will lose fat overtime. It can be a helpful strategy to assist in creating a deficit, but there's nothing inherently magical about the process.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 11/03/2018 - 03:29
josue amaya

hi on the arms workout both biceps exercises are 3 minutes and in the triceps are 4 minutes. can I do preachers curls 3 minutes and dumbbells curls for 4 and in the triceps the bench press for 3 minutes and the pushdowns for 4 minutes or is better to do it the way it is. and if so why? thank you.

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Posted Tue, 10/23/2018 - 18:57
Hugo Garcia

Hello
I started following this Program and im a bit confused.
As its mentioned its by time as many reps as possible but on the Program breakdown it shows (Weight Selection reps max ??) Should i go by reps or time ???
I started low to see how many reps i can do with that weight and then next time increase weight and i should have less reps and keep increasing weight.
What you guys think ?
Looking forward to read from you guys

JoshEngland's picture
Posted Wed, 10/24/2018 - 10:36
JoshEngland

Hi Hugo,

Go by time. The weight you should use is whatever weight you'd typically use for the "weight selection reps max".

So for instance, if you were to perform dumbbell bench press and your 10 rep max was 60lb dumbbells (just an example), you'd use that weight and perform as many reps as possible for the prescribed duration of time.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Wed, 10/24/2018 - 17:08
Hugo Garcia

Yeah got it.
Might have gone slightly lower but was to get the feel for it, like i mentioned next session will increase the weight slightly ao should get less reps or close to the previous one.
But still got some to do so will use that info for sure.
Appreciated
Regards
Hugo garcia

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Posted Sun, 10/14/2018 - 15:21
Pradeep

Hi,
What I didn’t get here is between weight selection and time.
I mean in that particular period of time, suppose in whole 3mins are we doing 8 reps max only ?

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Posted Mon, 09/17/2018 - 15:19
Laurentiu Rusescu

Hi,
So, for example, at Incline Smith Machine Press you use the weight so you can do 8 Rep Max to failure? Then pause and try to do as many as you can for the rest of the time? It’s that correct?

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Posted Sun, 10/14/2018 - 13:05
Dan Kulcsar

Yes that is correct . As you stated in the article this program is no joke but first informals make sure you warm up properly . You can also run a similar program using 15 minute intervals example 3 reps rest 10 seconds 3 reps rest 10 seconds and so on for 15 minutes that will shock your body as well . That can also be done with an eight or 10 rep max either way you run it it is brutal !!