Cellucor-sponsored athlete and IFBB pro Craig Capurso is a master of high-intensity AMRAP workouts designed to work as many muscle groups as possible in 30 minutes or less. For the uninitiated, AMRAP stands for "as many reps as possible." It's generally accompanied by a prescribed time—say, as many rounds as possible in 60 seconds.
In this workout, Capurso offers up six exercises in a timed AMRAP workout with working intervals of 20 seconds, followed by up to 30 seconds of rest. All six exercises are done in sequence, and repeated for six total rounds. This workout should take 29 minutes and 30 seconds if you use every bit of each rest period.
With limited time between exercises, Capurso uses the same weights for every exercise, switching back and forth for each movement. This is a great workout if you have limited space in the gym, limited equipment available, or simply want to get a solid total-body workout in under 30 minutes.
Craig Capurso's Dumbbell-Barbell AMRAP Challenge
Dumbbell Goblet Squat
Capurso starts the workout with dumbbell goblet squats, giving himself 20 seconds to complete as many reps as possible. By holding the dumbbells in front, you're going to hit a little bit of legs and a little bit of core.
Capurso recommends resting the dumbbells on your shoulders. "You're really not trying to hold the dumbbells," he says. "Use your shoulders to help hold the weight."
For the squat, drop your hips all the way down, keeping a natural arch in your lower back. You don't want to be moving forward, so as a form tip, watch yourself in the mirror and make sure those dumbbells move up and down in a straight line.
Once 20 seconds is up, you have up to 30 seconds to rest and position yourself for your next exercise. You'll perform all six exercises in this manner before circling back to the beginning and repeating the entire circuit.
Barbell Close-Grip Bench Press
The next move is a close grip bench using a barbell. You'll use the same barbell for multiple exercises in this circuit, so choose your weight accordingly. Capurso uses 135 pounds.
As with the first exercise, you have 20 seconds to complete as many reps as possible, followed by up to the aforementioned 30 seconds of rest.
Standing Alternating Dumbbell Press
For the third exercise, grab the same dumbbells you used for the squat. Keep your core and your legs tight as you alternate pressing one dumbbell straight up, then the other.
You may be moving quickly, but that's no excuse for letting your form slip.
"Build your foundation from the floor up," Capurso says. "Hit the legs, hit the core, get yourself in an upright position, shoulders back, and drive up."
As with all dumbbell exercises, practice good technique and maintain strict form.
"Once you get sloppy, injuries can happen," cautions Capurso, "and that's not what we want."
Barbell Bent-Over Row
Use the same barbell you used for the close-grip bench press. No time to add or strip plates, so choose a weight challenging enough for both exercises.
Bent-over rows can be tricky, so Capurso offers several tips. Let the slack out of your arms at the bottom of the movement. Arch your back. Sit back on your heels. And don't forget to breathe.
Use a pronated or supinated grip—whichever feels more comfortable. Just be consistent. Supinated allows you to stretch a bit more at the bottom and hit those lats, whereas pronated allows you to hit more of the front delt.
Dumbbell Lying Triceps Extension
For this exercise, try to get your arm in a vertical position over your eyes, keep your elbows still, and lower the weight under control. Don't swing it. You're not trying to do a pull-over here. Focus and isolate.
Dumbbell Biceps Curl
Use the same set of dumbbells you've been using for the entire workout. Just stand up and—without swinging your body—curl both weights at the same time.
The dumbbell curls are the last exercise in the circuit. Once your 20 seconds of work are up, rest and take yourself right back up to the top of the workout with the dumbbell squats. Complete six total rounds. Track your reps as you go so you can tally up your score at the end.
As with many of his workouts, Capurso uses a scoring system to gauge how much work he does overall. This is why he allows up to 30 seconds of optional—but not mandatory—rest between each exercise.
If you take shorter rest periods, you can add the remaining time to your final score. After all, you're doing more work in less time than someone who rests 30 seconds every time.
"Let's say you finish all 6 rounds in 28 minutes, 30 seconds," says Capurso, "Sixty seconds still remain on the clock. Add this to your final score."
This type of scoring system allows you to track your strength as well as your aerobic and anaerobic capacity, since points are based both on total reps and faster recovery.
"Basically, you can track your willpower—how much you're able to push in a specific workout and a specific timeline," says Capurso.
Capurso is no stranger to heavy volume—who could forget his "45,000-Pound Pull Challenge?" This workout is going to be pretty tough, but it's a lighter volume so it's not going to overtax your central nervous system, which means you can do it weekly.