EMOM workouts

The Ultimate Guide to Effective EMOM Workouts

July 29, 2020

EMOM workouts should be a staple in everyone’s training plan. EMOMs offer tons of benefits and they can be done anywhere. They are one of the most effective and efficient workouts you can do and we have CrossFit to thank for this fun yet challenging workout protocol.

Below you will learn everything you need to know about EMOM workouts. That way you can create endless EMOMs to challenge yourself and get into the best shape of your life. We will also provide you with one full-length 12-minute steel mace EMOM workout that you can follow along to, as well as other EMOM workout ideas with various equipment and of different durations that you can try out at your convenience.

Without further ado, grab your timer and let’s begin!

EMOM Workout


EMOM stands for Every Minute On The Minute. So, an EMOM workout means you are doing a set of an exercise every minute at the top of the minute. The exercise that you do at the top of the minute should have a number of reps or an allotted time that allows you to complete it before the minute is up, that way you have time to rest before the top of the next minute. How much rest time will be determined on how you design the EMOM workout or how quickly you move through the reps. If you choose an allotted work time, you are prescribing the exact rest time you will have each minute. If you choose a rep scheme for the exercises, then you will rest only when your reps are completed, so the rest time will vary throughout the workout. Note: An EMOM workout can have a mix of work-time and reps, depending on the exercise.

As EMOM workouts involve built-in work-rest periods, it is a form of interval training. If you choose to create an EMOM workout that is very intense, it can be considered a form of HIIT training. But, to truly be a HIIT workout, the exercises need to be challenging enough to get your heart rate up to 85% of your max heart rate, and the rest time will not allow you to drop below 60%.


EMOM workouts are a highly effective form of training. They provide an efficient way to build muscle, strength, endurance, and overall work capacity. Moreover, they touch on nearly every aspect of one’s training. With EMOM workouts, you are hitting almost every major pillar of fitness. You will build muscular strength, muscular endurance, explosive power, and even balance. This is all done by high volume training in a short time. With an EMOM workout, you are likely to get the same time under tension in 20 minutes as you do in 45+ minutes for a traditional bodybuilding workout. On top of that, you are keeping your heart rate up so you will be burning calories. And we all know what burning calories leads to, FAT LOSS.

EMOM is not only effective, it’s efficient. It’s a workout protocol that we believe should be in every fitness enthusiast and athlete's arsenal.

Let’s touch more on the benefits of EMOM workouts:

  1. Time Efficient: EMOM workouts are one of the most efficient ways to add high-quality training volume into your training.
  2. Systematic Accountability: With an EMOM you are forced to stay accountable. You will have no chance to rest longer as your eyes will be on the clock. It’s one of the most systematic approaches to fitness.
  3. Build Work Capacity: EMOMs will train you to recover faster and work harder. You can’t find a way to rest longer. Over time, you will build your work capacity greatly and you will recover faster from strenuous movements.
  4. Perfect for Group Workouts: There’s no better way to train with someone or a group of people than by doing the same exercise every time the clock hits the top of the minute. And if people are at different levels, there are always ways to cater to each individual, such as weight adjustment, regression exercises, or fewer reps.
  5. Highly Adaptable: If you have a specific fitness goal in mind, an EMOM can be programmed to suit that goal. Some people want to improve cardiovascular health, skill-based movements, balance, strength, or, the most common goal, to lose fat. With an EMOM workout, you simply choose the exercise, weight load and rep count according to your fitness goal. For example, if you want to build strength, do low rep heavy deadlifts on the minute. If you want to burn fat, kettlebell swings are great. You can also mix it up within the same EMOM workout!

Are EMOM Workouts Good

How Long Are EMOM Workouts?

EMOM workouts are usually 10 to 20 minutes long, although they can be shorter or longer.

A good EMOM workout will have you working for the vast majority of the workout or at the very least a 1-to-1 work-rest ratio. With that, you will have a lot of training volume in a short time. This makes EMOM workouts one of the most efficient workout protocols, alongside HIIT, AMRAP, and Complex Training.

How Many Exercises Should My EMOM Workout Have?

EMOM workouts can involve a single exercise or a number of different exercises.

If you choose to do one specific exercise for the entire EMOM workout, the structure is simple. You do the same exercise at the top of the minute for the length of the workout. EMOMs that involve one exercise are best kept short.

If you choose to do more than one exercise, you can set up the EMOM as a sort of circuit, doing rounds for the length of the workout. You will see some EMOM workout examples further below to give you a better idea. 

For longer EMOM workouts, i.e. 30-45 mins, you will obviously want to do multiple exercises. That way you are targeting different muscle groups, which will allow you to avoid fatiguing a muscle to the point of complete failure. 

Overall, both short duration single exercise EMOMs and longer duration EMOMs with multiple exercises are great options.

At SET FOR SET, we love breaking our EMOMs into rounds for a brutal Workout of the Day. We also like choosing one or two exercises for a short, EMOM finisher after a typical strength training workout.

For EMOM workouts that contain multiple rounds, feel free to take a 2-5 minute rest in-between rounds. Think of each round as a mini EMOM. For example, round 1 is 3 exercises for 9 minutes, round 2 is 3 exercises for 9 minutes, and round 3 is 3 exercises for 9 minutes. With that, you could take a couple minutes in-between rounds if needed.

EMOM workout ideas

What are the best exercises for an EMOM workout?

The best exercises for an EMOM workout are ones that will get your heart rate up to 70-85% max heart rate. An EMOM workout is interval training, so by nature, it should be rigorous.

Another thing to consider when choosing exercises for an EMOM workout is that the movements are dynamic, especially if you are designing an EMOM workout based on reps rather than allotted work time. 

Dynamic exercises like burpees are great for EMOMs as you can control the pace of your reps, which means you control your rest time. It’s not likely that you are going to hurt yourself by doing burpees very quickly. Conversely, if you choose heavy squats, and you try to rush through a set, you can hurt yourself.

Related: Benefits of Burpees & Easier to Harder Variations

If you choose an exercise that requires very slow and controlled movements, be sure to choose the rep count wisely, or choose working time instead of a rep count.

Regarding unilateral exercises, if you go this route, be sure to switch sides at the top of every minute or alternate sides with each rep. Conversely, you can lower the rep range and do one side for half the working time and the other side for the second part of the working time. 

Lastly, it should be noted that not all EMOM workouts are meant to be like HIIT. You can choose exercises for strength and hypertrophy, like deadlifts, squats or bench press. If you go for a strength-focused EMOM, you simply need to choose a rep range or working time, as well as a workout duration, that is sustainable. 

To make things simple, choose exercises that are challenging, dynamic, or power exercises at a rep or work time that won’t take you to failure. For example, if you choose pull ups, but after minute 4 you can’t do the prescribed reps, it defeats the purpose of the EMOM.

All in all, you want to choose the exercises and the reps wisely.

Some of our favorite bodyweight EMOM exercises are as follows:

  • Burpees
  • Push Ups
  • Tuck Jumps
  • V-Ups
  • Jumping Lunges
  • Plank Jacks
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Box Jumps
  • Squat Jumps

While bodyweight EMOM workouts are great, certain fitness equipment is great for EMOM training.

Best Equipment To Use For EMOM Workouts:

Some of our favorite exercises with the above fitness tools are:

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Renegade Rows
  • Dumbell Lunges
  • Goblet Squats
  • Snatches
  • Banded Push Ups
  • Banded Deadlifts
  • Banded Rows
  • Banded Thrusters
  • Deadlifts
  • Bent-over Rows
  • Lightweight BB Lunges (relative to your strength)
  • Steel Mace Lateral Lunges
  • Steel mace Curtsy Lunges
  • Steel mace Switch Squats
  • Steel mace Thrusters
  • Steel mace Jousts
  • Steel mace Gravediggers
  • Steel mace Barbarian Squats
  • Sandbag Zercher Squat
  • Sandbag Bear Hug Squat
  • Sandbag Bent Over Rows
  • Sandbag Plank Pulls

The above is not an exhaustive list by any means. These are just some of our favorite exercises for EMOM workouts. There are tons of other exercises using these tools that would be good for EMOM workouts. The goal should be to do compound movements or movement patterns so you hit more than one muscle group and if possible planes of motion. This is how you develop well-rounded strength, balance, endurance, and mental fortitude.

Unconventional fitness equipment is definitely the most ideal for EMOM workouts. Check out our top 7 unconventional fitness equipment, as these are all great for EMOM workouts.

EMOM Workout Benefits

Can you use more than one kind of equipment for EMOM workouts?

Absolutely! Some of the best EMOM workouts you will ever do use one or two fitness tools along with bodyweight exercises.

Really, there are no rules. The only rule is, get back to work when the top of the minute hits!

If your EMOM workout ends up being designed wrong, make adjustments. It’s completely fine. As you do more EMOMs, you will get the hang of designing an effective EMOM on all fronts.


EMOM workouts are great for anyone who wants to get into great shape. There isn’t a person out there who wouldn’t benefit from EMOM workouts. Athletes, bodybuilders, crossfitters (obviously as this is a CrossFit workout), runners, and so. As for demographics, EMOM doesn’t see age. From young adults to seniors, EMOM workouts are one of the best ways to improve muscular endurance and strength while burning fat and building mental toughness.

Here are some examples of people who will greatly benefit from employing EMOM workouts:

  • People who are slightly overweight and want to burn that extra pesky fat.
  • People who only do conventional strength training with weights, as they are often lacking stamina & endurance training.
  • Athletes will greatly benefit from EMOM workouts as they somewhat mimic sports, it stop and go all the time.
  • Anyone who wants to challenge themselves


If you want to improve your work capacity, strength, conditioning, and simply just get into all-around great shape, we recommend that you do at least one or two EMOM workouts per week.

For those who already have a very busy training schedule, EMOM workouts can be done as…

  • a 10-15 minute finisher after your regular workout
  • part of a larger workout - for example, it could be a mini workout within your regular workout - this is great for those who do metabolic workouts that consist of multiple “mini” workouts.
  • one half of a two-a-day training schedule - if you have 20 minutes in the morning or evening, you can do an EMOM workout at home!
  • the perfect morning workout to start your day - keep it short and sweet!

For those who don’t have a set training schedule and train with more flexibility, an EMOM workout can be your workout of the day anytime during the week. In that case, a 20-40 minute EMOM workout is ideal. However, if you are short on time, a quick 10-20 minute EMOM is great too! 

Other reasons and times to do an EMOM workout are on active recovery days. For this, use lightweight training tools like a 10LB mace, resistance bands, or simply just bodyweight exercises.

Finally, EMOM workouts are great skill builders for sports as they can be designed to focus on aspects of fitness like balance, explosive power, and stamina. So, if you are an athlete, add EMOMs into your workout plan.

On the whole, EMOM workouts can find their way into anyone's workout plan as they are quick and effective. There's no excuse not to do an EMOM workout once or twice a week. 

Now, the perfect example of a quick and effective EMOM workout is the one below, which uses a Steel Mace.


This EMOM (Every Minute On The Minute) Workout consists of 3 Steel Mace Complexes done for 4 total rounds. Our steel mace EMOM workout is 12 minutes long, and the work time is approximately 90% of that 12 minutes.

Paulina will first take you through some movement prep so you know how to do each complex, then she will begin the workout, which you can follow along to in its entirety.  It's going to be a tough one so get your game face on.


3 Steel Mace Complexes x 50 seconds x 4 Rounds

  • Every minute starts with one complex, which is done for 50 seconds. Then you rest 10 seconds and begin the next complex when the minute starts again. Once you have done all three complexes, you have completed 1 round.
  • You will continue this for 4 total rounds, which is 12 minutes.

The goal of this workout is to build muscular endurance, balance, and strength while burning a bunch of calories in a short period of time.


COMPLEX #1: Reverse Lunge to Power Knee Drive to Overhead Press (alternating Sides) [0:57]

steel mace emom

COMPLEX #2: Two Squats to Two Lateral Lunges (alternating sides) [1:34]

quick steel mace workout

COMPLEX #3: Bent Over Row to Forward Lunge to Uppercut Overhead Press (alternating sides) [2:20]

10 minute steel mace workout


The key to creating an effective EMOM workout is to choose exercises that will challenge you but not bring you to failure. Depending on your goal (strength, endurance, explosive power, etc.), pick exercises and rep or time schemes that are sustainable for the length of the workout. Moreover, choose a duration for the entire workout that makes sense for your goal and the exercises you will be performing.

For cardio-based EMOM workouts, the best work-to-rest ratio is around 1:1 (30 seconds on, 30 seconds off) or 2:1 (40 seconds on, 20 seconds off). We recommend the latter if you have various exercises that target different muscle groups.

For strength-based EMOM workouts, go for a weight that is 50-60% of your 1RM (one rep max) and choose a rep scheme around from 5-10. That should give you around 40 seconds of rest, which is ideal when doing EMOMs that really tax your muscles.

what is an emom workout

EMOM workout ideas:

Here are 4 EMOM workout ideas. Two bodyweight-only and two mixed equipment EMOM workouts. 

Bodyweight EMOM Workout #1:

16-Minute EMOM Workout

Minute 1: Burpees x 6-8
Minute 2: Push Ups x 10
Minute 3: Tuck Jumps x 8
Minute 4: V-Ups x 10

Do this for 4 rounds

Bodyweight EMOM Workout #2:

30-Minute EMOM Workout

  1. High Knees x 30 seconds
  2. Jumping Lunges x 10 reps
  3. Butt Kicks x 30 seconds
  4. Air Squats x 10 reps
  5. Push Ups x 10
  6. Mountain Climber x 30 seconds
  7. Superman x 10
  8. Plank Up/Downs x 30 seconds
  9. Burpees x 7
  10. Spider Climbers x 30 seconds

Start each movement every minute on the minute and repeat for 30 minutes (2-3 rounds).

Mixed Equipment EMOM Workout #1

12-Minute EMOM Workout for Strength

Equipment: Barbell/Plates, Kettlebell, Steel Mace

Minute 1: Deadlifts (60% 1RM) x 5
Minute 2: Kettlebell Swings x 15
Minute 3: Switch Squats x 20
Minute 4: Decline Push Ups x 15

Do this for 3 rounds.

Mixed Equipment EMOM Workout #2

14-Minute EMOM Workout

Equipment: 2 dumbbells, 1 kettlebell and resistance bands

Minute 1: Banded Thrusters x 10
Minute 2: Push-ups (12)
Minute 3: Dumbbell Goblet Squat x 10 reps
Minute 4: Mountain Climbers x 30 seconds
Minute 5: Tuck Jumps x 8
Minute 6: Kettlebell Snatch x 6 each side
Minute 7: Sprints in place x 30 seconds

As you can see, there are tons of ways you can create an EMOM workout. Have fun with it and challenge yourself!

If you need resistance bands or steel maces, we sell them at SET FOR SET. Our bands and maces are of the highest quality. You can check them out and see reviews by following the links below.

Steel Maces by SET FOR SET

Resistance Bands by SET FOR SET

Other CrossFit Style Workouts:
- 21-15-9


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