January 27, 2022
EMOM workouts should find their way into your training plan sooner than later. EMOM, which stands for 'Every Minute On the Minute', is a type of workout that involves minimal rest and maximal volume. EMOMs are one of the most effective and efficient workouts for building muscle, endurance and overall work capacity. And to be clear, 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.
Table of Contents:
Without further ado, grab your timer and let’s begin!
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 by 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. This can be a good way to ensure you keep up a good pace.
Note: An EMOM workout can have a mix of work-time and reps, depending on the exercise selection.
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 each set, 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.
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 moderate-intensity weight training 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:
EMOM workouts are usually 10 to 20 minutes long, although they can be shorter or longer. They are generally short as 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 TABATA.
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 and it makes sense to mix things up to keep progressing.
EMOMs can be great as a stand alone workout of the day or as a finisher. There's always time for an EMOM.
By the way, for EMOM workouts that contain multiple blocks of EMOMs (this is common for longer EMOMs), feel free to take a 2-5 minute rest in-between rounds. Think of each block as a mini EMOM. For example, block 1 is 3 exercises for 9 minutes, block 2 is 3 exercises for 9 minutes, and block 3 is 3 exercises for 9 minutes. With that, you could take a couple minutes in-between rounds if needed, which we are sure will be.
This is going to depend on your workout goal. If your goal is endurance and fat loss, then the best exercises will be ones that bring you to 70-85% max heart rate during sets.
However, 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. If you try to rush through a set, you can hurt yourself. Either way, heavy loads will bring your heart rate up pretty high too.
A general rule of thumb for fat loss EMOMs (i.e. maximum calorie burn workouts) is to choose movements that are dynamic, especially if you are designing an EMOM workout based on reps rather than allotted work time. Dynamic exercises like burpees or sprints are great for EMOMs as you can control the pace of your reps, which means you can keep pumping up the intensity as well as control your rest time.
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 depending on the exercise. 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.
Overall, EMOM workouts are interval training with minimal rest, so by nature, it will be rigorous no matter if you are going for strength, endurance or all of the above.
Be sure to choose exercises and 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 another rep, it defeats the purpose of the EMOM. So, choose the exercises and the reps wisely.
Some of our favorite bodyweight EMOM exercises:
...and if you have the strength to sustain the workload - push ups.
Overall, bodyweight exercises that allow you to control the pace are great.
While bodyweight EMOM workouts are awesome, certain fitness equipment is great for EMOM training too.
The latter may be unfamiliar to you, if they are, you can read more about unconventional fitness equipment here.
Some of our favorite exercises with the above fitness tools are:
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. Feel free to search for exercises in our blog by using the search bar above and typing in the equipment you want to use.
Generally, compound movements or movement patterns so you hit more than one muscle group at a time are best. They are simply more sustainable under high volume low rest.
This is how you develop well-rounded strength, balance, endurance, and mental fortitude.
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:
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…
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!
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.
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.
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
Start each movement every minute on the minute and repeat for 30 minutes (2-3 rounds).
Bodyweight EMOM Workout #3:
Block 1 (6 minutes): Burpees x 5-10 (depending on your fitness level)
Block 2 (6 minutes): Jumping Lunges x 12-20 (6-10 each side)
Block 3 (6 minutes): Mountain Climbers x 30 seconds
Dumbbell EMOM Workout:
Start each movement every minute on the minute and repeat for 15-20 minutes.
Barbell EMOM Workout:
Options 1: Choose one big compound movement (squat, deadlift, bench press, bent over row, overhead press) and do a set number of reps on the minute every minute for 20 minutes.
Option 2: Create three 15 minute blocks. Choose one exercise for each block. Complete one block for the 15 minutes then move on to the next. If you rest a few minutes between blocks, this workout will take you about 55 minutes and it will be BRUTAL.
Battle Rope EMOM Workout Finisher:
Battle rope waves x 30 seconds work, for 5-10 minutes total.
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!
Since we are big fans of the the Steel Mace at SET FOR SET (it's just a fun tool!), Now, here is a quick and effective Follow Along EMOM workout using a Steel Mace.
The EMOM below 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.
BREAKDOWN FOR THE 12-MINUTE EMOM WORKOUT ABOVE:
3 Steel Mace Complexes x 50 seconds x 4 Rounds
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) [demo at 0:57]
COMPLEX #2: Two Squats to Two Lateral Lunges (alternating sides) [demo at 1:34]
COMPLEX #3: Bent Over Row to Forward Lunge to Uppercut Overhead Press (alternating sides) [demo at 2:20]
Learn About Other CrossFit Workout Creations:
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