EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute.”
EMOM workouts are structured such that you start an exercise at the beginning of every minute and perform a predetermined number of reps.
Once those reps are completed, you have the remainder of that minute to rest before starting the next set or exercise at the top of the next minute. The faster you complete all prescribed repetitions (while maintaining proper form and not using momentum), the longer you’ll have to rest before the next round starts.
For example, if your EMOM workout calls for 5 pull ups every minute on the minute for 10 minutes, and it takes you 10 seconds to bang out 5 pull ups, you would then have the remaining 50 seconds to rest before your next set of 5 pull ups started.
A big challenge of EMOM workouts is the cumulative fatigue that sets in. As you get deeper into the workout, it will generally take you longer to complete all the prescribed repetitions for an exercise, which means you’ll have less time to rest until your next set begins.
Organizing your workout following the EMOM format makes for an effective and time-efficient workout that helps you get in a lot of quality volume in a relatively short period of time.
EMOM workouts also provide a great mix of cardiovascular and resistance training as both your lungs and muscles will be burning the deeper you get into the workout.
And, EMOM workouts are also great for group training classes since they can be set up in stations, similar to circuit training -- Exercise #1 is the 1st minute, Exercise #2 is the 2nd minute, etc.
Perhaps best of all, EMOM workouts can be scaled up or down in difficulty (work to rest ratio or intensity of the given exercises) to meet the needs of any fitness buff.
Up next, we’ll discuss how to organize EMOM workouts to emphasize different training parameters -- strength, hypertrophy, and strength-endurance (metabolic).
How to Set Up EMOM Workouts
If building strength is your goal, then you want to keep the number of reps per set low and the intensity (how heavy you’re lifting compare to your 1-rep max) high.
One of our favorite exercises to do this with is the deadlift.
Set a clock for 10 minutes, and load the bar with around your 8-RM.
At the start of every minute, you will perform a single rep.
You will then rest the remainder of the minute.
When you can complete 1 rep every minute on the minute, you will then proceed to complete 2 reps every minute on the minute.
When you are able to complete 3 reps every minute on the minute, while using your 8-RM, you will then add weight to the bar and start the process over again.
Hypertrophy (Muscle Growth)
Antagonist supersets or those using non-competing movements are an ideal fit for EMOM workouts focused on hypertrophy.
You’re able to use exercises that provide sufficient tension to the target muscle groups while giving them enough time to recover before the next set.
Here are two of our favorite hypertrophy-centric EMOM workouts:
Set a timer for 15 minutes and perform the following:
- Minute #1 – Barbell Back Squat x 8 reps with 70% of 1-RM
- Minute #2 – Neutral Grip Chin Up x 8 reps
- Minute #3 – REST
- Repeat this 3-minute sequence 5 times for a 15-minute total body workout
Set a timer for 10 minutes and perform the following:
- Minute #1 – Incline Dumbbell Press x 8 reps with 70% of 1-RM
- Minute #2 – Chest Supported Dumbbell Row x 8 reps
- Repeat this 2-minute sequence 5 times for a complete 10-minute upper body workout
If the goal of the EMOM workout is to build strength-endurance and challenge your cardio-metabolic conditioning, then get ready for the monster gauntlet we’ve got listed next.
You will perform each exercise, using a resistance that is challenging but allows you to complete each movement for 30 seconds. After the 30-second work period is complete, you will then rest the remainder of the minute before starting the next move.
Once you’ve made it through the entire circuit one time, rest 1-2 minutes and then repeat 1-3 more times.
- Seal Jacks
- Hamstring walkouts
- Spider-Man Mountain climbers
- Reverse Lunge (Right Leg)
- Reverse Lunge (Left Leg)
- Push Ups
- Lateral shuffle (left to right)
- Bodyweight Squats