EMOM Workouts: What Are They and How To Do Them

by Evelyn Valdez

Building endurance at the gym is one of the most popular fitness goals among active trainers. This is because having higher endurance means being able to perform for longer and have more intense and challenging workouts, and this is something that you definitely want if you’re after any specific fitness goal.

But endurance workouts can be tough and finding a good one can be even tougher. Ideally, you want a workout that’s effective and intense enough to challenge your muscles as well as your cardiorespiratory system to develop a more powerful body – and this is why EMOM workouts are a perfect choice!

We’ll tell you everything you need to know about this type of training, from what it’s all about and how it works to how you can implement it successfully for a better fitness journey. So, first things first…

What is an EMOM workout?

EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute”, and just like the name indicates, it’s a type of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that is structured by the minute. What this means is that, during EMOM training, you perform one exercise for a number of reps during one minute, and at the top of the next minute you immediately begin your reps for the next exercise.

But what about rest times?

Well, that’s more or less up to you! More specifically, it’s up to how quickly you can perform your reps. Rest periods are included within the minute, so any seconds you have left after you’ve completed your reps and before the next minute starts – that’s your resting time. For example, if you managed to finish your reps in 30 seconds, you can rest for the other 30 seconds remaining.

Now, this doesn’t mean you’re going to be performing your reps all rushed. The key to an effective workout plan is to perform each rep with good form and go through the full range of motion, so you definitely can’t skip that! But, since you’re doing HIIT exercises, your movements will naturally be very quick, giving you enough time to rest before the next exercise if you pace yourself correctly.

Benefits of EMOM training

The goal of this kind of exercise, as it usually is with all kinds of HIIT workouts, is to get a high amount of training volume done in a short amount of time. It’s a really effective way to get your heart pumping and keep your muscles at peak performance at all times during your training for the day.

But the benefits don’t stop at effective time management! Besides being super convenient and flexible, particularly on those busier days of the week, EMOM workouts are great for fat burning because of how intense they are. They burn a high amount of calories during and even after your workout is finished, when your body is using your remaining energy and tapping into fat storage to go back to its usual resting state.

They also help improve your cardiovascular health, muscular endurance, response times, and overall focus. Plus, they’re highly customizable! You can focus on certain muscle groups during your circuit or do a well-rounded routine – it’s completely up to you.

EMOM vs. regular HIIT

While EMOM is a type of HIIT exercise, there is a difference between these workouts and the regular HIIT workouts that you would do during cardio days.

During a standard HIIT circuit, you have a set amount of time to do each set of reps, but you also have a set amount of time for resting. For example, do 60 seconds of high-knee running in place, and then rest for 30 seconds. You can play with these ratios, but one won’t directly impact the other.

However, during EMOM training, working times and resting times are directly related, which makes for a more intense workout both mentally and physically. Mentally because you need to know how to pace yourself to make the seconds count, but also physically because you’ll only be able to rest for whatever amount of time you have left until the next minute. And this only gets more difficult as the circuit progresses, making for a very intense but effective workout!

How to do an EMOM workout

Before you go all in and put together a bunch of high-intensity exercises together, you need to take a step back and evaluate your goals and your current fitness level. During EMOM workouts, everything happens very fast, so you need to plan ahead for how intense it will be – and that means choosing your exercises carefully!

Exercise selection will depend on two things: what you can achieve and what you want to achieve during your workout. And these are two completely different things! What you can achieve means choosing exercises that you know you can perform at a high intensity with good form. If you’ve mastered the correct form of an exercise and you’re able to perform the desired reps for the number of times required, then you can add it. EMOM isn’t the best time to try new movements!

On the other hand, what you want to achieve relates to your fitness goals. If your current goal is to strengthen your arms and back to have a more powerful upper body, you should choose exercises that emphasize that area of your body. Putting together exercises such as jump squats, side lunges, and jumping jacks won’t do a lot for the desired area. So choose wisely!

Here is an example of a 16-minute full-body EMOM workout:

  • Minute 1: Squats x 10, then rest
  • Minute 2: Push-ups x 10, then rest
  • Minute 3: Crunches x 15, then rest
  • Minute 4: Jumping jacks x 15, then rest
  • Minute 5-16: Repeat the above cycle in order

Since this rotation features 4 different exercises, you can repeat the cycle just 3 times for a total of 12 minutes if you’re a beginner, or 5 times for a total of 20 minutes if you’re on a more advanced level – this is up to you.

If you start by doing 12 minutes of EMOM training and get to a point where you can complete your workout with ease, you can start adding reps, free weights, or modifying the exercises so that they’re more challenging. And eventually, work your way up to longer workouts!

Remember, for this kind of timed workout, it’s crucial to have something to keep the time, whether it’s a stopwatch or just your phone. You’ll want to make sure you’re keeping each round of reps under a minute so you can get enough rest and immediately begin the next exercise as soon as the next minute hits.

And don’t forget to grab all the equipment you need! Once you’ve planned your workout and know exactly what you’re gonna do, make sure you have everything you need near you so you can quickly grab them when it’s time for each exercise. Whether you’re working out with dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, or even a barbell, keeping them close will help avoid any delays in your workout.

Take your muscles to the limit with EMOM workouts

HIIT workouts are a great tool at the gym, whether you have specific goals you want to achieve or you just need to get through your workout faster on a given day, and EMOM training, in particular, is the perfect option if you want to maximize your exercise routine. Just make sure you set the appropriate intensity and volume for your fitness level and your goals – and don’t overdo it!

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