What EMOM Workouts Are And Why They Work

What EMOM Workouts Are And Why They Work

EMOM is a buzzword in the fitness community for a reason. It stands for "every minute on the minute" and is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT). These workouts are becoming increasingly popular thanks to their effectiveness and versatility. They're great for just about anyone, from beginners and professional athletes to physical therapy patients using this workout as part of their rehabilitation regimen during recovery.

What are EMOM Workouts?

The idea behind EMOM workouts is to complete a set amount of reps of a specific exercise within one minute. Should you complete that set of reps before your minute is over, you would then use the remaining seconds to rest and recover before beginning the next set at the top of the next minute. You then repeat this cycle for the duration of your workout which generally lasts for 10 to 20 minutes but can also be shorter or longer depending on your goals and intentions for the workout.

You could choose only one exercise to repeat every minute, or you could alternate between various exercises.

As you complete your reps you are "building" fatigue. The increased fatigue slowly increases stress throughout the duration of your workout, which helps to achieve progressive overload. As you train your body to handle the fatigue, your endurance will improve as well.

With EMOMs, your body is essentially being forced to burn and use energy in a more efficient manner, and as we know, burning energy in a more efficient manner means the rate at which you burn fat increases.

As with most interval training, an EMOM workout can help to increase your post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC) which allows your body to carry on burning calories at a higher rate even after your workout session is over.

Where Did EMOM Exercises Get There Start?

Although EMOM workouts were largely popularized by the CrossFit community, the movement has taken on a life of its own and now has its own following.

Some say that EMOM workouts are simply a modern version of escalating density training (EDT) which was formulated by strength coach Charles Staley. EDT requires you to select two opposing exercises (for two antagonizing muscles or movements) and essentially challenges you to see how many reps you can do in a set time period. During an EDT workout, you are encouraged to rest instinctively between reps, whereas during an EMOM exercise routine the goal is to complete your reps and use what time remains to rest before the next minute begins. EMOM is also not to be confused with AMRAP (as many reps as possible), because once again, the goal of an EMOM is to complete a set number of reps in a single minute.

The Benefits of EMOM Workouts

The list of benefits of an EMOM workout is long. For starters, you can squeeze a solid workout into a small amount of time. For the workout itself, all you need is a space, a timer, and whatever equipment (if any) you may want to use. These workouts allow you to burn fat, get lean and build strength, and boost your metabolism at the same time. They're becoming increasingly popular for bodybuilders and powerlifters, who use EMOMs for assistance work. EMOM workouts are also completely customizable, meaning you can structure them to achieve whatever fitness goals you may have. 

Here are a few key benefits of EMOM workouts:

  • Can reduce blood sugar
  • Boosts endurance
  • Increases muscle gains
  • Can help you lose fat
  • Counteracts sedentary lifestyle
  • Completely customizable to your individual fitness level
  • Improves oxygen consumption
  • Improves your maximal oxygen uptake (V02 max)

EMOMs at Home: Getting Started

To start, all you will need is a space, a timer, some water, and your equipment. Many EMOMs don't require any equipment, but if you're using EMOM for strength training be sure to have your dumbells, barbells, or kettlebells at the ready. Remember, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of EMOM workouts to choose from but if you can't find the perfect one for you, simply experiment until you find the right ones that work for you!

The internet is inundated with examples of EMOMs, but here are a few examples to give you an idea of what EMOMs can look like:


  • Minute 1: 10 Push-ups
  • Minute 2: 10 Sit-ups
  • Minute 3: 10 Squats


  • Minute 1: 12 Barbell Thrusters
  • Minute 2: 10 Front Squats
  • Minute 3: 10 Bent Over Rows


  • Minute 1: 10 Barbell Thrusters
  • Minute 2: 12 Burpees
  • Minute 3: 10 Alternating Leg V-ups


  • Minute 1: 10 Push-ups
  • Minute 2: 10 Bodyweight squats
  • Minute 3: 15 Bicycle Crunches
  • Minute 4: 12 Jumping Jacks

Remember not to overdo it, and to use your rest time to the fullest. The fatigue will only continue to increase as you progress, so use every sweet second to your advantage. By the same token, also remember that form comes first. Don't rush through your reps and slack on maintaining form and move through the full range of motion.

Who Could Benefit Most From EMOM Training Sessions

EMOMs are incredibly versatile. That's one thing we love about them. Whether you are a complete newbie to the world of fitness or are a seasoned fitness junkie, there are EMOM workouts out there that will be perfect for you. All you need to do is find the right EMOMs to help you achieve your fitness goals. Just be sure not to bite off too much (or too little). Remember, these workouts are completely customizable, so when you feel it's too hard, turn it down a little. If you feel like you're plateauing, crank the volume up!

If you give it a try and find that EMOMs aren't your thing, stay on the horse and find a workout that works for you.


Nina Kulenkampff is a freelance copywriter and editor based in South Africa. She is passionate about the written word and loves diving deep into research on any given topic. When not at her desk you will find her deeply absorbed in a book or out on a hike in the great outdoors.

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