EMOM to Be Strong and Unlock Your Fitness Potential

In this type of training, you are given a challenge to complete in one minute, and you can use any time that is leftover for recovery.

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Fitness Programs

EMOM to Be Strong and Unlock Your Fitness Potential

HIIT is a workout format you are probably familiar with. It’s extremely trendy, and you can find classes of this style popping up all over at big box gyms as well as boutique fitness studios. It has become a very social way to exercise. However, if you attend these classes day after day, with consistent timed intervals and fairly light weights, chances are you will plateau either physically or mentally. The thrill is gone, and you start to just go through the motions. This is when I turn to a specific type of HIIT training called EMOM.

EMOM stands for “Every Minute On The Minute.” In this type of training, you are given a challenge to complete in one minute, and you can use any time that is leftover for recovery. So, any rest you get is earned. EMOMs start off feeling easy, but as you continue to move through each round repeatedly, they become extremely challenging from one minute to the next.

Why should you try EMOM? Personally, they make my workouts fun and there is no time for me to get bored. But that’s just the beginning of the benefits. EMOM workouts require you to work at a higher intensity during training which can then leads to EPOC(1) (AKA post-exercise oxygen consumption), meaning you will continue to burn calories for an extended period of time after you stop exercising.

There is no doubt the physical benefits are huge. However, my favorite benefit is the mental one. Very little changes from minute to minute in an EMOM (sometimes there’s an option to slightly increase reps as an added challenge, but it’s often a small, gradual change). However, the workout gets progressively more demanding as your body starts to fatigue. The rest gets shorter because as you get tired, each round will take longer to complete. This means you have to keep your head in the game, as the difficult minutes are the ones where your body is changing for the better.

The other nice element to an EMOM is the programming and equipment needed is minimal—it’s more about repetition. So conceptually, there’s not much to it. You also don’t need a long period of time to get a killer workout in. 20 minutes is plenty of time to complete a solid EMOM (plus warm up, cool down, stretching and any accessory work you wish to add).


Let’s Try It Out!

Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate an EMOM style workout into your training routine!


Single Exercise Bodyweight EMOM

In this first example you will use no equipment and just one single exercise. Perform each one for 10 rounds (10 minutes total). For example, if you choose option 2, you complete 10 burpees at the top of every minute and then rest for the remainder of the minute. Repeat 10 times. If any of these exercises take you longer than 40 seconds in your first round, adjust the rep count down accordingly.

  1. 10 reps of pull-ups
  2. 10 reps of full burpees (with push-up)
  3. 20 jump squats
  4. 20 reps of flutter kicks


Alternating Bodyweight EMOM

Now let’s look at one that is bodyweight but alternates exercises. Perform this for 20 minutes:

  • Minute 1: 20 reverse lunges
  • Minute 2: Max burpees (use the first round to set your pace. Perform max burpees in 40 seconds, and use that number for every subsequent round).
  • Minute 3: 20 air squats
  • Minute 4: Max burpees *Repeat this pattern for 5 rounds for a total of 20 minutes of tough work*


Alternating Dumbbell EMOM

Next up, let’s add in a pair of Dumbbells for a 15-minute lower body EMOM workout:

  • Minute 1: 16 DB Alternating Curtsey Lunges (8 each leg)
  • Minute 2: 15 DB Sumo Squats
  • Minute 3: 15 DB Goblet Squats
  • *Repeat for 5 rounds for a total of 15 minutes*


Upper Body Alternating Dumbbell EMOM

And then tag on an upper body workout of the same format:

  • Minute 1: 15 DB Chest Press
  • Minute 2: 15 Hammer Curl + Neutral OH Press
  • Minute 3: 16 DB Alternating Renegade Row + Triceps Extension (advanced add a push up before switching arms)
  • *Repeat for 5 rounds for a total of 15 minutes*


Full Body Power EMOM

Finally, try this full body power EMOM of the same format:
  • Minute 1: 20 DB Alternating Snatches
  • Minute 2: 12 DB Deadlift to Clean
  • Minute 3: 15 DB Sit Up to Press
  • *Repeat for 5 rounds for a total of 15 minutes*

These 5 workout options will all give you a great sweat, build strength, and boost your metabolism with very little time commitment and just your own bodyweight. If you have extra time or you’re more advanced, you can combine several of them back-to-back or throughout your day.


How I Use EMOMs in my Workout Routine

My personal favorite way to perform an EMOM is combining bodyweight and weighted movements. I find that mixing in exercises such as box jumps, push-ups, sit ups, burpees with a hop over, or surrenders with a heavy dumbbell is the ultimate way for me to get my heartrate up while still focusing on building strength. It’s the best of both worlds, especially when you’re short on time. The rest period gives your body a quick break from lifting, which might help with an extra boost in the following round. I find this to be the most entertaining format, as well.

Here is an example of one of my favorites:

  • Minute 1: 10 DB King Kong Snatches
  • Minute 2: 15 Box Jumps
  • Minute 3: 10 DB Thrusters
  • Minute 4: 10 Burpee + Hop Over DB
  • Minute 5: 10 DB Clean + Squat
  • *Repeat for 4-5 rounds for a total of 20-25 minutes*

For this workout, make sure to scale back reps to only go 40 seconds max so that you have at least 20 seconds of rest, especially if you’re using a challenging weight. The goal is to lift heavy during the dumbbell movements and to move quickly on the bodyweight movements.

For personalized results, use your first round to set your numbers instead of using the ones programmed above. To do this, perform the first 5 minutes as 40/20 intervals (working hard!), and count your reps. Then match those reps for all the rounds to follow. This will push your limits and force you to level up, so keep your mind focused and remind yourself you are strong and capable. The hardest reps are the most important ones.


Leveling Up

Once you have mastered the art of the EMOM workout, switch it up with a 2MOM or even a 5MOM. These consist of multiple exercises with the same idea—complete the reps and earn your rest. These slightly longer challenges can be very demanding physically, but they’re exciting, making them more enjoyable mentally. The short time limit forces you to keep working hard, stay focused, and helps to make your workout go by quickly. You’ll be surprised how hard you will work from start to finish to complete the challenge in the allotted time and achieve that golden rest period. I hope this new format will spice up your workouts and help you to reach new heights in your health and fitness journey.


1. McCall, P. (2014, August 28). 7 things to know about excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC). https://www.acefitness.org/resources/pros/expert-articles/5008/7-things-to-know-about-excess-post-exercise-oxygen-consumption-epoc/. Accessed 14 March 2024.


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