EMOM workouts women

What is EMOM & Should You Try It?

If you’ve gone into a CrossFit gym or browsed Pinterest for gym routines in the past couple of years, chances are that you’ve come across more than a few experts suggesting EMOM workouts. So, what does EMOM mean, and should you try it? Keep reading to learn more about this popular workout and find out whether or not it’s right for you!

What is EMOM?

EMOM is an acronym for “every minute on the minute.” It describes a specific type of workout, originally developed in CrossFit, that challenges the athlete to maintain a similar level of exertion over time—even as muscles fatigue. Typical EMOM workouts are anywhere from 4 to 45 minutes long and can be completed either on their own (as the entire workout) or as part of a longer workout of the day (WOD).

Benefits of EMOM Workouts

Even if you don’t do CrossFit, these workouts are a great option for both group and individual gym sessions. EMOM workouts work well because they are:

1. Quick

One major advantage of these workouts is that they’re quick and efficient. A 15-20 circuit is a great option if you’re short on time but want to break a serious sweat. Simply pick 2-4 of your favorite exercises, set a number of goal reps that you can reasonably complete in 45 seconds, and then set a timer! Try to maintain the same speed/intensity and form, even as fatigue sets in.

2. Versatile

EMOM workouts are also versatile, meaning they can be created to achieve a wide variety of fitness goals. Similar to circuit training, you can choose exercises that are either cardio-focused (e.g. burpees, sprints, jumping jacks) or strength-focused (e.g. pull-ups, kettlebell swings, deadlifts), or a combination of the two.

3. Easy to Modify

The final benefit of EMOM workouts is that they are easily adapted to different individuals and fitness levels. Whether you’re designing a routine for a group or for yourself, it’s easy to make the workout harder or easier by modifying the number of repetitions (reps) per minute, adjusting the weight, or modifying the exercises (e.g., doing knee push-ups instead of full push-ups). They’re also easy to adapt to specific situations, like a shortage of gym equipment or an injury.

EMOM workouts weight lifting

EMOM Workout Guidelines

As discussed above, EMOM workouts come in many forms. They can be short, long, cardio-focused, strength-focused, repetitive, or variable… it all depends on the person designing the routine. So, consider these guidelines as you design your own EMOM workout:

✅ Repetitions

Choose a number of repetitions that feel challenging but achievable for you. In general, you will do more reps of a cardio exercise than a strength exercise.

  • Strength-focused exercise: 4-10 reps/minute
  • Cardio-focused exercise: 8-12 reps/minute

Regardless of the workout’s focus, the last rep of the last minute should feel really hard.

✅ Timing

You should be able to comfortably finish the goal number of repetitions in 45 seconds or less during the first minute. If you are not getting at least 15 seconds of rest at the beginning or no rest at all by the end, make your EMOM workout easier.

You can make it easier by reducing the goal reps, using lighter weights, or modifying individual moves.

✅ Variation

EMOM workouts can be formatted differently, depending on the goal of your sweat session. For example, if you want a full-body workout, it’s probably more beneficial to include 3-4 different moves and repeat them several times each. However, if you’re looking for a leg-specific workout, it may be more beneficial to only include 1-2 moves and then aim to maintain power and form even as your leg muscles begin to fatigue.

A couple common EMOM workout patterns include: 10 sets of 2 moves, 5 sets of 3 moves or 10 sets of 1 single move. Regardless of your pattern, make sure to keep a clock nearby so you know when to start each exercise.

EMOM Workout Ideas

Not sure where to start? Here are five workouts to try (or to use as inspiration for your own workouts):

EMOM for 5 minutes
4 deadlifts
Focus on perfecting your form.

EMOM for 10 minutes
50 meter sprint on the erg (rowing machine)
Aim to maintain the same speed for every minute.

EMOM for 12 minutes
odd minutes: 10 burpees
even minutes: 20 kettlebell swings

EMOM for 12 minutes (full body)
minute one: 50 singles with jump rope
minute two: 8 squats with weight
minute three: 10 push-ups
repeat x4

EMOM for 20 minutes (legs)
minute one: 10 walking lunges
minute two: 10 goblet squats
minute three: 10 burpees
minute four: 10 skaters
repeat x5

Have you tried EMOM workouts? In the comments section below, let us know what you like or don’t like or share your favorite routines with us!

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    1. So sorry to hear about your knee, Ray 🙁 If you can’t jump or squat right now, you can try upper body EMOMs with exercises like bicep curls, pull-ups, overheard presses or even some low-impact cardio (like rowing), as you knee allows. Hope you feel better soon!
      Rachel, HTLW team

  1. Amazing, I rather workout super hard and be done with it than spend 3 hours in the gym doing cardio on the daily. To each their own I guess.

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