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Why EMOM Workouts Are the Ultimate Training Style to Boost Your Fitness Benefits

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  • Post last modified:September 25, 2023

When you’re already pressed for time, nothing is more bothersome than trying a workout advertised to only take 20 minutes but, by the time you’re finished, has turned into a half-hour ordeal because of breaks and complicated equipment setup.

One solution? Give an EMOM workout a try, which has fixed work and rest periods so a 20-minute workout truly lasts 20 minutes.

To receive all the details about this training style, refer to this guide on EMOM workouts, which breaks down the meaning of “EMOM,” how it differs from other workout methods, and its main advantages. Additionally, you’ll discover EMOM exercises and workouts suitable for any fitness level and training requirement, allowing you to easily incorporate them into your fitness routine.

What Are EMOM Workouts?

EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute,” and an EMOM workout is a type of interval workout that involves performing a single or a few specific exercises for a set number of repetitions at the start of every minute, according to Saman Munir, a certified personal trainer with EvolveYou. Once you complete those repetitions, you can utilize the remaining time within that minute for rest. For instance, if you finish your 15 push-ups within the first 30 seconds of the minute, you can use the remaining 30 seconds as recovery time. After the minute is over, you will repeat the process with another exercise.

Since the objective is to complete all the repetitions as quickly as possible, maximizing the rest time before the next minute begins, EMOM workouts are generally intense and fast-paced, as mentioned by Kelly Froelich, a certified personal trainer and co-founder of the digital fitness platform Balanced. The duration of an EMOM-style training session is not set in stone: You can design your workout to last anywhere from five to 30 minutes, according to Froelich.

The Advantages of EMOM Workouts

Not sure if EMOM workouts are suitable for you? These benefits will surely persuade you to incorporate them into your fitness program — or at least give them a try.

Enhance Cardiorespiratory Health

Remember, the length of your recovery period depends on how swiftly you can complete your repetitions — while maintaining good form, of course. “With an EMOM, if you slow down, you’re actually going to get less rest,” adds Froelich. “So the goal is to maintain that pace even as your body gets tired throughout the session.” As a result, EMOM workouts are an effective method to get your dose of cardio.

They’re highly adept at elevating your heart rate because you’re motivated to accomplish tasks as expeditiously as feasible,” she asserts.

ICYDK, Aerobic and respiratory training involves exercises that aid in stimulating and strengthening the heart and lungs, Melissa Kendter, an ACE-certified trainer, functional training specialist, and EvolveYou coach, previously stated to Shape. More specifically, cardio raises your heart rate, gets your blood flowing, and trains your lungs and heart to function more effectively in delivering oxygen to the muscles. This ultimately helps you handle more demanding physical activity without experiencing breathlessness, she explained. The American Heart Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention both recommend engaging in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both per week to diminish the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, and other health conditions. Fortunately, participating in EMOM workouts will assist you in meeting those targets.

Can Be Altered to Accommodate Your Fitness Goals

Despite the fact that EMOM workouts typically consist of high-intensity cardio exercises, you have the option to reduce the intensity. If you desire to develop muscular endurance or strength, you can opt for weighted exercises performed at a slower pace (e.g. thrusters, shoulder presses) or isometric exercises executed for a specific duration (think: squat holds, planks, V-sits) rather than fast-paced jumping jacks or bodyweight squats. “Depending on the exercise, the repetitions, and the load, it can easily transition between a high-intensity cardio workout or a workout focused on building strength,” says Froelich.

Furthermore, you can customize your EMOM workout to target your entire physique or concentrate on a specific muscle group, states Munir. For instance, if you wish to focus on your core, you can structure an eight-minute EMOM workout solely for your abs, she suggests.

Can Also Serve as Warm-Ups and Finishers

While the EMOM method can be employed in designing comprehensive workouts, you have the option to apply this technique to any part of your training session. For instance, you can engage in an EMOM-style warm-up featuring bodyweight exercises to prepare your body for a weightlifting session. On the other hand, if you prefer to conclude your workouts on a high note, you can also incorporate a five-minute, high-intensity, EMOM-style finisher, which is Froelich’s preferred way of utilizing this training method.

Assist in Monitoring Your Progress

Since the objective of Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) workouts is to complete your repetitions as rapidly as possible in order to maximize your rest period, you are able to assess how your fitness is improving from week to week, according to Munir. Suppose you complete an average of 10 push-ups in 50 seconds during the initial rounds of an EMOM workout. Over time, by consistently working on your push-ups by incorporating this EMOM workout into your routine, you may discover that you can finish those 10 push-ups in just 40 seconds. As you continue to increase your speed or enhance your strength, you can challenge yourself further by increasing the number of repetitions to continue making progress.

This advantage can be especially crucial if you are returning to exercise after an injury, explains Froelich. “Maybe you initially set your goal at five squats when you were previously doing 10 before your injury, and then you gradually work your way up — you can add an additional repetition the next time you perform the workout,” she clarifies. “You can truly monitor your progress.”

EMOM Workouts vs. AMRAP Workouts

Both EMOM workouts and As Many Rounds As Possible (AMRAP) workouts have a fixed duration, and a workout advertised as lasting 10 minutes, for instance, will always take that long to complete. However, the key distinction between the two lies in the rest period. Specifically, in an AMRAP workout, you are free to take a break at any time and for as long as you desire while performing as many repetitions of an exercise or rounds of a circuit as possible within a predetermined time frame, as previously explained by Kendter to Shape. In an EMOM workout, however, you are only allowed to rest after completing all your repetitions and only for the remaining time left in the minute. To summarize: If you perform better when you have the flexibility to take breaks without the pressure of the clock, AMRAP workouts may be a better fit for you. (Of course, it is important to listen to your body and take breaks or modify as necessary during any workout — including EMOM — and then resume when you feel ready.)

The Finest EMOM Workout Exercises

For beginners in this training style, the most suitable EMOM exercises consist solely of bodyweight movements, as incorporating weights while striving to move as quickly as possible can increase the risk of injury if you are not adequately prepared, states Froelich. Additionally, even just taking a few seconds to gather your equipment for the next round reduces the amount of valuable rest time you have available, she adds. As you gain more experience, you can introduce dumbbells or kettlebells into your EMOM workout.

Another factor to consider when selecting exercises is the objective of your EMOM workout. If you desire a workout that focuses heavily on cardio and strength-building, alternate between cardio exercises and strength exercises (for example: 20 bodyweight squats for the first minute, then 10 weighted squats for the second minute), suggests Froelich. “You are combining cardio and muscle-building, and switching between the two adds a bit more excitement.

The Top EMOM Workouts

To further intensify the challenge without increasing repetitions or adding in resistance, you can also complete two distinct exercises in a span of one minute. For instance, you may execute 10 push-ups followed by 10 bodyweight squats, for instance, all prior to the minute ending, states Munir.

When you’re prepared to attempt an EMOM workout, select four to five of the exercises below, and then cycle through them for a complete workout. For instance, “I’ll perform push-ups for the first minute, then bodyweight squats for the second minute, punches for the third minute, and jumping jacks for the fourth minute,” says Munir. “Next, I’ll repeat the entire sequence four or five times, depending on my level of energy.”

Regardless of your skill level and the exercises involved, it is advisable to choose a number of repetitions that you can complete within 45 to 50 seconds, says Froelich. “The objective is to have at least 10 to 15 seconds of rest before the next minute commences,” she clarifies. “Because it’s a more high-intensity workout, you want to be able to provide your body with that brief rest period so it can reset for the following set.” Those 15 seconds will allow you to catch your breath sufficiently to tackle the next set, but it won’t decrease your heart rate enough to diminish the cardio burn, she explains.

Exceptional EMOM Workouts

To elevate your heart rate and test your muscles, contemplate incorporating these EMOM workouts into your routine. Whether you desire a comprehensive full-body training session that you can do at home or you seek to perfect a single exercise, you have various choices.

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