Your fitness-filled social media feed is probably filled with all kinds of acronyms—HIIT, LIIT, AMRAP—the list goes on and on. And one that may have sparked some confusion is EMOM.
What exactly do those four letters mean, and how should you incorporate EMOM into your workouts? Here’s what you need to know about EMOMs.
What exactly is an EMOM workout?
A popular form of cardio training, EMOM workouts involve starting an exercise “every minute on the minute.” This type of interval workout offers a fun way to make some waves in your typical cardio- or strength-focused routine, and it’s a solid way to keep you moving through your workout.
To do an EMOM workout, select a rep count or amount of time for your designated exercises, explains Katie Flaherty, NASM-certified personal trainer, and coach at Brick New York. “Then finish the move reps within the minute, resting during the remaining time. At the top of the next minute, you start the movements again.”
For example, you’d do 10 squat jumps at the start of the minute. If it takes you 30 seconds to complete, you have 30 seconds to rest before the next round of jump squats.
EMOMs differ from AMRAPs (a.k.a. “as many rounds as possible”) because they have built-in rest. Whereas AMRAPs usually involve completing multiple exercises for multiple reps or rounds, in a set amount of time, without rest.
What’s the point of EMOMs?
Like any HIIT workout, you’re meant to crank out each move at an all-out effort during your designated time period. Then, you let your body recover before you bust out the next set of moves at the top of the next minute.
“If you’re looking for a smart way to spend your time at the gym, but you’re tired of the same routine, this can be a great way to keep yourself motivated,” says Flaherty.
Flaherty points out a few other benefits of this type of HIIT training:
1. You can track your progress
Write down the set of movements you completed within the minute, plus how much time you had left to spare, and compare this number week to week. Maybe you had 20 seconds left after a set of curls or deadlifts, and a few weeks later you now have 30 seconds left. Obviously you’ve gotten strong enough to push faster through that set.
The same goes for recording your weights. If you’re doing your EMOM based on time, say working for 30 seconds, then resting for the rest of that minute before starting again, you can jot down the amount of weight you lifted in that 30-second push. Week after week, you’ll likely see that weight number increase.
2. You can focus on form
By allowing yourself that recovery period at the end of a minute, you get time to reset your body (and mind) and get ready for the next work period. Taking this breather means you can work with better quality—rather than eking out rep after rep for long periods of time, in which your form may suffer. If you start to see your form break, bring down the rep count or make sure you stop so you have at least 15 seconds to catch your breath.
3. You beat boredom
Nothing reads dread quite like repeating the same workout over and over. You need to switch up your routines to keep both your mind and body challenged. Even if you do exercises that you’ve done plenty of times before, EMOMs add a new structure and exciting way to test your fitness. You can also use this structure to switch up both your cardio and strength workouts—just choose exercises that fit your goals.
Looking for a quick workout? Try this three-move arm circuit.
How do I add EMOMs to my workouts?
You can schedule an EMOM session into your workout in countless different ways, according to Faherty. Choose just one tough move (think a kettlebell swing, burpee, or squat to press), aiming to complete 10 to 12 reps in that minute. Or opt for different moves to start on even and odd minutes.
You can even re-start your EMOM after a few minutes. In other words, instead of every minute on the single minute, you can do a few exercises, without rest, every fourth minute. This allows you to get in multiple moves in one push—then reset at the top of the four minute mark.
Faherty suggests a few of her favorite EMOM combos that fit these different programming tactics:
4 EMOM Workouts to Try
EMOM 1: Train Multiple Muscles In One HIIT
- Minute 1: 15 dumbbell push presses
- Minute 2: 15 dumbbell deadlifts
- Minute 3: 15 weighted sit-ups
Complete three to four rounds total.
EMOM 2: Learn A New Skill With Ample Recovery
EMOM for 10 minutes: 30-second jump rope with high knees
EMOM 3: One Exercise To Exhaustion
- Minute 1: 1 burpee
- Minute 2: 2 burpees
- Minute 3: 3 burpees
- Minute 4 and beyond: Keep adding a burpee every minute until failure to complete the set.
E4MOM: Multiple Exercises In Four Minutes
- 6 back squats
- 12 banded glute bridges
- 12 box step-ups
Complete four rounds total.
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