What is an EMOM?
EMOM, an acronym for “every minute on the minute,” is a form of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) that has you pounding out the reps for a different exercise at the start of each minute. Imagine you finish the required reps in 40 seconds, those remaining 20 seconds are all yours to catch your breath. Time moves pretty fast.
Typically, EMOMs are performed in a group setting, which allows those in the group to feed off one another’s energy. But ultimately, this workout is designed to push your body hard with limited recovery time. EMOMs are also ideal for individuals pressed for time yet want to reach a higher heart rate training zone, meaning you will also reap the benefits after the workout when your body is recovering. Also known as EPOC
The Tabata protocol is structured similarly to an EMOM workout in that you are given a specific length of time to work at your highest level of intensity with little time for recovery. Typically, Tabata is done in four-minute intervals of 20 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. Both require you to leave it all out there. “Go all out!”
As the industry introduced more variations of the flexible workout, EMOMs’ popularity increased, similar to that of many HIIT workouts. EMOMs provide everything, including a faster way to attain a higher heart-rate training zone and still experience the advantages after exercising, regardless of the availability of equipment or the amount of time available.
What are some EMOM workout benefits?
- High calorie burner: When the rest intervals are short, muscles use more oxygen, which results in greater caloric expenditure. So in the case of an EMOM, “muscles will keep working, so that the body will burn around five calories to consume one liter of oxygen, used to help produce energy for muscle contractions,” McCall explains.
- Can promote weight loss: On the same thread, as HIIT-style training helps to burn calories efficiently, this type of workout elevates your heart rate with bouts of high-intensity movements and short rest. Therefore your cardiovascular system is constantly working at a high level, which can result in weight loss.
- Increases overall work capacity: “When you perform reps and sets at a high volume and with reduced rest time, it increases your ability to perform at a higher work rate when working out with more rest time,” clarifies Williams. As a consequence, this will also increase overall cardiovascular output and, as previously outlined, muscular endurance.
- Tough workout in half the time: “From a time management perspective, EMOMs are great for pushing yourself in whatever block of time you have,”
- You control your rest period: Once the timer starts, you decide how hard to push in order to maximize your rest time. “If it takes 30 seconds to complete 20 reps, then you have 30 seconds of a rest break, whereas using up 40–45 seconds leaves you barely enough time to catch your breath before the next set starts,” explains McCall.
- Efficient structure: The class is actually designed to encourage you to bank additional rest time. “If you take too much rest time in a workout, EMOMs will force you to work more efficiently,” points out Berkowitz. And this structure can be used for multiple workouts. “For instance, if you tend to rest too much between strength sets, such as back squats, try an EMOM for five squats each round.”
- More anabolic hormones: Depleting energy stores in muscle cells is known as metallic overload, which, according to McCall, occurs when you work to the point of fatigue. “It results in the production of human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin-like growth factor, two hormones that promote tissue repair and muscle growth,” he says. HGH is known for increasing muscle protein synthesis for muscle growth, while insulin-like growth factor supports the function of HGH to mend protein that’s damaged through exercise.
- Builds muscle and strength endurance: “You can make great strength and muscular endurance gains from EMOM workouts,” shares Williams. This is partly due to the high intensity of the exercise coupled with the short rest time that often results in an increased hormonal response to the muscle area worked.With an EMOM workout, it’s likely that your muscles will work as hard as they do during a traditional, 45+ minute strength workout. And, in addition to that, you’re maintaining an elevated heart rate, which enables you to burn more calories than usual. But that doesn’t mean that EMOMs are any less effective at building strength. Practice your favorite strengthening exercises (like squats or lunges) at 50% of your 1 rep max (1RM) and increase by 5% every minute on the minute as long as you can maintain proper form. During the lighter loads, concentrate on improving your technique.
How Should I Incorporate EMOMs Into My Workout?
EMOMs are rarely standalone workouts; instead, they are typically incorporated into an existing routine. Of course, this is not a steadfast rule.
One thing to consider when incorporating EMOMs into your workout is the type of exercises that you wish to complete. Most of the time, EMOM exercises are dynamic in nature, meaning they include multiple movements. Burpees, skater jumps, or squat jumps are ideal since you can move at your own pace.
Don’t forget about strengthening moves like deadlifts, squats, or push-ups. However, choosing these types of exercises means that you’ll need to choose a suitable rep range and weight that allows you to maintain proper form. Avoid the desire to power through these technique-heavy lifts as it may lead to injury.
EMOM workout examples and variations:
The best way to wrap your head around it is to watch a couple videos. Mathew Thornton (Owner/ Head Strength Coach) at Hyperswole Sports Performance Gym in Jacksonville, Florida, does an amazing job of demenstrating variations of EMOM routines as well as showing how intense they may be.
The Final Takeaway
The flexibility of an EMOM workout allows you to play around with timing, structure, and what equipment is used. This is why EMOMS are so efficient at slotting into any time of day and from any location that has a solid, supportive surface.
Understand that EMOMs are only one component of your fitness plan. They should not be used in solidarity but, rather, worked into your current regime.
To make EMOMs easier to complete, choose exercises, reps, and a work time that won’t bring you to failure. By doing so, your workouts will be challenging, yet achievable.
Experiment, Test your limits, and most of ALL have Fun.