You’ve got deadlines to hit, errands to run, kids to feed, dogs to walk...the list goes on.
You know that staying fit is essential for energy levels and longevity, but hour-long workouts, whether at the gym or at home, are just not on the cards with your busy schedule.
But worry not. With EMOM workouts, if you can carve out 20 minutes (let’s face it, you can find 20 minutes), you can get your fitness in.
If you have some light equipment handy, like a kettlebell or dumbbell, that’s ideal. But if not, don’t worry, your bodyweight and some floor space is all you need.
And we’re not talking about some easy and lame workouts. Done properly, a 15-minute EMOM workout will leave you drenched in sweat and gasping for air.
So, without further ado, let’s get into it.
Unless you’ve had experience with Crossfit, or some other type of athletic conditioning training, it’s unlikely that you’ve heard of an EMOM workout before.
EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute”. The challenge comes into play because you have to complete a set number of reps within 60 seconds.
Whatever time is left in the minute after you complete your reps is used for rest and recovery, which is a crucial part of EMOM workouts. The little rest gets your mind and body ready for the next round.
So, let’s say you want to do one hundred push-ups in 10 minutes.
With an EMOM workout, the way you’d structure that workout is that you’d do ten push-ups at the start of each minute.
So, you set a timer for 10 minutes. When it starts, you do ten push-ups, and then rest till the timer hits the 9-minute mark. Then you do ten more, and so on.
There are quite a few benefits to structuring your workouts by the minute, as we will discuss below.
Benefits of EMOM styled workouts
Besides the obvious benefit of completing your workout within a short period of time, there are other benefits to EMOM workouts as well.
Let’s explore some of these additional benefits.
Suitable for every level
One of the best things about bodyweight workouts, and especially EMOM styled exercise routines, is that you can adjust the intensity according to your fitness level.
Let’s take the previous example of one hundred push-ups in 10 minutes. If you haven’t worked out much before, that might seem unrealistic to you.
But what about two push-ups each minute? You can most likely get that done. That means 20 push-ups in ten minutes.
And the benefit of bodyweight workouts like push-ups, pull-ups, air squats, planks, etc., is that your risk of injury is significantly lower than traditional strength training in the gym.
But of course, to progress towards your fitness goals, you need to increase your exercise intensity over time, which brings us to the next benefit of EMOM workouts.
Easily track and scale your progress
With EMOM workouts, it is pretty easy to set incremental goals and to track your progress.
Let’s stick with our example of the hundred push-ups in ten minutes.
Let’s assume, for now, you can only complete 50 push-ups in 10 minutes. So that’s five per minute. You’ve tried going 6 per minute, but it gets to be too much around the 7th or 8th minute, and you scaled back to 5.
So next week, or 3 days from now after you’ve recovered, you can try 60 pushups in 10 minutes. You can keep progressing week by week until you reach your goal of hundred push-ups in 10 minutes.
The way these workouts are designed, you get to reward yourself with a mini break each minute.
If you can complete your 10 pushups in 20 seconds, you get a 40 second rest. This added incentive may push you to increase your intensity.
Also, if it gets to be exhausting and tiring towards the end of your workout (as it should), you know there is a respite soon around the corner.
You literally get through the workout one minute at a time.
Breaking down complex and difficult endeavors into small digestible chunks can help your mindset and make sure you stick through the workout till the end.
Versatility of training
You can customize your workouts according to your goals.
Although we've been using the push-ups example throughout this article, you can use EMOM for a wide variety of exercises.
You can do sprints, jump ropes, or compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, or calisthenics like pull-ups or push-ups. Or a combination of all of the above.
Really it all depends on your current fitness level, the equipment at your disposal, your schedule, and of course, what you’re trying to accomplish.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at a few different types of EMOM workout ideas you can try this week.
EMOM workout ideas
If your gym has a conditioning class that incorporates EMOM style workouts, then the class will most likely use a combination of cardio and strength training.
You can think of these workouts as a type of HIIT training.
But if you’re training on your own, then there is no reason why you can’t stick with one of these types of exercise for the entire workout. Or, you can combine them if you want.
Let’s check out a few examples of EMOM workouts.
As we mentioned before, feel free to adjust these workouts to your fitness level. If we recommend 15 push-ups each minute, but you can only do 7 (for the entirety of the workout), that’s totally fine.
You want to push yourself to your limit. And your goal should be to increase that limit over time.
And be sure to fuel yourself with a natural pre workout beforehand to make sure you have adequate energy to get through these surprisingly grueling workouts.
EMOM workout idea 1
Time: 30 minutes
Equipment: Yoga mat (optional)
Odd minutes (1st, 3rd, 5th minutes, etc.): 7 burpees
Even minutes (2nd, 4th, 6th minutes, etc.): 20 sit-ups
EMOM workout idea 2
For this workout, first decide what is the maximum speed you can run at for 1 minute.
This should be a speed that you can do only for about a minute before you run out of breath. It should be intense enough to the point where if someone asks you a question, you can’t answer it without slowing down.
Time: 30 minutes
5 minute warmup with a light jog.
Then repeat this following sequence 10 times.
1 minute: 80% of your max speed
1 minute: light jog/walk to recover
End with a 5 minute cool down of light jogging or walking.
EMOM workout idea 3
Time: 20 minutes
Equipment: Pull-up bars at home, gym, or park
Odd minutes (1st, 3rd, 5th minutes, etc.): 7 pull-ups
Even minutes (2nd, 4th, 6th minutes, etc.): 7 burpees
So many people give up on a fit and healthy lifestyle because they think they don’t have the time to spend hours at the gym each week.
But the thing is, you don’t need hours. All you need is around 20-30 minutes each day. If you have some equipment, that’s great, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t.
The other thing you need to do is to make a promise to yourself that you’ll set aside 20 minutes each day, no matter what, to invest in your long term health and longevity.
Whether its the EMOM workouts mentioned here, other HIIT training, or simply a jog around the block, it’s the first step towards a life filled with energy, health, and happiness.