EMOM Training: Workouts that Maximize Your Gym Time

If you're looking for a new & challenging way to train in the gym, EMOM workouts might be exactly what you are looking for. Read more about this training style!

How many of these articles have you read with workouts that call for x number of sets for y number of reps?

There are many of them out there.

Don’t get me wrong, those workouts are great. As a matter of fact, I’ve written many of them and stand behind them.

My point is that even though that way has worked, it might not be the only way that works for you as the athlete.

Those other avenues should be explored.

What Is EMOM training?

Unless you live in complete solitude, you might have seen the letters in the title of this article.

EMOM is the abbreviation for “Every Minute on the Minute” and yes, it’s a term that is very affiliated with Cross Training. As much as people like to talk about the ills of what they do, the fact is Cross Training has introduced some positives as well and EMOM is one of them.

Related: CrossFit vs Weight Training - Which Gives Better Results?

As long as it’s out there, you might as well learn more about it so you can use its perks to your advantage and improve your own lifting game.

EMOM calls for you to perform a set number of reps at the top of a minute. Once you complete those reps, you rest for the remainder of that minute and begin performing reps of something else on the next minute.

M&S Athlete Performing an EMOM Workout

This is a different protocol for many of us in the iron game because we’re used to doing the reps, resting for 60-90 seconds, and doing another set. EMOM training will shock you because of how intense it can be due to the altered rest time. If you do 12 reps and it takes you 25 seconds, you only get 35 seconds to recover and prepare for the next thing.

This serves you in a mental aspect as well. It can be real easy to lose focus in a standard form of training because of conversation or looking at your phone. With EMOM training, you’re watching the clock because as soon as that second hand hits the 12, it’s go time!

You have to focus on the task at hand and nothing else if you want EMOM to work to your advantage.

Training Time for EMOM

When you look at typical EMOM sessions, they’re short. Generally the workouts will last from 15-20 minutes which is a lot different from the 45-60 minute workouts we’re used to, right?

That doesn’t mean a workout that takes 21 minutes is doing it wrong, though. You can use EMOM training to serve you and benefit from it. The key though is to keep the sets during that minute short.

This is not the protocol to follow if you want to do 30 plus reps. That will cut into your rest time considerably which doesn’t help you and might lead to you getting hurt.

Creating Your EMOM Sets

You can make your EMOM set in one of two ways. Option A is to do a set number of reps.

Let’s use the leg press as an example. You can say that you’re going to do 3 EMOM sets of 12 reps. That means you start at the top of the minute and do 12 reps. Once you finish the 12th rep and rack it, the second hand is at 30 seconds. That means you get 30 seconds to rest before the top of the next minute and the beginning of your next set.

The other way to make an EMOM set is to base it on seconds, or time under tension. You can do the leg press for 20 seconds and rest for 40. Reps here are meaningless because the goal is to keep the muscles under tension for that amount of time you set.

Creating EMOM Workouts

As with EMOM sets, there are two ways to perform an EMOM workout. You can either train in a full-body workout style or use EMOM’s with single bodypart workouts.

If you want to do a full-body workout, you need to be considerate of the environment you’re in. If you train in a regular gym then that would call for you to move from station to station which might not be possible because of other people wanting to use the equipment that you plan to use.

This is why barbells, dumbbells, and bodyweight moves would be best. You can take a bar and dumbbells with you to a machine that you like. This workout can help you train everything without taking up too much equipment or having someone else interfere with what you’re doing.

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Feet Elevated Push Up 2 12
2. Two Arm Dumbbell Row 2 12
3. Wide Grip Upright Row 2 12
4. Barbell Curl 2 12
5. Two Arm Dumbbell Kickback 2 12
6. Leg Press 2 12
7. Stiff Leg Deadlift 2 12
8. Calf Press 2 12
9. Lying Leg Raise 2 12

Perform each exercise every minute on the minute in a circuit and repeat for 2 rounds.

Bodybuilding Style EMOM

Whether you know it or not, adding EMOM into your typical bodybuilding workout really isn’t that difficult. The only difference is your rest time would be altered slightly. Instead of that typical minute or minute and a half, it would be around 30-40 seconds.

If anything, this will increase the intensity of that workout which can help you improve even more. Here’s how it might look if you were training shoulders EMOM style.

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Seated Machine Press 3 8
2. Standing Lateral Raise 4 10
3. Reverse Pec Deck 3 12
4. Cable Upright Row 3 15

Perform each exercise in a straight set fashion (finish all of your sets for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise) utilizing the every minute on the minute technique.

EMOM for Powerlifting

This one might spark some debates in the comments section but that’s okay. In general, powerlifting training has dynamic days or speed days where they lift lighter weight for low reps but very quickly. This helps generate explosiveness and helps athletes with form so when they step up to the podium, they can generate that power without getting red-lighted.

Related: The Conjugate System - Phase 1 of the Beginner Powerlifting Workout

A sample speed bench day might include doing eight sets of bench press for a double with 55% of their one rep max. That workout would be real easy to adapt the EMOM principle into. It would be simply doing a double at the top of each minute until you’ve done it eight times. You can also do this with the assistant exercises of your choice.

Exercise Sets Reps
1. Bench Press (55% of 1RM) 8 2
2. Incline Dumbbell Fly 3 5
3. Tricep Pushdown 3 10

Perform each exercise in a straight set fashion (finish all of your sets for each exercise before moving on to the next exercise) utilizing the every minute on the minute technique.

EMOM for Skill Improvement

You want to improve your athletic ability and get your heart rate up at the same time? You guessed it. EMOM could be your answer.

Let’s use the box jump for the example here. Who doesn’t want to jump higher? Use a box that you can confidently jump onto with no problem. You can also use the squat position hold for this one. This 10 minute workout can help you improve your box jumps while also giving you time to recover.

On the odd minutes (1, 3, 5, 7, and 9) you will perform 3-4 box jumps. Remember that you will tire as you progress so make sure you can hit that jump on minute 9. On the even minutes (2, 4, 6, 8, and 10) you will crouch down into the squat position (thighs below parallel) and hold this for 20-25 seconds. Keep your arms inside your thighs and push the thighs out to get a better stretch.

This applies to any movement you like. Sprints, bag work, battle rope, muscle-ups, and hammer swings can all be on the table.