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EMOM Workouts for Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

Tracy Thompson
Published by Tracy Thompson
Last updated: April 13, 2023

Every minute on the minute or EMOM is high-intensity interval training aiming to develop endurance and strength endurance.

Beginners may benefit from EMOM workouts since endurance is the first step towards hypertrophy/muscle-building and strength.

It took me more than 17 hours for extensive research, and I recalled the best practices for EMOM to create the ultimate beginner workout.

Keep reading below to learn what EMOM is, a killer beginner workout, intensity, sets, reps, exercises, and more.

Quick Summary

  • The best beginner EMOM workout should last no more than 15 minutes and should consist of simple bodyweight exercises to build a foundation.
  • EMOM workouts can lose more than 15 minutes, but the amount of work you complete will depend on your experience, fitness level, age, and more.
  • EMOM workouts are the most effective for building muscular endurance and the foundation for hypertrophy and strength.

What Is an EMOM Workout?

Two women outside doing an EMOM workout

EMOM workout is a form of high-intensity interval training.

EMOM, or every minute on the minute, consists of a 1-minute working duration range where a specific amount of reps must be completed.

EMOM workouts are short but intensive workouts that are excellent for building full body or local muscular endurance [1].

The type of endurance built will depend on exercise selection since different exercises activate different amounts of muscle groups and joints.

Essentially, they are a form of continuous exercise.

The origins of the EMOM method can be tracked as early as the 1900s.

This is the time when a more common type of high-intensity interval training, Tabata, was introduced by Izumi Tabata.

EMOM training is excellent for people looking to spend less time in the gym. It is a quick workout suitable for busy entrepreneurs, endurance freaks, and CrossFitters.

Examples of EMOM Workouts

A woman doing burpees at home

Below you may find two examples of EMOM workouts specifically crafted for beginners and less experienced lifters.

These workouts are an entry point to endurance-based workouts, and you will quickly progress.

Complete a proper warm-up before every workout to avoid potential injuries, strains, and delayed onset muscle soreness.

Here are two EMOM workout examples you may implement today to burn fat, improve your cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance, and burn calories.

Beginner Full-Body Workout: 12 Minutes

This 12-minute workout plan will allow you to target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, only with your body weight.

The goal is to complete the following set of exercises in one minute and rest for the time left until the second minute starts.

Here is the 12-minute EMOM bodyweight workout example:

  • Minute 1 - 10 male or female push-ups depending on your gender and fitness level
  • Minute 2 - 8-10 bodyweight squats without resting at the top
  • Minute 3 - 15 bicycle crunches without lifting your lumbar back of the floor
  • Minute 4 - 12 jumping jacks without stopping and as fast as you can
  • Minute 5-12 - Repeat the sequence above, preferably without resting

If you complete the exercise set before the 1-minute mark, rest until the next minute starts.

If this sequence of exercises is too easy for you, you may:

  • Add more reps to each exercise
  • Add more minutes to the session
  • Add appropriate external resistance to make every exercise harder to complete

These three principles increase the difficulty of each following EMOM workout.

Burpee Endurance Ladder: 15 Minutes

A man doing burpees inside the gym

Burpee endurance ladder is one of the best EMOM workouts to include in your fitness routine and build whole-body endurance.

Bodyweight EMOM workouts such as the burpee endurance ladder are excellent for challenging your body's muscular endurance and cardiorespiratory capacity.

Here is the entire endurance and cardio-based EMOM workout with burpees:

  1. During the first minute, you should complete one burpee.
  2. When the second minute starts, complete two burpees.
  3. For each following minute, you must add one burpee to complete, building up to 15 burpees in the 15th minute.
  4. Since the first few minutes will be boring and you will have more time to rest, you may incorporate core exercises or wall sits.
  5. In total, you will complete 120 burpees at the end of the workout.

If this beginner workout is too hard for you, exclude the push-up at the bottom of the burpee to make it easier.

However, if this isn't challenging or hard enough, you may learn how to do box jumps or do exercises with dumbbells..

"EMOM workouts are a highly effective form of training. They provide an efficient way to build muscle, strength, endurance, and overall work capacity."

- Kirsten Yovino, Certified Personal Trainer

What Do You Need to Get Started?

A person in the gym tying a shoe with a bottle of water on the side

To get started, you will need a timer, a workout plan, and a bottle of water. However, some additional things like extra space and having some of the best home gym equipment available may be necessary.

Generally, every EMOM workout can be based on bodyweight exercises. This is why you don't need barbells, dumbbells, or kettlebells to complete an EMOM workout.

However, you must add external resistance to make the EMOM workout more challenging.

External resistance usually comes from fitness equipment, so additional dumbbells or kettlebells may be necessary.

Also, proper hydration is necessary, and you shouldn't start a workout without a bottle of water.

You should drink water while working out because your body's temperature increases, causing water loss through sweat.

You risk dehydration and serious side effects that may lead to more severe health problems.

You must have a timer or stopwatch to follow through with the workout. Also, the entire workout plan should be noted somewhere to access it during the session.

Post You May Like: Things You Should Avoid Before Workouts

Are EMOM Workouts Effective?

A woman doing EMOM workouts in the gym

Yes, EMOM workouts are effective. EMOM workouts are an excellent way to increase muscular endurance and improve cardiovascular fitness.

EMOM workouts were designed to improve the endurance of your whole body or specific muscles with a pacing strategy [2].

The repetitive nature of this method will develop local or entire muscular endurance, which is the foundation for developing muscle hypertrophy and strength in the future.

One of the benefits of EMOM workouts is that they are very short.

The time-saving element is why many entrepreneurs and busy people prefer implementing EMOM-based workouts into their schedules.

The average duration of 15 minutes is short yet effective for inducing health benefits, and only one workout session per day is enough to trigger effects like anabolism or burning fat.

Cardio-based EMOM workouts are excellent for improving the function of the entire cardiorespiratory system, which is proven to indicate life quality and longevity.

How Long Are EMOM Workouts?

A person in the gym holding a stopwatch

EMOM workouts usually last between 10 and 20 minutes. This amount of time is enough to build endurance and improve cardiorespiratory functions.

How long the EMOM workout is will depend on your personal goals, fitness level, age, and previous experience.

Beginners usually start closer to the 10-minute mark, which is enough to build the initial muscular and respiratory endurance necessary for future progression.

Intermediary lifters or active people can go up to 15 minutes of an EMOM workout without stopping.

This amount of time will be the best for them to induce the biggest health benefits since they have more experience and better-developed muscular and respiratory functions [3].

More than 15 minutes will be necessary for advanced lifters and gymgoers to produce results.

Sometimes, people complete up to 60 minutes of EMOM workouts, but those are usually well-trained and experienced individuals with developed respiratory and endurance functions.

How Many Exercises Should My EMOM Workout Have?

A gym instructor studying EMOM workouts

Generally, your EMOM workout should have only one exercise. However, you may change workout and exercise programming to suit your needs.

For example, you may complete an EMOM workout composed of three different exercises at the same time interval.

Let's say that a total of 15 minutes of workout is divided into three equal sections of 5 minutes.

In the first five minutes, you may perform burpees, the second air squats, and the third plyo push-ups.

However, you may add some additional exercises but lower the minutes performed by the same exercise.

I would suggest sticking to the 1-exercise method for local endurance, and choosing diversity for whole body endurance and cardiorespiratory improvement [4].

What Are the Best Exercises for an EMOM Workout?

Closeup shot of a gym instructor writing on a clipboard

The best exercise for an EMOM workout is air squats, burpees, and jumping jacks.

However, you may do just about any exercise for the EMOM workout, and that will depend on your goals.

Here are some other exercises you may include in the EMOM workout if your goal is whole-body endurance:

  • High knees
  • Split jumps
  • Battle ropes
  • Medicine ball slams

However, if your goal is local endurance, you may perform the following:

  • Push-ups
  • Bodyweight rows
  • Kettlebell overhead press
  • Pull-ups
  • Squats
  • Dumbbell deadlifts
  • Lunges

It all depends on your goals, but if you are a beginner, start with whole-body movements and only choose a single exercise.

When to Do EMOM Workouts?

A gym instructor writing down on a clipboard

You can do EMOM workouts in the morning and the evening.

Having enough carbohydrates and proteins before the workout is necessary to avoid side effects and health problems.

EMOM workouts are short and effective so they can be implemented anywhere in your daily schedule.

You shouldn’t bother about morning or evening workouts if you only have free time before lunch.

The time of the day becomes less important if you eat enough carbs and proteins, rest, and have enough energy to complete the workout.

Also, hydration and mental fatigue play a major role in the effectiveness of EMOM workouts.

You shouldn’t finish an EMOM workout without having a single drop of water since that may lead to fatal consequences, such as health problems or going unconscious.

"Because they’re designed to limit your rest periods and perform exercise after exercise, you generally won’t lift very heavy weights during EMOM workouts. That doesn’t mean that EMOM workouts in general won’t help you get stronger."

- Alex Polish, Certified Personal Trainer 

Best Equipment to Use for EMOM Workouts

Here is the list of the best equipment and corresponding exercises to use in your EMOM workouts:

  • Dumbbells - dumbbell rows, lateral raises, lunges, deadlifts, and squats.
  • Kettlebells - kettlebell rows, lunges, overhead presses, floor presses, and swings.
  • Medicine balls - ball slams, rotational throws, and medicine ball push-ups.
  • Resistance bands - banded hip thrust, squats, rows, and push-ups.
  • Barbells - barbell floor presses, lunges, rows, overhead presses, and squats.
  • Sandbag - sandbag carry and hip thrust.
  • Battle ropes - alternating, bilateral, and with squats.

All these equipment and exercises may be implemented into EMOM workouts to further boost your endurance and cardiorespiratory health.

Also Read:

Safety Tips

A gym instructor writing on a clipboard

Here are some general safety tips regarding EMOM workouts:

  • Warm-up and cool down - You must perform a proper warm-up before every EMOM workout to avoid getting injured. Usually, you should perform some effective bodyweight dynamic warm-up exercises followed by activation and integration exercises. Also, the muscle groups you plan to include in the workout routine should be primarily warmed-up.
  • Recover - There is no point in working out and forgetting to recover afterward. Recovery is essential, and overtraining occurs if you don't allow enough time for it. When you enter this phase, your body isn't ready for the following workout session, and you enter a state of negative supercompensation or regression. You want to avoid this by sleeping enough hours and eating carb-rich food.
  • Focus on proper form - There is little to no effect in performing half reps or reps with the improper technique. An extensive number of reps with an improper technique often lead to injury and should be avoided at all costs. Focus on maintaining and executing every exercise properly to avoid injuries and produce better results.
  • Progress lightly - EMOM workouts are easy, but many mistake them for regular weightlifting sessions and jump too quickly to raise loads. When you progress EMOM workouts, add reps and minutes, and then add resistance as the final touch when your musculoskeletal system is already adapted to the existing training method.
  • If you feel pain, stop - This is critical since working out under heavy pain isn't useful. It comes with more bad things than you can imagine. Working out while your ankles, knees, and hips ache can lead to serious health problems and damage your skeletal system. This is why you should stop when feeling pain and reattempt the workout only after you recover.

These are just some basic safety tips, but proper nutrition, supplementation, and other things will be necessary.


How Many Times a Week Should I Do Emom?

You should do EMOM up to 3 times a week for the same muscle group. This is because a specific muscle group needs between 48 and 72 hours to recover and supercompensate.

Is Emom Good for Weight Loss?

Yes, EMOM is good for weight loss. However, you must combine it with an appropriate diet and supplementation for the best results.

What Are the Cons of Emom?

The cons of EMOM are the inability to build maximal strength and power. EMOM isn’t the best option for building strength and power since it is an endurance-based workout.

What Is the Best Equipment for EMOM Workouts?

The best equipment for EMOM workouts is kettlebells.

Kettlebells are the best equipment for EMOM workouts since they offer a variety of exercises, meaning you only need a single pair of kettlebells for each following session.

Read our guide on the 10 best adjustable kettlebells for home gym workouts to pick the one that will suit your needs and personal goals.

Let me know why you choose EMOM over other workout styles and methods.


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