EMOM Workouts for Beginners (The Ultimate Guide)

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Published by Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer
Last updated: February 27, 2024
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Every minute on the minute, or EMOM, is high-intensity interval training aiming to develop endurance and strength.

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

  • EMOM workouts like the Burpee endurance leader are effective for building muscular endurance and the foundation for hypertrophy and strength.
  • These workouts usually last between 10 and 20 minutes, as this amount of time is enough to build endurance and improve cardiorespiratory functions.
  • EMOM workouts can last more than 20 minutes, but the amount of work you complete will depend on your experience, fitness level, age, and more.
  • From my perspective as a fitness trainer, EMOM workouts stand out for their ability to rapidly boost endurance and strength in a time-effective manner.

What Is an EMOM Workout?

Two women outside doing an EMOM workout

The EMOM workout is a form of high-intensity interval training distinguished from other HIIT methods like Tabata by its unique structure and pacing.

In EMOM, you perform a set number of reps within each minute, enhancing both physical endurance and mental resilience.

According to research published by the National Institutes of Health, this type of training effectively builds full-body or targeted muscle endurance, depending on the exercises chosen [1].

Originating in the early 1900s, around the same time as Tabata, EMOM is ideal for those seeking efficient, time-saving workouts, including busy professionals and fitness enthusiasts.

In my experience as a fitness trainer, clients have found EMOM particularly effective for quick, intense sessions that yield significant endurance

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.

Examples of EMOM Workouts

A woman doing burpees at home

Discover two beginner-friendly EMOM workouts designed for quick progression in endurance-based training.

As I always emphasize with my clients, start with a thorough warm-up to prevent injuries and muscle soreness.

These EMOM routines are effective for burning fat, enhancing cardiorespiratory and muscular endurance, and calorie burning, providing a solid foundation for fitness newcomers.

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

The 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 begin an EMOM workout, essentials include a timer, a workout plan, and water for hydration, as dehydration can lead to health issues.

While basic EMOM routines rely on bodyweight exercises, adding equipment like dumbbells or kettlebells introduces beneficial external resistance.

In my experience as a fitness trainer, clients often find that using additional weights enhances workout intensity and effectiveness.

Ensure ample space for safety and keep your workout plan accessible during the session.

Remember, proper hydration is crucial to compensate for increased body temperature and sweat loss during these workouts.

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.

Sports Medicine research shows that EMOM workouts, with their strategic pacing, enhance both full-body and targeted muscle endurance, laying the groundwork for muscle hypertrophy and strength [2].

These concise, time-efficient workouts, typically lasting 15 minutes, are favored by busy individuals for their health benefits, including fat-burning and muscle-building.

My clients have observed significant improvements in their cardiorespiratory health, a key indicator of overall well-being and longevity, from regular EMOM sessions.

To maximize results, I recommend pairing these workouts with a diet rich in proteins and carbohydrates, which has been shown to boost workout effectiveness.

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.

The duration of an EMOM workout varies based on individual goals, fitness levels, age, and experience.

Beginners often start with around 10 minutes, sufficient for building foundational muscular and respiratory endurance.

Intermediate participants, as per my training experience, may extend to 15 minutes, which, according to National Library of Medicine research, maximizes health benefits due to their advanced muscular and respiratory capabilities. [3].

Advanced lifters typically need over 15 minutes, sometimes up to 60 minutes, for significant results, a practice common among those with well-developed endurance capacities.

How Many Exercises Should My EMOM Workout Have?

A gym instructor studying EMOM workouts

Your EMOM workout can have a single exercise as a general recommendation. However, it can be tailored to individual needs.

For instance, a 15-minute session could be split into three 5-minute segments, each featuring a different exercise like burpees, air squats, and plyo push-ups.

While adding variety can reduce the time spent on each exercise, I recommend the single-exercise format for targeted endurance and a diverse routine for enhancing overall body endurance and cardiorespiratory health.

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 super-compensation 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 with 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 in 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.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8624389/
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.2165/00007256-200838030-00004
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25771784/
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About The Author

Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Kristy June Dayanan, BS, MD is an author with a BS degree from University of the Philippines and an MD from University of Perpetual Help System. Her ability to simplify medical science complexities and dietary supplement jargon for the average reader makes her a valued medical fact checker and reviewer.
Learn more about our editorial policy

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