What is EMOM? What You Need to Know About This Fitness Acronym

What is EMOM? What You Need to Know About This Fitness Acronym

Ever heard of EMOM? It stands for every minute on the minute, a popular type of interval workout hitting CrossFit boxes (aka gyms) all over the globe. EMOM isn’t usually meant to be a standalone approach. Instead, it’s often sandwiched between a strength portion and a conditioning portion. Though they are recently associated with CrossFit, EMOM intervals have stood the test of time in old school powerlifting and weightlifting gyms.

EMOM intervals are a great way to pace a workout: The clock dictates your work/rest cycle. The typical protocol gives you a single exercise or a group exercises with a given number of reps per exercise. Your goal is to complete the prescribed reps for each exercise and rest the remaining time in a minute. Then you move onto the next exercise.

What is EMOM? What You Need to Know About This Fitness Acronym

The Benefits of EMOM Intervals

EMOM workouts are typically done in 8- to 20-minute intervals. They are a great way to progress gym-goers and athletes week-to-week by allowing them to work on the same skills for a longer duration. They also allow time between sets to analyze performance so a coach can decide whether an athlete needs to change the pace of certain parts of a movement.

Though they are only part of a whole workout, they can be designed to work on any number of skills including aerobic conditioning, strength, power, mechanics, and speed.

While many people think workouts are supposed to leave you in a heaping pile of sweat and get tougher and tougher as the sets progress, EMOM is a great counter to that notion. The idea behind these intervals is that the calculated rest between each set allows you to get into a flow with your exercises, and they become easier as the workout progresses.

EMOM is a great way to work on strength and track your progress. If you want to improve your squat technique, you can begin with a lower rep squat range and focus solely on mechanics during your session. As you progress, you can increase your reps or weight. Alternatively, you can increase your time once you build better movement patterns and stronger muscles.

EMOM is also an effective tool for metabolic conditioning. Metabolic conditioning combines aerobic and anaerobic exercise with periods of intense exercise followed by rest. This type of workout is designed to burn as many calories as possible in the shortest amount of time by using a lot of muscle groups at one time. It also stimulates a unique hormone response that allows your body to burn calories long after your workout is finished.

The Risks of EMOM

EMOM intervals are a great addition to your routine if you feel you’ve plateaued on a lift or you need to brush up on technique. EMOM at its core is very beneficial. The only real danger lies in how it is are structured.

As mentioned before, EMOM is designed to include rest intervals. Rep schemes that do not provide adequate rest should be avoided. If your gym has designed your workouts this way, you may want to look at another gym.

Another precaution when using EMOM for strength training is to avoid going too heavy right away. Increase your weight slowly over time and place your focus on good form rather than loading pounds onto the bar.

Finally, EMOM is intended to be used as part of a workout, not as the full workout. Think of it as a quick, intense burst, whether as part of a CrossFit WOD or part of a strength-training plan. Avoid EMOM intervals that last more than 20 minutes or don’t allow for adequate rest time between sets.


If you try the EMOM approach, make sure your workout follows the standard protocol of every minute, on the minute, with built-in rest intervals and you may find improvements in strength, power, mechanics, speed, and more.

By Kellie Davis

Kellie Davis ran before she crawled and is constantly feeding her insatiable appetite for competition. In 2009, she competed in her first figure bodybuilding show and subsequently started a fitness blog titled to help other moms and career women make positive fitness and lifestyle habits. Her blog spring-boarded her fitness writing career, and shortly after she was in the gym coaching clients. Davis discovered the perfect marriage of fitness and writing, and has since co-authored the popular women's strength training book Strong Curves, launched a handful online fitness programs, and is also the co-founder of, a comprehensive intermediate resistance training system. As a fitness writer and personal trainer, she is known for helping hundreds of women achieve optimal health through her innovative fitness programs designed for those with a busy lifestyle. In her spare time, Davis dotes on her amazing husband and two children, attends The George Washington University as a graduate student, competes in powerlifting, takes the field in co-ed softball, and spends time with her two adoring dogs and brood of backyard hens.