How to Use the EMOM Protocol for Your Workouts

Trevor Thieme C.S.C.S.

From Men's Health

This is Your Quick Training Tip, a chance to learn how to work smarter in just a few moments so you can get right to your workout.

No one sets out to waste time when they hit the gym, but odds are you leave plenty of precious seconds—or even minutes—hanging out to dry during your workouts. Even if the pandemic is preventing you from gabbing at your gym’s dumbbell rack, you’re likely resting far too long between sets and exercises as you surf Instagram, check email, send texts, catch up on news, swipe left or right, and generally give your phone your undivided attention if you have the habit of picking it up mid-set at home.

Here’s why that’s a problem: Excessive rest while training reduces the amount of metabolic stress on your muscles, undercutting a key growth stimulus.

EMOM training can help solve that. EMOM stands for “every minute on the minute,” and it's a protocol that requires you to perform a specific number of reps of an exercise during each minute of your workout, then resting for the remainder of the minute until the clock resets. The faster you complete your reps, the more rest you get. And don't worry if that doesn't sound like much of a challenge to you—as your workout time stretches out, all the effort you expend will make every minute feel much shorter than the last.

You can tailor your EMOM workouts to focus on either endurance and cardio or strength and muscle building by adjusting the number of reps you perform (more on that in a moment), but no matter how you go about it, you’ll crank up your metabolic furnace and incinerate more fat from head-to-toe than you would during a more traditional weightlifting session. Plus, because you’re on the clock, you won’t be able to waste any time, allowing you to get more work done in less.

Your move: If you’re interested in giving EMOM training a try, incorporate the protocol into your program once or twice a week.

To focus on endurance and cardio, keep your rep count high (12-plus) to minimize your rest. For strength building, keep your rep count low (five to eight) to maximize it. Don’t know where to start? Do this rope, band, and ball EMOM workout to burn fat and build muscle from head-to-toe in just 30 minutes.


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