If You Like HIIT, You'll Love EMOM Workouts — 1 Trainer Explains What It's About

When it comes to working out, mixing it up is always the best option. Why? Because it challenges your muscles in new ways and makes for more fun. EMOM stands for "every minute on the minute," and it's a workout we suggest you try if you're up for just that: a challenge and some fun. Sure, it might sound cryptic — like a weird nickname for your order of edamame — but it's effective and a different take on high-intensity interval training (HIIT).

Ali Greenman, NASM- and ACE-certified personal trainer and founder of Final Straw Fitness, told POPSUGAR that she considers EMOM to be a style of HIIT which burns fat, torches calories, and features short bursts of maximum-effort work with rest periods. You're basically going against the clock. "You can either pick one exercise and X amount of reps to complete each minute, or you can do multiple different exercises," she explained. "When the minute starts, you begin to perform the exercise. Once you complete the assigned amount of reps, you use the remainder of the minute to rest and go again at the start of the next minute." Here's the catch though: if you can't complete the assigned reps before the minute is up, you still go right into the next minute's exercise without taking any rest. You have to work for that recovery!

The key is to plan it out well, Ali said, because as long as you're getting your heart rate going and taking advantage (as much as you can) of the rest time, you've got yourself a perfect HIIT workout. "A well-planned EMOM should leave you having roughly 20 seconds to recover in each minute. It may start off easier with more rest time in the beginning, but the further you get into the workout, it will feel harder and harder. This will keep your heart rate way up!" You may be wondering how EMOM workouts could be fun. For Ali, these workouts bring out her competitive side as she races against the clock to get reps in and take that rest.

How Often to Do EMOM and Examples of EMOM Workouts

Ali said that she'd recommend people do EMOM once or twice per week. If you want to do EMOM more often, make sure you're spacing them out so that you can recover properly. EMOM can even be done as a five-minute finisher at the end of a regular strength workout, Ali noted. When she creates EMOM workouts, she likes to combine strength and cardio exercises. She chooses six moves (which would be six minutes of work) and runs through them four or five times with a few minutes of rest between rounds.

Without equipment, the setup might look something like this:

With equipment, like dumbbells, it might look something like this:

If you'd rather do EMOM that's more focused on cardio and less on strength, you can solely do cardio-style exercises such as high knees, mountain climbers, and jump squats, Ali said. "Another, much more simple but absolutely killer example, would be to mark off a distance — say 50 meters or so — and do a sprint every minute." It's important that you pick a rep count you feel comfortable with, so know your limits. Are you ready for a challenge?