Working out to build bigger muscles takes time, dedication, and following the right workouts. Trainers and fitness enthusiasts alike swear by tried-and-true methods like “EMOM” workouts to speed up muscle growth. “EMOM” stands for “every minute on the minute” and involves completing one set every minute. It’s a pretty simple, accessible concept that delivers results for gymgoers of all levels, which is likely why so many people love it.

We’re here to explain exactly how the EMOM workout works and outline the benefits of adding it to your training regimen.

Table of Contents

How does an EMOM workout work?

leg press exercise to achieve a slim, toned body for goodleg press exercise to achieve a slim, toned body for good
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As previously noted, EMOM means “every minute on the minute.” You will perform one set each minute. So, if you complete a set of eight reps, which takes 30 seconds, there are 30 more seconds to rest before your next one-minute set begins.

“You continue this until your workout is complete, switching exercises after however many sets you decide to in your program,” explains Domenic Angelino, CPT, from Trainer Academy. “This sort of training has a high fun factor for [many] people because it makes working out feel more like a game than it normally does. It’s a big part of the appeal and can make your workout more tolerable if that’s important to you. [It will also naturally be] a pretty fast-paced workout because you have little time to rest.”

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Angelino points out that the structure of an EMOM workout is intriguing because you go into the workout at a high energy level. This allows you to perform each set quicker because you won’t feel very fatigued, and it provides a greater amount of rest in each set. However, you may feel more fatigued as the workout progresses.

“This is almost the inverse of a traditional workout’s approach since traditional workouts front-load a lot of the harder components toward the start,” Angelino explains.

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What are the benefits of EMOM workouts?

dumbbell goblet squat, concept of dumbbell exercises for full-body strengthdumbbell goblet squat, concept of dumbbell exercises for full-body strength
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If you’re interested in trying this style of training, rest assured that it has plenty of trainer-approved benefits.

“The beauty of EMOM workouts is that they’re so versatile and adjustable. You can program an EMOM to have a pure strength or power stimulus [or an EMOM] to have an endurance/stamina stimulus,” explains Amanda Capritto, CPT and strength coach for endurance athletes from PTPioneer.com. “[EMOM workouts also] teach you to understand pacing and loading. They’re great for teaching athletes to evaluate their current performance capabilities because if you overload the workout, you’ll eventually run out of time in a given minute and lose the intended stimulus of the workout.”

How can EMOM workouts help with muscle growth?

kettlebell goblet squat for stronger muscles after 40kettlebell goblet squat for stronger muscles after 40
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EMOM workouts help you burn calories and accelerate the fat-loss process. They’re also beneficial for involving and working all of your muscle fibers, Angelino says.

“Doing a lot of EMOM sets with a small number of exercises [involving] similar muscles can lead to a really potent training stimulus. This can accelerate muscle growth, especially if those muscles had recently stagnated,” he tells us. “Performing high-volume training with limited rest can result in a cascade of hormonal responses that support muscle growth, which is a big part of why it’s so potent.”

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Capritto notes that EMOM workouts may not be the most ideal choice compared to other forms of training for muscle growth; however, she suggests using an “extended EMOM format” and breaks it down.

“For instance, [you] can use E3MOM (every three minutes, on the minute). Instead of performing the work every minute with a short rest period, you perform [it] every three minutes, which lends itself to a longer and more adequate recovery interval for muscle growth,” Capritto explains. “A longer recovery interval means you can load the movement, focus on full range of motion, and slow down the tempo—all things proven to maximize muscle hypertrophy.”

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Sample EMOM workouts to build muscle:

fit man doing sumo deadlift exercisefit man doing sumo deadlift exercise
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Angelino provides two sample EMOM workouts that can aid in muscle growth.

Workout #1:

This first sample routine is 24 minutes. “When selecting [a] weight, factor in expected fatigue,” Angelino recommends. “Use a load that’s around 70% to 80% of the weight you’d normally use.”

  • Barbell Sumo Deadlift (6 sets of 8 to 10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat (6 sets of 8 to 10 reps)
  • Leg Press (6 sets of 10 to 12 reps)
  • Leg Extension (6 sets of 10 to 12 reps)

Workout #2:

This next workout is another 24-minute EMOM routine that incorporates heavier weights to help you build strength and muscle.

“There’s less isolation work here because it’s more focused on strength,” Angelino points out. “Remember, it’s important to use a load that is much lighter than you normally would. Because this example workout is a bit heavier, aim for 65% to 75% of your normal weight.”

  • Barbell Sumo Deadlift (8 sets of 2 to 3 reps)
  • Dumbbell Goblet Squat (8 sets of 3 to 5 reps)
  • Leg Press (8 sets of 4 to 6 reps)

Alexa Mellardo

Alexa is the Mind + Body Deputy Editor of Eat This, Not That!, overseeing the M+B channel and delivering compelling fitness, wellness, and self-care topics to readers. Read more about Alexa
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