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Sample Class: EMOM Workout

This structured EMOM workout plays with the work-to-rest period.

If you enjoy teaching (and doing) high-intensity classes, this EMOM workout is for you! The “every minute on the minute” (EMOM) protocol is fun, fast-moving and challenging. You start a predetermined number of reps at the top of a minute and rest for the time you have left until the next minute begins. Class participants will enjoy the flexibility of going at their own pace while also being incentivized to work steadily throughout the experience. Add tempo to the moves to increase the metabolic impact; this will help attendees “earn” extra time to recover between sets. Don’t forget to offer progressions and regressions to accommodate all fitness levels.

EMOM Workout Details

Format: total-body strength training

Total time: ~50 minutes

Equipment: dumbbells and steps

Music: Choose high-energy music that is motivating and also allows participants to move at their own pace.

Additional suggestions:

  • Use a timer so the drills have structure and everyone knows when each cycle begins and ends.
  • Encourage participants to adjust the number of reps as needed, to ensure adequate recovery time.
  • Before each block, thoroughly review exercise technique and encourage attendees to take advantage of recommended modifications.
  • Instruct class to complete each exercise cycle as quickly as possible while maintaining proper form and alignment.

Note: This EMOM workout protocol is intended for intermediate to advanced participants who are ready to progress to a higher-intensity training program.

EMOM Workout Warmup (10 minutes)

Cycle through the following moves, completing 10 reps per set. Every minute, prompt attendees to do five modified pushups (knees down). Perform several sets of each move. Instruct class to start with a small range of motion and gradually increase ROM as they cycle through the exercises. The number of sets completed will vary depending on tempo and ROM.

  • Squat: Stand with feet about hip-width apart. Bend knees to 90-degree angle and flex slightly at hips. Return to starting position.
  • Inchworm: Begin in standing position. Fold forward from hips and place hands on floor. Walk hands out to plank; hold briefly. Walk hands back to feet and stand. Bend knees, if necessary.
  • Rear lunge: From standing position, step right foot back and bend both knees to 90-degree angle (or less). Repeat, left side.
  • Plank knee-tuck: Begin in plank position. Pull R knee into chest and return to starting position. Repeat L.

See also: Sample Class: Fit Frenzy

Work Phase (30–40 minutes)

For all blocks of the EMOM workout: Do the number of repetitions indicated and then rest until the next cycle starts. A single cycle includes all the exercises in the block. For example, in Block One, each cycle includes deadlift/row and lunge, and a new cycle starts every minute.


Equipment: dumbbells

  • Deadlift/row complex: Stand, holding weights at sides. Hinge at hips until torso is parallel to floor. Bend elbows and reach them toward ceiling, pulling scapulae toward midline of upper back. Return to starting position (8 reps).
  • Alternating front lunge: From standing position, weights in front rack position at shoulders, step R foot forward and bend both knees to 90-degree angle. Return to starting position. Repeat L (12 reps).
  • Progression: Increase resistance.
  • Regression: Reduce ROM for each exercise.


Equipment: dumbbells and steps

  • Frontal-plane squat: Stand with feet together, holding weights. Step R foot to side, feet about hip-width apart. Squat, then return to starting position. Repeat L (10 reps).
  • Push press: Stand with weights in front rack position. Slightly flex at hips and knees, then extend hips and knees, pressing dumbbells overhead (8 reps).
  • Rear deficit lunge: Stand on top of step, feet hip-width apart, weights in front rack position. Do alternating rear lunges, dropping rear knee to floor (6 reps).
  • Progression: Turn squat into compound move by adding upper-body exercise (biceps curl or lateral raise).
  • Regression: Alternate arms during push press.


Equipment: dumbbells and steps

  • Bench press: From supine (knees bent, feet on floor), hold weights above chest, palms facing forward. Abduct arms and bend elbows 90 degrees, keeping wrists aligned over elbows. Press up to starting position (12 reps).
  • Pushup: Start in plank, hands slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, core engaged. Bend elbows and lower chest toward floor. Return to plank (10 reps).
  • Shoulder press: Stand with weights in front rack position. Maintain neutral spine as you press dumbbells overhead. Lower to starting position (8 reps).
  • Triceps pushup: From plank, hands directly under shoulders, bend elbows and lower body toward floor. Keep elbows close to sides and bring shoulders forward. Return to starting position (6 reps).
  • Progression: Do bench press with feet off floor (knees over hips).
  • Regression: Bring knees to floor when doing pushups.


Equipment: dumbbells and steps

  • Thruster: Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding weights in front rack position. Squat with full ROM. Press weights overhead while returning to standing position (12 reps).
  • Lateral plank walk: Begin in plank position, hands directly under shoulders. Step R hand and R foot several inches R, then step L hand and L foot several inches R to return to neutral plank. Repeat L (14 reps).
  • V-sit curl: Sit on step, holding dumbbells. Lean back slightly and do alternating biceps curls (16 reps).
  • Decline transverse knee-tuck: Begin in plank, feet on step, hands on floor. Bring R knee to L elbow and return to plank position. Repeat other side (18 reps).
  • Progression: Hold V-sit, heels off floor.
  • Regression: Use incline position for transverse knee-tuck (hands on bench).

See also: Sample Class: Functional-Impact Fun!

EMOM Workout Cooldown (5 minutes)


Flow through each of the following for 60 seconds:

  • Dynamic forward fold: From standing, reach arms overhead; fold forward from hips to bring hands to floor (or shins). Return to standing and reach arms overhead. Lower arms.
  • Plank/downward-facing dog: From plank position, flex at hips and shoulders and push back into upside-down V position. Return to plank; repeat.
  • Flowing cobra: From prone position, hands under shoulders, press through hands to extend spine. Return to starting position.


Hold each of the following for 60 seconds:

  • Prone quadriceps stretch: From prone position, bend R knee and reach for R ankle. Gently bring ankle toward buttocks. Repeat L. Hold 30 seconds, each side.
  • Child’s pose: Begin in quadruped position. Bring feet together and reach hips to heels. Flex shoulders and bring chest toward floor.
Melissa Weigelt, MS

Melissa Weigelt is an ACE-certified group fitness instructor, NASM-certified personal trainer and vinyasa yoga instructor with 20 years of experience in the fitness industry. As an ACE- and AFAA-approved provider of continuing education for fitness instructors and a member of the BOSU® master trainer and development team, she enjoys sharing her knowledge and ideas with others.

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