Five EMOMs and 25 Minutes of Work

There are five little words (or one two-syllable acronym) that make me cringe when I see them written on a board at the start of a workout: EMOM or “Every minute on the minute.” When you work as hard as you can to earn your break and that break only ends up lasting 20-30 seconds – and you repeat that effort over and over again – there’s no doubt you’re going to squeeze everything you’ve got out of that workout.

So as twisted as this sounds, when I say “cringe” I actually mean “let’s do this shit.” If I know I’m going to have to work hard, instead of letting dread set in, I embrace it. That’s the gift I gave to my 7 am class this morning: six rounds each of four different EMOM sets for a total of 24 rounds.

Not so coincidentally, 24 is the age I turned today so we celebrated every year of my life with a ridiculously hard minute of work. It seemed fitting.

Today’s 30-minute workout is one level up from this morning’s. It’s a total of 25 rounds: 5 sets of Every-Minute-On-The-Minute exercises, five times in a row for each set. Tap into your own “let’s do this” mentality and knock this workout out of the park.

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So your workout goes …

Start with set one. Set your timer for 60 seconds and complete each of the exercises in set one. You should have between 15-20 seconds left on your :60 timer to rest. Once that first 60-second round is over, start back at the top and do those exercises again, aiming for the same amount of rest time. Keep repeating the exercises every minute on the minute for 5 total minutes (5 rounds). Then move on to set two, and so on.

Grab two sets of dumbbells and a timer. Here are your 5 EMOM sets:

Set 1:

  • 8 burpees
  • 7 squats
  • 6 push-ups

Set 2:

  • 30 mountain climbers
  • 20 Russian twists
  • 10 jumping lunges

Set 3:

  • 8 push press (medium dumbbells)
  • 8 bent-over row (heavy dumbbells)
  • 8 hang cleans (medium or dumbbells)

Set 4:

  • 8 hollow rocks
  • 7 V-ups
  • 6 reverse crunches

Set 5:

  • 8 broad jumps with a scootback
  • 8 dumbbell American swings
  • 8 high knees

Here’s a breakdown of all the moves:

Burpees: Squat down, placing your hands on the ground, jump back into a plank. From there, lower down to the ground with your body in a straight line. Push back up, jump back forward and stand or jump at the top.
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Squats: Stand in a neutral, athletic stance with toes slightly turned out. Inhale as you lower down, keeping your chest lifted and tucking your tailbone straight down with weight in your heels. Stand back up, keeping your glutes tucked under at the top of your squat.


Push-ups: Start in a plank position. Lower your body down keeping shoulders, hips and heels in line. Exhale to press back up to the top of your push-up position.
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Mountain climbers: From a plank position, bring one knee into your chest, then switch quickly to the other knee into your chest, focusing on your core and keeping your shoulders lined up right over your wrists the whole time.
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Russian twists: Sitting on the floor with your heels planted, lean back to engage your core keeping your back flat and shoulders rolled back. Twist gently to the right and then back to the left. Moving from right to left is one rep.
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Jumping lunges: With your right leg forward and left leg back, bend your knees to a 90 degrees. Exhale, drive through the balls of your feet to jump into the air and switch your legs, landing in a 90-degree of both legs again, this time left leg forward.

Push press (medium set of dumbbells): Rack your medium dumbbells on your shoulders with elbows facing forwards and slightly up. Bend your knees slightly, then drive through your heels to straighten your legs and press your weights overhead, locking your arms straight (wrists in line with shoulders). Then re-bend your knees slightly to lower your weights back to your shoulders.
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Bent-over row (heavy set of dumbbells): Holding your heavy dumbbells by your sides, palms facing in, hinge forward, keeping your shoulders pulled down and towards each other, arms straight. Bend your elbows straight back, lifting from your triceps, keeping your weights close to you, then return them back to the starting position.
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Hang cleans: Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart. Hinge just slightly forward with your medium or heavy dumbbells resting against your thighs. They’ll come down to about 4 inches above your knee. Thrust your hips forward to extend your hips, knees and ankles and drive the weight upward, coming to rest on your shoulders.
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Hollow rocks: Lie on your back. Extend your arms above your head and lift your legs to hover. Hollow out your core by drawing your bellybutton towards your spine. Begin to rock slightly forward and back, pausing at the top and bottom of your rock, keeping a slight banana boat shape of your body. Moving backwards and forwards once counts as one rep.
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V-ups:  Extend your arms past your ears with shoulder lifted, feet hovering off the ground. As you exhale, lift all the way up to tap fingertips to toes and inhale on the way down. To modify, lie back on your forearms with legs extended and hovering. As you exhale, draw your knees into your chest and lift your torso up.

Reverse crunches: Lie on your back with your legs extended straight up. Press your arms firmly on the ground beside you, palms down. As you exhale, lift your legs straight up in the air (not behind you), engaging your lowest ab muscles. Slowly lower your tailbone back to the ground.
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Broad jumps with a scoot back: Start with your feet in an athletic stance, a slight bend in your knees. Jump as far as you can forward from two feet, landing lightly on two feet. Then backwards shuffle your feet quickly back to your starting position. Every time you jump forward, aim to jump a little farther.
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Dumbbell American swings: Hold one heavy dumbbell with two hands. Hinge forward to a kettlebell swing position. Thrust your hips forward to drive the weight straight above you. This should be more of a leg, upper back and core exercise. Swing, don’t lift the weight with your arms. Use your core to stop the weight straight overhead.
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High knees: Bring your right knee into your chest, then quickly switch and drive your left knee in, moving your arms along with you as well. Keep driving your knees into your chest with your chest lifted the whole time.
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(Disclaimer: This workout is not intended for the treatment or prevention of disease, nor is it a replacement for seeking medical treatment or professional nutrition advice. Do not start any nutrition or physical activity program without first consulting your physician.)

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About Maggie Umberger

Maggie moved to Chicago from North Carolina in 2014 with a degree in Journalism and Spanish, a 200-hour yoga certification, a group fitness cert and a passion to teach and to sweat. It wasn't until she found aSweatLife that she really started to feel at home. Here, she's incorporated her passion for health and wellness into her career as she helps to build the network of Ambassadors, trainers and fitness enthusiasts that exist within the aSweatLife ecosystem. You can also find her coaching at CrossTown Fitness and teaching yoga classes at Bare Feet Power Yoga, Yoga Six and exhale.