How to clock a better workout

The timing of your training session impacts how much you get out of it.

If your goal is to gain speed or challenge your body, high-intensity, time-based workouts are a must. Slow, long workouts will help you burn fat; short, hard intervals blast more calories; but short, slow sessions pretty much get you nowhere.

To make every minute count, here are a few smart ways to watch the clock during your next workout.

EMOM(Every Minute on the Minute)

EMOM sessions require you to fit in several reps and sets in a short amount of time. You can slow down your movements when necessary, but not without some consequences: Work and rest periods play off each other so that the longer you take to finish your reps, the less time you have to recover.

How it works: Choose an exercise and complete a certain number of reps at the top of each new minute, for a set number of minutes. The idea is that the faster you move through the reps, the more time you get to rest. For example, you could do a 10-minute push-up EMOM, in which you do 15 reps at the top of every minute. If you complete them in 40 seconds, you get 20 seconds to rest before starting again. If it takes you 55 seconds, you only get a short, 5-second break.


"When you do a high-intensity interval workout like this one, you burn more calories at rest in the 24 to 48 hours following your session than you would if you trained at a steady state," says Amanda Young, a New York City-based Equinox group fitness instructor. "It also conditions your body to sprint, which is helpful whether you’re pushing yourself on a bike or running to catch a train.”

How it works: Alternate 20 seconds at an all-out effort (working at a 10, on a scale of 1 to 10) with 10 seconds of rest. In traditional Tabata-style workouts, developed by Japanese professor Dr. Izumi Tabata to train Olympic speed skaters, you complete 8 rounds of this cycle, for a total of just 4 minutes. You can follow this technique to execute any type of move(s) you like.

AMRAP(As Many Reps as Possible)

“This adds metabolic conditioning to your training and is a great way to challenge yourself to get stronger and faster from week to week,” says Scott Schratwieser, a Tier 3+ trainer at Equinox Woodbury.

How it works:The goal is simple: To squeeze in as many high-quality (i.e. with proper form) reps as possible in a given amount of time. For example, set the clock for 5 minutes, perform 5 reps of each exercise, moving from one to the next without rest, and do as many rounds as possible before the time runs out. Take a 2-minute rest and repeat. Try to beat the number of reps you hit each week.