Okay, so EMOM’s (Every minute on the minute) aren’t exactly new to the fitness space and if you haven’t heard of this training method, you’ve undoubtedly done them.
If you’re unsure, an EMOM involves a movement or multiple movements done within 60 seconds. Once the a new 60 seconds starts, the set begins again.
An example of a traditional EMOM workout might look as follows:
- 20 Squats
- 15 Push Ups
For 20 min
You’ll do 20 squats within a minute. Once a new minute begins you’ll do 15 push ups. You’ll alternate between the two for 20 minutes.
When looking at the traditional EMOM workout the first benefit that undoubtedly comes to mind is how great they are when you’re on a time crunch. If you’ve only got 30 minutes to train in a day, the EMOM method allows you to get some serious work in, in a short amount of time.
In addition, you’ve probably surmised that the short rest periods will lead to an increase in conditioning, and you’d be correct. These workouts while on the shorter side, can be incredibly intense and challenging.
While I’m a big proponent of EMOM’s for conditioning, that’s not the only use for this method of training. You can get strong. Like, really strong. Let’s break it down.
Optimal vs Sub-Optimal Reps
In the strength world, strength movements are treated as a skill. Just like running or jumping or throwing and like a runner demands perfection in their movements, so does the athlete in the gym. The idea is to have as many positive reps as possible, those being reps that move at an adequate velocity with great form. The idea is to limit sub-optimal reps so that the system is receiving only positive feedback. The more positive feedback you have, the easier it becomes to produce positive reps.
Now picture this, an athlete attempts 5 reps on the deadlift. The 1st rep moves incredibly well, the 3rd rep has started to show signs of fatigue & the 5th rep is an ugly fight for survival. Well you might feel proud of your effort to fight for 5 reps, you’d have been better off cutting your set at rep 3.
If the idea of maximising your high velocity, high quality reps sounds appealing, then the EMOM might become an answer. Instead of doing high reps & low intensity movements, switch it around. Try something like a 20 min EMOM on back squats at 75% – 85% for example.
The idea here is simple.
Every minute the athlete will do one or two reps on the back squat then rack the bar again. Rinse & repeat for 20 min. Trust me, it gets intense.
Why this works
Consider an athlete squatting 85% for 3 sets of 5 vs the athlete doing a 15 – 20 min EMOM.
Both athletes have accumulated roughly the same amount of work & volume but what the EMOM athlete has is rest between reps. The EMOM does a great job of giving the athlete just* enough rest for the ATP-Pc system to recover so our work stays anaerobic but not enough rest for the athlete to be totally recovered and for the time in between the reps to be truly considered different sets. This allows for a higher number of optimal reps done at fatigue levels close to what you’ll find from the traditional sets.
In short, we’re doing higher quality work, in shorter amounts of time.
It’s also not uncommon to see athletes PR at the end of an EMOM. Nobody really knows the reason for this, but the idea being that a high amount of optimal reps primes the nervous system to succeed at heavier weights. It’s literally practicing until you can’t miss.
If time is an issue and getting through your whole workout is getting harder and harder. Consider giving the EMOM a go for a few workouts to push the pace a little, and get stronger at the same time.