In the long history of CrossFit, EMOMs are a relatively new phenomena. There used to be a time when CrossFit Kinnick weightlifting sessions consisted of several sets of a given number of reps, without any resting requirements. This was a recipe for disaster when it came to getting our members in and out of the gym within the confines of an hour-long class. The EMOM was the perfect answer to our problems. We quickly realized, though, the additional benefit EMOMs were having on our members’ fitness. EMOMs combine the classic heavy loads of a basic weightlifting bro-sesh with the intensity of a CrossFit metcon, making for a lethal and effective training tool.
What is an EMOM?
The EMOM acronym stands for “Every Minute On the Minute”. It requires an athlete to perform a given number of reps for a given movement within a minute. A new set of reps must be performed at the start of every minute for the set time domain. Here’s an example:
EMOM For 15 Minutes of:
2 Clean & Jerks @ 225#/155#
An athlete must perform 2 C&J between 0-1:00, then again between 1:00-2:00, and so on and so forth until the final 2 C&J are completed between 14:00-15:00.
Why do EMOMs?
- Time efficient
- Increased volume
- Cardiovascular element
- Skill/technique practice
Get more done faster! EMOMs are a great way to get your weightlifting work done in a relatively small amount of time. Because you’re up against the clock you won’t have time to go sit down and recover completely between sets. You HAVE to keep working. Without the time constraints of an EMOM it might take an athlete twice as long to complete the same exact work. You get all of the benefits of a non-timed weightlifting session in half the time!
If we’re looking at the sample workout above, successful completion of the EMOM means an athlete will finish 30 heavy clean & jerks in 15 minutes. This is a far cry from a the amount of time it would take most athletes to get through 15 sets of 2 reps (the exact same work as the EMOM) without a time constraint. If experience has shown us anything, it’s that if we give an athlete the opportunity to rest, THEY’LL REST! EMOMs can be a busy person’s best friend.
Weightlifting EMOMs are also a great way to get a ton of work done. Because the weights are on the heavier side, and the reps are usually kept fairly low, athletes will get a fair amount of built-in rest. The rest, though not very long, will help to keep the body relatively fresh, thus allowing athletes to recover just enough from minute to minute. This is in stark contrast to a typical metcon where constant activity is the goal. Because athletes can remain relatively fresh throughout, athletes will be able to lift heavier weights longer.
Kill two birds with one stone! Yes, you have rest, but, because you have to perform work every minute, gone are the days of sitting down and resting for 5 minutes between each set. Not that there’s anything wrong with that style session, but EMOMs are far greater suited to the type of fitness we are pursuing as CrossFitters. During most WODs you must be able to move heavy loads, quickly while dead tired. EMOMs mimic that same stimulus over long periods of time. If you aren’t flat on your back, huffing and puffing, after a snatch or clean & jerk EMOM it’s because you aren’t going hard enough.
EMOMs are great ways to learn and practice advanced skills and techniques too. Not sure about how to get better at something? Put it in an EMOM. It’s a great way to get through the necessary reps without completely taxing the body. The rest periods will help to keep you fresh enough to ensure that proper technique and form are adhered to for a majority of the workout. Snatches, muscle-ups, and handstand push-ups all work great within the EMOM format.
There’s more to an EMOM than meets the eye. The next time you perform an EMOM at CFK stop to think about, and appreciate, the different ways the workout style is helping to make you better.