Every minute on the minute (EMOM) workouts basically add a running clock into any programmed set of work. Sounds simple enough but this can have a dramatic effect on work capacity, intensity and accountability.

It’s a fantastic way of getting more work done in less time while still using relatively heavy loads. You can do these workouts with a single strength movement such as this:

  • Load up a bar with a 5RM back squat weight. At the top of every minute perform 2 back squats for a total of 10 minutes. You will still have completed 20 heavy reps in the amount of time most people would use for two sets.
  • I also do the above workout using 3 reps every 2 mins with a slightly heavier load.

This type of training keeps you focused and accountable to your work and rest periods. There is no standing around talking to your mates between sets and before you know it you’re there for half an hour doing the same amount of work.

Front squat

You can also use this method to form more complete conditioning workouts using multiple exercises and modes of training. For general fitness and body composition, training several strength qualities in a given session can yield great results.

Here’s one I completed this morning:

EMOM for 8 minutes

ODD MINUTE: 10 back squats

EVEN MINUTE: 8 pull ups + 20 double unders

REST 3mins

EMOM for 8 mins

ODD: 10 forward power lunges

EVEN: 10 KB swings + 5 burpees

REST 3mins

EMOM for 8 mins

ODD: 5 barbell press + 10 box jumps

EVEN: 5 push ups + 20 lunge jumps

In this style of workout, I’m under pressure to get a certain amount of work done as fast as possible so I have the remainder of the minute to recharge for the next round. Move too slowly and I get no rest. That ticking clock keeps me motivated to stay on task, moving quickly and efficiently. Once again, I get a lot of work completed in less than 30 minutes, which is where intensity lives.

Forward power lunge


Now I’m not certain that EMOM workouts have their roots in CrossFit but this is where I first came across the style. And I think it’s great so of course I’m going to employ it in my own training and that of my clients. Any trainer worth their salt should be across all styles of training, know what works and be able to apply them to suit their client needs. CrossFit has “stolen” from many fitness modalities including Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics, boxing, personal training, sprinting, powerlifting and strongman to name a few. So I see no harm in using the ideas it has popularized to improve my own workouts. There’s plenty that we can continue to learn from each other.