EVERY MINUTE COUNTS: Why EMOMs should be your favourite workout
19/05/2021 | Andrew Tracey
Andrew Tracey is a long time collaborator with Bulldog Gear. A coach, writer and current fitness editor of Men’s Health Magazine, he has been in and around the fitness industry for the past 16 years. Having enjoyed and endured a number of disciplines from endurance racing, to strongman, to Crossfit AT enjoys getting neck deep in the practice just as much as the theory.
I’m a firm believer that rest time is one of the most criminally overlooked elements in most people’s training regimes, it doesn’t take much critical thinking to realise just how much of an impact rest intervals can have on your workout, in fact the decision to hit the start button on a stopwatch can be the difference between an hour long plod around the gym and a 30 minute calorie torching, metabolic stress inducing crucible, all without changing a single other variable.
It should come as no surprise then that I’m a big fan of exercise formats that are predicated primarily on keeping one eye on the clock at all times, and my absolute favourite among these is the ‘EMOM’.
At it’s core an ‘EMOM’, which is as acronym for ‘Every Minute On (the) Minute’ (also referred to occasionally as an OMEM or ‘On (the) Minute Every Minute), is a format that is structured around performing a prescribed number of reps, distance or activity at the beginning of each minute, for a predetermined block of time, for instance a 10 minute EMOM of 10 push-ups, would have you starting a running clock and performing 10 push-ups at the top of every minute, resting in the balance of that minute, for ten minutes, for a total of 100 push-ups.
Always simple, rarely easy.
Depending on the desired outcome of the session, the EMOM format can be utilised to produce a variety of results, all within a static timeframe (so you know you’ll be in and out of the gym quickly, regardless), however unless you deliberately programme in ‘rest minutes’, the nature of having a guaranteed rest time of less than sixty seconds pretty much assures fatigue will accumulate, your heart rate will sky rocket and your calorie burn and metabolic stress will be significantly higher than if you were to do the same volume of work with ad libitum rest periods.
For example, if I were to ask you to perform- 10 sets of 5 pull-ups, 10 sets of 5 bench press and 10 sets of 100m rows, and allowed you to spread the work as you pleased, resting as necessary to stay ‘comfortable’, this volume of work may expand to an hour or even beyond. However, structured into an ‘alternating’ EMOM, performing one round of each exercise, at the top of every minute and rotating stations until completion, this workout would come in at a hare’s breath under 30 mins.
Practically speaking, EMOM’s are the perfect option for the time crunched amongst us, if you can build a progressive warm-up into the first few minutes by incorporating some full body, bodyweight movements and stretching/ mobilising in the balance of each minute, you can time your entire workout down to the second.
All you have to do is press ‘play’ and do the work.
3 EMOM’S FOR YOUR ARSENAL
'FULL BODY THIRTY'
A dumbbell and bodyweight workout that builds progressively, allowing you to get stuck straight in.
Use the remainder of each minute to stretch, move and mobilise any tight areas.
EMOM (ALTERNATING) x 30 minutes
-5 x Pull-up (or ring row)
-10 x Jumping Squat
-15 x Push-ups
-15 x Dumbbell deadlift
-10 x Renegade row
-5 x Overhead press
THE LUNG BUSTER
Looking for a quick fire engine building, capacity workout with metrics to measure your progress on?
This is the interval piece for you.
Sprint the ride, push the burpees, rest in the rest.
EMOM (ALTERNATING) x 15 minutes
-15 cals ride/row/ski*
In the remainder of each working minute, perform as many burpees as possible.
Rest on alternating minutes.
Track your burpee count.
BUILD AND BURN
Combining two big upper body builders with an explosive leg effort, this one will put some meat on your bones… If you can hold on for long enough to get the volume in.
EMOM UNTIL YOU QUIT*
-5 x Strict Chin-up
-10 x Ring dip
-20 x Split squat jump
*Perform all movements in the same minute, workout ends when you can no longer fit the prescribed reps into 60s, or- you give up.