EMOM Protocol for Training

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EMOM (every minute on the minute) is an acronym that most CrossFitters have probably heard at some point. When I started CrossFit in 2009 I didn't see EMOM protocol coming up that often during the early years but over the last few years EMOM has been established as a popular training protocol in CrossFit.

EMOM means that you are expected to do certain task on a minute and then repeat it on the next minute for X amount on minutes. Basically it's interval work, alternating work periods and rest periods. For example EMOM 10: 10 burpees means that you are expected to do 10 burpees on a minute then rest until next minute and repeat this cycle for 10 times.

The options in EMOM work are endless. EMOM protocol can be used skill development or cardiovascular endurance work. You can also build strength endurance with barbell using EMOM protocol. If you do 2 muscle up every minute on the minute for 15mins that would be an example of skill development and good way to work on muscle ups under a slight fatigue. Cardiovascularly it’s not really taxing but muscle endurance wise it’s hard if the amount of reps is correctly chosen.

Another example of EMOM that focuses on cardiovascular endurance work would be EMOM 20: odd 12 cal row, even 12 burpees. In this example you will alternate rowing and burpee each minute and you will complete 10 rounds of both (EMOM 20). This was an example where you have two movements instead of one. EMOM 10: 7 touch and go power cleans would be an example where you will work on strength endurance on barbell.

Kettlebell movements are also good additions in EMOM workouts. 

Kettlebell movements are also good additions in EMOM workouts. 

When speaking of hitting PRs on max lifts EMOM protocol can also be useful. I've hit multiple PRs on my snatches and cleans after starting lighter loads with EMOM protocol and then getting progressively heavier towards PR weights. Some of my training partners have had similar experiences. When lifting lighter loads with EMOM fashion central nervous system really fires up and gets ready for the specific movement pattern and after that when taking a little bit longer rest before actual heavy weights or PR attempts, body is ready to execute. Keep in mind that if the goal is to lift really heavy and possible hit a PR, the rep scheme leading into it can't be too taxing. The goal is more like waking up the CNS rather than wearing it out before the big weights.

I’ve hit multiple PRs on my snatches and cleans after starting lighter loads with EMOM protocol and then getting progressively heavier towards PR weights.

EMOM protocol is also great tool to build capacity on for example gymnastics movements. Progressions are the way to go. You can start with 3 strict handstand push up every minute on the minute for 10mins. Next time your goal would be 4 reps every minute. Once this progression comes too hard to keep up with you don't necessarily have to jump up with one rep every minute because percentage wise this is a rather big jump. After completing 4s but unable to complete 5s you can go reps scheme 4,5,4,5,4,5,4,5,4,5 where you alternate 4 and 5 reps for 10mins. You don't always have to increase the reps. You can keep the reps exactly the same but instead you can increase a little bit more deficit on HSPUs or you can add a little bit weight (say 1kg per week) on the muscle ups. These are only few examples of progressions and there will be many many more.

Another good way to use EMOM protocol for training is to pick 4-5 different movement and rotating these movement for 20-40min. There should be always rest period (15-30s) before the next movements. These longer EMOMs  can be really hard and brutal endurance workouts depending how hard the rep scheme is. I would say EMOM is really useful tool for CrossFit training in general. There are lots of options to apply it. Give it a go!

- Coach Mikko
@Mikko_Aronpaa

Rebecca Koch