All right fitness fans. If you’ve clicked this far, you’re serious about trying the December Fitness Bingo challenge.
Here, we give an overview of the three EMOM (every minute on the minute) workouts, including why these types of workouts are effective and what the purpose of each workout is.
I only recently saw the light with EMOMs. When I did them with CrossFit gyms, they were often designed to be so difficult that I’d be finishing reps four seconds before the next minute would start, leaving me frustrated and huffing for air.
It wasn’t until my weightlifting coach gave us two 15-minute EMOMs — one with snatches and one with clean and jerks — that I got a real appreciation for the method.
When each minute started, we had to do one rep, beginning at 60 percent of our one-rep max. After four minutes, we had to increase the weight. By the end of the EMOM, our goal was to be between 75 and 80 percent.
In my opinion, EMOMs serve two purposes: you can go heavier or you can work on a specific skill.
If the EMOM is a lift, the athlete can push herself with heavier and heavier weight and still get a decent amount of rest before attempting the weight again. However, because she’s not getting five minutes of rest in between reps, she’s getting a decent cardio workout as well.
EMOMs are also great for skill development. Some movements are tricky to master — especially gymnastics movements. EMOMs give the athlete enough time to ensure she’s doing the movement correctly while (hopefully) still providing a challenge.
EMOM 1 – 5 weighted squats for 15 minutes
This EMOM is pretty straightforward. With a dumbbell or kettlebell, perform five squats every minute. Regardless if you finish in 10 seconds or 45 seconds, the rest of the minute is yours to rest.
The movement: These are true squats. I want you breaking parallel with each rep. No quarter-squats. If you can’t get to parallel, ditch the weight and do chair squats.
Why we do it: Squats are essential to strengthening your posterior chain (hello glutes and hammies), which is the foundation to becoming faster, stronger, and getting that booty you want.
Suggested weight: 25 pounds.
Too easy? Increase the weight or increase the reps.
Too hard? Ditch the weight and do air squats.
EMOM 2 – 1 Turkish get-up each side for 10 minutes
Much lore surrounds the origins of the Turkish get-up. Some say it originated as a display of strength among Turkish wrestlers. Others claim ancestral strongmen required would-be apprentices to be able to do a 100-pound get-up before taking him under their wing and bestowing their knowledge of lifting heavy things.
Regardless, the exercise seems deceptively easy; but anyone who has done them knows the suck. One off, a Turkish get-up doesn’t seem overly difficult. But after 20, your glutes and hamstrings will be firing.
The movement: Start by laying on the ground, knees bent, feet firmly planted. With the weight in your left hand, extend your left arm straight up. Bring your right arm out.
With the weight still held up above your head, extend your right leg out and come to a seated position, using your right hand to help.
Push yourself into a bridge (weight still overhead), and bring your right leg back to a kneeling position. Shift your weight off of your right hand and stand up.
Reverse the movements to return to the supine position.
Repeat with the weight in your right hand.
Why we do it: This is one of the best full-body movements you can do in a gym or at home. The movement strengthens and taxes your shoulders, abdominals, and posterior chain. And you only have to do 10 on each side.
Suggested weight: 10-pound dumbbell or kettlebell.
Too easy? Increase the weight. YouTube has plenty of videos of athletes doing Turkish get-ups with 200+ pound barbell.
Too hard? Ditch the weight and practice the movement (essentially standing up from a supine position).
EMOM 3 – Three strict pushups for 10 minutes
Another easy EMOM, right? Deceptively so.
Walk into a gym and watch 10 people do a pushup and you’ll probably get 10 variations. Here, we’re sticking with a “strict” pushup with full range of motion. And after 30 of these, your pecs and back will be firing on all cylinders.
The movement: Facing the floor, with palms just under your shoulders and feet shoulder-width apart or together, push up until your arms are fully extended.
This is your starting position.
Keeping your body in a plank position (no sagging hips or rounded back), lower yourself until your chest hits the floor and push back up. Keep your elbows in, skimming the sides of your body as you lower. Repeat for three reps.
Why we do it: Pushups are an awesome bodyweight exercise. It is the type of exercise where you see progress quickly if you do them consistently. Pushups are great for developing arm, chest, and back muscles and can help in strengthening your bench press.
By keeping the elbows in, you protect your shoulders, which can become vulnerable if you “chicken wing.”
Too easy? Increase your reps per minute or add weight (either a barbell plate or small child will do the trick).
Too hard? Drop to your knees and perform the pushup.
Up next: AMRAPs explained