A Guide to Programming EMOMs for Weightlifting by Coach Matt Shiver

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A Guide to Programming EMOMs for Weightlifting

by Mash Elite Coach Matt Shiver
Follow him on Instagram @shive_on

Every minute on the minute (EMOM) training is one of my favorite styles of training. It allows athletes to get lots of practice in the full lifts at an intensity that allows for the development of technique, speed, and endurance in the competition movements.

The athlete will complete a full lift or a short complex at the top of every minute for a given number of minutes. The beauty of it is that it does not allow for the athlete to overthink the lift. After a few minutes, they get fatigued and only have a short time to recover before picking the barbell back up to do another rep. The key is to only think about 1 cue each rep. You can actually CHANGE your technique little by little over the series of minutes. The best part is that it saves so much time. If you are pressed for time in your training sessions, EMOMs are the way to go. Weightlifting is a sport like basketball, you need to practice the movement to get better. If you are only training 2-3 times a week it can be difficult to get in the total amount of reps to maximize your potential in the sport. EMOMs are a great way to get them!

EMOMs are the most beneficial for the following athletes:
• Beginners
• Athletes who are fixing their technique
• Athletes who regularly miss lifts below 90%
• Deconditioned athletes (EMOMs get the HR up there!)
• Time restricted athletes

Beginners can benefit from EMOM training because it allows them to get LOTS of repetitions at an intensity that supports their learning of the movement patterns. As a beginner, getting more repetitions is so important! If you are a coach who spends time with novice lifters, add this to your tool box! The Beginner Barbell Class that I coach at Bull City CrossFit does EMOM Tuesdays. We have our biggest turnouts to this class compared to the other classes we coach. The athletes love feeling their technique change from repetition to repetition.

There are many different ways to program out EMOM work. The way that I recommend programming EMOMs is to perform 1 repetition of the competition lift either at a given percentage and time OR to climb to a challenging weight over a specific amount of time.

If your goal is to improve your technique or improve your endurance in the competition movements, I would stick to a given percentage (60-80%) for 8-20 minutes. Start the session with snatches. After your EMOM has finished for the snatches, take a 10-minute break before warming back up for the clean and jerk session.

How I typically program this over a month would be the following:
Week 1 – 1 rep at 70% for 15-20 minutes
Week 2 – 1 rep at 75% for 10-15 minutes
Week 3 – 1 rep at 80% for 5-12 minutes
Week 4 – NO EMOM 1 rep 85-90% for 3-8 reps with as much rest as needed

Week 1 starts out at 70%. This weight should feel fast and snappy. You want to be really focused on the positions with this weight. The longer time is the hardest part. For those who think that triples are “cardio” try doing a 20 minute EMOM. This will change how you think about your triples!

As you progress each week the time will get shorter and the weight will increase. If at any point in these EMOMs you fail or you are close to failing, drop a few kilos. The goal is to practice your technique. It is not helping when you are missing!

If you are more experienced and want to climb weight with each repetition the program would be set up a little bit differently. It would look something like this:

Week 1 – 1 rep EMOM style starting at 70% for 8-10 minutes, no misses
Week 2 – 1 rep EMOM style starting at 70% for 10-12 minutes, no misses
Week 3 – 1 rep EMOM style starting at 70% for 12 minutes, 1 miss allowed (go heavy)
Week 4 – 1 rep EMOM style starting at 70% for 6-8 minutes, no misses

This type of EMOM training should get above 80% on your last few lifts. It will challenge the athlete’s ability to recover fully before starting their next lift. Each week you want to be able to add a few kilos to the last set you did the week before. Week 4 is a small deload week. You are taking down the time and intensity (weight) used this week to allow you to recover from the past 2 weeks.

Once you have done the EMOM work shown above, you can add variation to them. On your snatch, you can add a high pull or overhead squat. On your clean and jerk, you can add a pull, front squat, or extra jerk. On both you could add a pause on the pull.

Remember that EMOM work is really designed for improving your efficiency as a lifter. You may get a PR on the climbing sets if your efficiency is getting better every single minute, but getting a PR during an EMOM is not the goal in EMOM training. EMOMs are about building a better technique and base through the multiple repetitions.

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