Limited Time? EMOM It.

July 12, 2017


 A few months ago, a friend and colleague of mine saw me warming up, (foam rolling, lacrosse ball to the foot, and some banded stretching) and asked me what I was up to. I told him, "A little this, a little that. Just wanted to do some deadlifts and some pull-ups and then whatever else happens, is a bonus." His response?  "EMOM it." Not being from the Crossfit world, I had no idea what he was talking about but he laid it out for me.


Every Minute On the Minute, perform an exercise. 

He suggested I pick 2 or 3 exercises and run through them as follows:

  • Trap bar deadlifts for 7 reps, picking weight around 70-80% 1 rep max)

  • Knee tucks for 15 reps

  • Pull-ups with body weight for 7 reps


Start the clock and perform the first exercise.  It should take you about 30 seconds or so. Make your way over to the next exercise and once the clock says 1:00 minute, start exercise number 2.  At minute 2:00, perform the 3rd exercise.  That's round 1 of 7 and you just repeat the 3 exercises on the minute for each round. The whole routine will last 21 minutes total. Sounds simple, right?





Around minute 12, I was dying. Still getting the reps on deadlifts, but my pull-ups and knee tucks were shot, not to mention that my lungs were spent. On the final round, I was so ready for it to be over. I started with my deadlifts, trying to get to my required 7 and my friend gives me the pep talk of, "You've done 6 rounds of 7 reps, if you get 8 on this last set, that makes 50. 50 sounds way better than 49." Damn him... I got the 50th rep, drudged through the knee tucks and pull-ups and proceeded to lay on the floor for about 15 minutes to recover. 





My body stopped working after the workout that day but my mind came to some cool conclusions:

  • I just banged out 50 reps of a heavy load on deadlifts. Yeah buddy!

  • High volume on accessory work? Yessir!

  • Completed some insane metabolic conditioning? Check!

  • All in 21 minutes? You betcha'!


Since then I've played around with different versions of EMOM, from picking 1 to 5 exercises and varying how many rounds I complete. Depending on time and desired volume, you can choose whatever rep schemes work for you. I personally stick to 3-8 reps for heavy loads and 8-20 reps for core and stability exercises.  Listed below are merely suggestions that I've personally played around with. The fun part is that sometimes you only have 25 minutes to get a lift in, and this simplifies your programming.  


1 exercise for 5-10 rounds

  • Medicine ball slams or tosses, and anything metabolic that takes about 30 seconds to complete


2 exercises for  5-10 rounds

  • Compound movement (deadlifts, squat, vertical/horizontal push/pull)

  • An accessory movement (think core or stability movement)


3 exercises for 5-10 rounds

  • 1 compound movement

  • 1 core, shoulder stability or metabolic movement

  • 1 compound movement separate from the first


4 exercises for 3-7 rounds

  • Compound movement 

  • Core or metabolic movement 

  • Compound movement

  • Core, shoulder stability or metabolic movement


5 exercises for 3-6 rounds

  • Compound movement

  • Core or metabolic movement

  • Compound movement

  • Shoulder stability or metabolic movement 

  • Compound movement


Be creative, sometimes you will bite off more that you can chew (think deadlift, medball side tosses, squats, hollowed out holds, and split squat lunges) and other times you will surprise yourself by how easy the circuit was. Try some of this stuff and drop me a line on Facebook or Instagram to share what works and what needs a little tweaking. 





Matt is a Strength and Conditioning Coach and Level 3 Fascial Stretch Therapist with over 15 years experience in his field. After years of playing sports as a child, Matt gained an interest in health and wellness and decided to pursue a career in strength and conditioning. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a degree in Exercise Science in 2005.  During college Matt played rugby and interned as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with the football team.  

Post graduation, he worked with professional athletes as the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for NFL Europe's Berlin Thunder. For 8 years, Matt worked in Chicago, IL at the East Bank Club as a Master Personal Trainer, Performance Coach and Fascial Stretch Therapist helping athletes and weekend warriors achieve their personal goals.  Inspired by the overall quality and active lifestyle that California is known for, Matt and his wife Jennifer moved to San Diego in the summer of 2014 and haven’t looked back!



  • NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

  • Level 3: Fascial Stretch Specialist

  • Level 1: Institute of Motion Health Coach

  • Certified FRC Mobility Specialist (FRCms)



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