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What is an EMOM?

Updated: May 30

Are you ready to take your CrossFit training to the next level? Then it's time to familiarize yourself with one of the most popular formats in CrossFit: the EMOM.

We'll tell you everything you need to know about EMOMs, from how they work to different workout variations.

What is an EMOM?

Young athlete doing a squat snatch with a barbell.

An EMOM is a popular training format in CrossFit that stands for "Every Minute on the Minute".

In an EMOM workout, you perform a set number of exercises or repetitions at the start of each new minute. Once you have completed these, you rest for the rest of the minute. At the beginning of the next minute, you start again with the exercise or another set task.

This method is effective for controlling the intensity and pace of a workout as it allows you to work in short, intense bursts followed by short breaks. EMOMs can be adapted for a variety of exercises and goals, from strength and muscle building to endurance and conditioning training.

How does an EMOM work?

SmartWOD Timer on a phone

An EMOM works on a simple but effective principle. Here is how it typically works:

Structure of an EMOM workout

  • Defined exercise and repetitions: At the beginning, you define one or more exercises and the number of repetitions you want to perform within a minute.

  • Start at each new minute: As soon as a new minute begins, you start performing the defined exercises.

Sequence of an EMOM

  • Start of the minute: You start your exercises at the beginning of each minute.

  • Performing the exercises: You perform the set number of repetitions as quickly and efficiently as possible.

  • Rest period: After you have completed the exercises, you use the remaining time of the minute to recover.

  • Repetition: This cycle is repeated at the beginning of each new minute for the duration of the entire EMOM, which usually lasts between 10 and 30 minutes, but sometimes longer. Incidentally, there are also EMOMs where you start your exercises every two, three or more minutes. It depends on the workout.

EMOM workouts with the SmartWOD apps

Illustration of the SmartWOD Workout Timer app and the SmartWOD Workout Generator app.

Do you want to keep an eye on your EMOM? Or are you looking for inspiration or a workout based on your equipment or skills? The SmartWOD Timer and the SmartWOD Workout Generator are your "best buddies" for training!

  • SmartWOD Timer: Simply use our EMOM timer. Choose how many minutes you want your interval to start and how long the workout should last in total. Start the timer and let the countdown remind you when the next minute starts.

  • SmartWOD Workout Generator: Build your own EMOM in the app or have workouts suggested to you at random. If you set EMOM as the "Workout type" in the filter, only corresponding workouts will be suggested to you. So there are no more excuses 😉.

Which CrossFit exercises are suitable for an EMOM?

Athlete training with the SmartWOD timer in the background

Practically any CrossFit exercise can be integrated into an EMOM format. The choice of exercises depends on your individual goals, i.e. whether you want to build strength, increase endurance or improve your general fitness.

If you are a beginner, you can choose simple exercises with fewer repetitions. As an advanced athlete, on the other hand, more complex movements with higher intensity are recommended.

Here are some CrossFit exercises that lend themselves well to an EMOM format:


  • Deadlifts: A great exercise for building back and leg strength.

  • Snatches or Clean & Jerks: Ideal for improving explosive strength and technique.

  • Thrusters: A combination of front squat and push press, good for strength and conditioning.

Bodyweight exercises

  • Burpees: Perfect for an intense cardio workout and to improve body control.

  • Pull-ups: Effective for building upper body strength.

  • Push-ups or handstand push-ups: Ideal for strengthening the chest, shoulder and arm muscles.

Cardiovascular exercises

  • Jumping rope, especially double unders: Promotes endurance and coordination.

  • Sprints or shuttle runs: Ideal for increasing cardiovascular fitness.

  • Rowing or SkiErg: A great full-body cardio exercise.

Core exercises

  • Sit-ups or Toes-to-bar: Strengthen your abdominal muscles.

  • Planks: are excellent for core stability and challenge your entire body.

Functional training

  • Kettlebell swings: Promote hip mobilization and strength.

  • Wall balls: Combine squats with an overhead throw, good for strength and endurance.

Leg exercises

  • Air squats or jumping squats: Increase leg strength and endurance.

  • Box jumps: Improve explosive strength and leg muscles.

Which EMOM is suitable for strength endurance?

Athlete reaching for two kettlebells on the floor.

An EMOM workout that challenges both muscle endurance and cardiovascular endurance is suitable for improving strength endurance. Such an EMOM usually combines exercises with a medium weight and a higher number of repetitions.

EMOM for strength endurance: sample workout

Duration: 20 minutes (5 rounds)

Structure: At the beginning of each minute, you perform a specific exercise with a set number of repetitions.

  • Minute 1: 10-15 kettlebell swings - an exercise that works the hips, core and shoulders while increasing the heart rate.

  • Minute 2: 8-12 Wall Balls - a combination of squats and medicine ball throws that improves leg and shoulder strength and stamina.

  • Minute 3: 10-15 Box Jumps - improve leg strength and explosive power.

  • Minute 4: 8-10 Burpees - a full body exercise that builds endurance and cardiovascular fitness.

You repeat this pattern for the selected duration of the workout. You can adapt the exercises, repetitions and total duration to your fitness level.

The key to success

  • Choose exercises that work multiple muscle groups and require a combination of strength and endurance.

  • The number of repetitions should be challenging but still remain doable within each minute.

  • Gradually increase the repetitions or intensity of the exercises to achieve continuous improvements in strength endurance.

Which EMOM is suitable for strength building?

Young SmartWOD athlete holding two kettlebells.

An EMOM workout that focuses on heavy weights and fewer repetitions per set is suitable for building strength. Such an EMOM aims to develop maximum strength and increase muscle size.

EMOM for strength building: Example workout

Duration: 24 minutes (6 rounds)

Structure: At the beginning of each minute, perform an exercise with heavy weights and a low number of repetitions.

  • Minute 1: 3-5 deadlifts - A basic exercise that targets the entire back of the body.

  • Minute 2: 3-5 squats (back squats or front squats) - For developing the leg and core muscles.

  • Minute 3: 3-5 Bench Presses or Overhead Presses - To strengthen the chest, shoulder and triceps muscles.

  • Minute 4: 2-4 pull-ups with additional weight or heavy bent over rows - For building back and bicep muscles.

Repeat this pattern for the selected duration of the workout. Choose a weight that is challenging but still allows you to maintain good form.

The key to success

  • The focus is on high intensity with maximum effort for a few repetitions.

  • Rest time between sets is important to ensure you can approach each round with maximum strength.

  • Increase the weight or number of repetitions over time to promote continuous strength building.

EMOM: Versatility for your training

EMOMs are an essential part of CrossFit and offer a unique blend of challenge and efficiency. They are customizable, versatile and great for achieving specific fitness goals, be it strength building, endurance or cardiovascular fitness.

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced athlete, EMOMs can be an exciting and effective addition to your training plan.


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