For the past few months, the Baystate Barbell lifters have been using EMOM (every minute on the minute) sets for the snatch and clean and jerk and have had great success.    Personally, I’ve used EMOM sets in the past and they worked very well for me.  However, I decided to fine tune a few details and do a little more research on the topic in order to learn more about how EMOM could be applied to weightlifting. Below is an in depth explanation of what I’ve come up with and how I believe is the best way to program EMOM sets.

As I have explained in past blogs, Baystate Barbell performs the snatch and clean and jerk on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  The lifters will perform EMOM sets ONLY on Mondays and Wednesdays. Fridays are our heaviest day of the week and the lifters will usually, if not always, go to maximum. Maximum attempts will NEVER be performed every minute on the minute.

When programming EMOM sets, there are a few things my experience has taught me.  I’ve realized that despite a limited time frame for each attempt, the lifter’s technique tends to get better as the working sets go on.  As the lifter begins to feel more comfortable, their body loosens up, and the movement pattern becomes more engrained.  Because of this, it’s not unusual for me to have my lifters work to a “heavy single” once all the EMOM sets are completed.  However, the “heavy single” is contingent upon how the EMOM sets looked.  If a lifter just went 15/15 and made 75% look like 45%, why not push the weights?  On the contrary, if a lifter had a few misses during the EMOMs, I would have them move on to their next exercise once their “working” sets are finished. Finally, all of my EMOM exercises would target my lifter’s weaker areas or movements.  For example, if a lifter needs to work on their jerk, I may program 1 clean + 2 jerks.  Program with a purpose!!!  

All of the EMOM sets that my lifters perform are between the 70% and 80% intensity range and will NEVER exceed more than 3 movements.  I’ve found that anything more than 3 movements is too much to recover from in one minute. If the variation or complex takes 30 seconds to perform, the lifter will only have 30 seconds to rest.  Also, technique will begin to break down after 3 movements.  Keep the movements simple when programming EMOMs!    The lowest amount of sets/reps performed during an EMOM session is 10 and the maximum is 20.  We would keep the same lift variation for 3 weeks and then rotate in new variations. All sets and reps follow a 3 week wave.  Week 1 serves as an introduction to the movements, Week 2 would be the highest volume week, and Week 3 would have the highest intensity.