It's the stuff dreams are made of - getting stronger while simultaneously improving your conditioning. This is exactly what following a CrossFit program will do for you, but there's one workout format that's especially effective in this regard.
EMOM (short for "every minute on the minute"), E2MOM (every 2 minutes) or even E3MOM, have been used for years by top strength and conditioning coaches because they confer so many great benefits on the athlete, especially when Olympic or power lifts are incorporated. EMOM's are typically done by performing 1-5 reps of a movement such as a power clean or back squat, then resting for the remainder of the minute (or 2 or 3 minutes depending on the workout prescription) before starting the next set.
From a coaching standpoint, this method is great because it allows for exact work-to-rest ratios to be achieved based on the intended stimulus of the day and keeps the class together at the same time. From the athlete standpoint, EMOM's produce amazing results by allowing you to move relatively heavy weights for greater volume when compared to doing a max-rep set at the same load.
For example, an athlete squatting 85% of their back squat max will complete approximately 6 reps in a max-rep set. However, this athlete could handle 6 sets of 2 reps of back squats at this weight when done on the minute relatively easily. That’s double the volume of the max-rep set with the same load spread out over more time.
Moreover, EMOM-type structures allow for very high-quality work since the athlete is able to attack every set, and demonstrate excellent speed and technique on each rep. Compared this to a max-rep set, where the last few reps are affected by fatigue and there is an inevitable degradation of bar speed and movement technique. (Note: Max-rep sets force their own adaptations and are a valuable training method that should be included in programming along with EMOM-style work.)
But what about conditioning? Repeated sets of all-out effort (e.g., 2 heavy power cleans), followed by relatively short rest, train an athlete’s ability to express a high power output repeatedly with incomplete rest. This method also improves the ability of one’s aerobic system to facilitate recovery from these bursts of high-intensity activity (for more on the energy systems, check out this article). This is a crucial skill for athletes in power sports such as football, baseball, volleyball, or MMA, and for CrossFit athletes developing their broad, general, and inclusive fitness.
As alluded to earlier, while EMOMs are a great option for your strength training sessions, they should not be the only format utilized. For sessions like establishing 1- to 5-rep maxes or when performing very heavy sets that cause significant fatigue, it may be beneficial for athletes to rest as needed so complete recovery is achieved between sets. That is why you will see both options utilized in the programming.
To recap, Big Shoulders CrossFit incorporates this type of interval training on a regular basis because these workouts provide great opportunities to hone technique under load while slightly fatigued. Additionally, the EMOM produces a potent stimulus by subjecting athletes to a relatively high volume of heavy, high-quality reps and short rest periods resulting in increased strength, power, and conditioning. In other words, fitness gains will occur.