Every Minute on the Minute

Introduction

The every minute on the minute workout is a great way to accumulate a lot of reps of an exercise without technique falling apart due to fatigue.

In a previous blog post, I wrote about a volume accumulation lifting approach, which is great for those who have little time, but can grab small "workout snacks" across the day. The every minute on the minute approach requires that you have a block of continuous time available in which to complete the workout, in my case, an hour is a good chunk of time.

This approach works well for slightly more complex exercises, like squat cleans or barbell snatches, but there is no reason not to use it, for example, if you're trying to build strength for pull ups.

One of the key reasons this works so well for more complex exercises is that, while you build fatigue across the workout, you should never approach concentric failure, (1) making it safer and (2) allowing you to work on fitness as well as technique for that lift.

What people often forget is that you get good at things through sheer volume of mindful practice. If you perform 60 reps of an exercise and you're mentally present throughout, you have 60 opportunities to focus on different technique cues, notice faults etc.

If those 60 opportunities are each performed without significant fatigue, you're more likely to learn from them than you are if you attempt to do them as 6 sets of ten. In a ten rep set, you might notice technique cues in the first two or three, after which you're simply focusing on completing the set as fatigue builds.

How to do it...

Do a thorough dynamic mobility warm up for at least 10 minutes.

Set a timer to sound every minute for your desired duration (for me, it's an hour).

Perform one rep of your exercise.

Rest until the timer sounds.

Perform one rep of your exercise.

Repeat until the time is up.

Take a bit of time to cool down with any flexibility work you've identified that you need.

As a side note, I performed this workout using squat snatches and found that a minute was too long for my level of fitness. I reduced the intervals to a rep every 40 and then every 30 seconds and found that, for the weight I was using, this was adequate.

Keep this mind: just because I've called the workout "every minute on the minute", doesn't mean that you can't choose an interval that works for you.

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Will Newton


In over twenty years of coaching, I have coached everyone from absolute beginners to world champions. My interest in getting the best results for people who train for health and fitness or the love of sport, rather than as professionals, drives me to find the most effective ways to get results. My mission is simple: Be in better shape at 70 than most people are at 20, and to help you do the same.

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