Cheating….swinging….’strategic momentum’ - they are all words for the same thing, right?
Well, not exactly!
If we do something without noticing we’re doing it, that can be a lot different to if we are using something with the intent of it providing a particular benefit.
‘Cheating’ vs. ‘Strategic Momentum’
Let’s use barbell curls as an example…
If we can’t lift a certain weight for one rep and in order for us to get it going we have to really swing, it’s pretty safe to say we have no business using that kind of weight!
Contrastingly, if we can lift a particular weight when doing barbell curls for 10 decent reps and we use a little bit of a swing on the last few reps (otherwise we couldn’t do them)…that’s a lot different.
This is where intelligently using our bodies natural biomechanics comes in useful.
The body is meant to be used as a unit, if we’re overly robotic this can lead to injuries and high amounts of strain on our tendons. Sure our tendons get put under strain, however when it’s excessive this can lead to issues.
Which Exercises Lend Themselves to Strategic Momentum
It makes sense to use strategic momentum on some exercises rather than others, we only want to be using where appropriate - if it’s not needed or helpful using it is only going to be for ‘ego’ purposes…the point of it being ‘strategic’ is to use it for our advantage.
This exercise is great for stimulating the side delts, relative to most other body parts we can only use fairly light weights too.
When it comes to the last few reps, getting the dumbbells up is the difficult part before we control the weight back down again. If we can give them a little ‘nudge’ on the way up that will help us get a few more reps that we can control on the way back down.
The ideal is to have all of the reps done by the muscle alone, however a little momentum can help us get there! If we can only do 8 reps with a certain amount of weight, to get to 10, we may need to do 8 good ones with a helping hand for the last 2 (for a few workouts) before we can get to the 10.
Another exercise that can benefit from using strategic momentum is - barbell curls, for the biceps.
When using very light weights this may not be the case, however when using medium or heavy weights having a little bit of a helping hand can certainly be useful.
With this particular exercise, you’ll probably find the half way point can get very difficult…this is a natural sticking point. A little push enables you to smoothly get through it and explode to the top on those reps when needed, following that you can control the weight down…you can’t control it down if you can’t even get it to the top, right?
If you’ve ever tried doing barbell curls with super strict form, the weight usually has to be a lot lighter. Having a little bit of force helps you with the starting part of the movement, which enables more weight and provided you’re still targeting the biceps efficiently, results can be improved.
Again, this is strategic momentum….not momentum just to be able to use more weight for the sake of it.
Others Exercises May Include:
- Barbell Rows
- Heavy Triceps Kickbacks
So in a nutshell, I’m saying using a little bit of momentum…intelligently can help - not swinging like a mad man!
Working with our body the way it’s meant to work, can help facilitate greater load on the muscles, plus less stress on the joints and tendons.
Evolutionarily speaking, we are meant to use our body to move things. Restricting the load (100%) of one body part, in certain instances can be detrimental…for some movements it could mean the muscles do 95% of the work and 5% is strategic moment (to put it into perspective)…it’s not 50% and 50%…..although these are not exact stats, you get the idea!
It may take time to get it right, however if you have the right intentions when using it…strategic momentum can be our friend!
Now go get it!