Utilizing Momentum to Build Muscle

I remember my first days as a bodybuilder.


The history of bodybuilding and the way past bodybuilders trained,wasn’t of the utmost importance to my muscle-building voyage.

The “Cheat Curl” was an Arnold staple


During this time, I failed to realize that I would soon take my personal bodybuilding workouts through the different phases of the bodybuilding eras.


Even still, I never really knew what I was doing, until later on in my training.


Great bodybuilders like Zane, Yorton, Gironda and Draper in the “Golden Era” of bodybuilding were all pioneers in a decade, the 60’s, that helped shape what bodybuilding became.

East Coast bodybuilders were known for longer rests between sets and exercises as West Coast Bodybuilders were known to train faster with less rest between sets.


Today, my training style utilizes both.


The same can be said for training with strict form or adding more momentum into a specific exercise.


I’ve always been one to love training with strict form, having spent the last 10 years in the fitness industry, has only solidified this.


When we talk about training as bodybuilder, strict form, or at least the removal of momentum, isn’t always best in the bodybuilding game.


It wasn’t until I graduated college and I’d decided to train for my first bodybuilding competition that I learned how bodybuilders like Schwarzenegger, Columbu and Ferrigno used more body sway and jerky motions to add more momentum into their movements.


Cheating, as some might call it, isn’t cheating when you’re recruiting a bit of hip drive or “body English” to push through a few extra reps.


This is momentum at it’s finest, with the goal of increased forced production and an increased muscular stimulus.


If nothing more, you move a little bit more weight, with the addition of momentum and intensify the amount of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.


After all, didn’t Arnold train for the pump?


Think about the few ways a bodybuilder can utilize this approach in the gym.


When you perform a strict overhead press to near failure, it’s ok to transition to a push press, for the purpose of knocking out those “forced reps.”


A bodybuilder who reps out barbell rows, might use their hips, glutes and lower body to pull out the final reps, only adding to arm and back development.


I think we can all agree that there is a large difference between effectively forcing a few extra reps and simply using some grotesque form of lumbar extension, as we all too often see during those final reps of a standing barbell curl at your local gym.


This “cheat” form of momentum, will lead to more harm then good and is not why we are implementing the use of body sway. It’s not about cheating for the purpose to move extra weight or reps.


Remember, there’s a fine line between effective momentum in a movement and simply performing the exercise fundamentally wrong.