T Nation

Opinions on Using Momentum

I always try to hit PRs and on multiple exercises i use momentum or swinging, its " worst " on cross body hammer curls.

Is this a negative thing?

I am of the opinion that if your form remains the same and your progressing in weight/reps, it doesn’t matter. but i’d like to hear other peoples opinion, maybe you think it takes away focus from the muscles your trying to hit?

You can benefit from strict, no momentum work (more ‘pure’ muscle lifting), just as sure as you can benefit from making the momentum work for you (a little body english to get a weight you wouldn’t normally be able to lift, and forcing the muscles to handle it during static and eccentric portions).

It’s not a negative thing, it’s merely the sort of thing that might lead other gym members to call you on what you can truly “lift”. If you don’t care at all, and the final product, muscle growth, is the be all end all, and you are getting the progress you want, then stay with it. Just be honest with yourself and don’t think you’re honestly able to curl 100 lb dumbells -lol.

Hell, Coleman was the G.O.A.T., and he was damn loose with his training style. He’s described it as actually being a saving grace for his joints. Not sure if that’s a valid argument, as the man had one in a million genetics, but take from it what you want.


In my opinion certain exercises are actually more effective when you cheat the form. The three that immediately come to mind are barbell curls, dumbbell rows, and barbell shrugs. If you use some “body english” on those lifts you can really increase the weight and see better gains than you would from lighter weight done strictly. You just get such a big increase in muscular loading from a little bit of cheating the form. Really pays off IMO.

Obviously don’t apply this to everything. I haven’t found any pressing movements that work this way, just some of the heavy pulling accessory movements that I mentioned.

i think momentum is okay on certain lifts

for instance, bicep curls… especially on the last few reps. If your training protocol calls for sets to failure, then you shouldn’t be able to move your arms at the end… using momentum helps you get there.

i tend to use momentum on hammer curls and pinwheel curls, and use a heavy weight. I feel like if I’m using all my muscle on the reps, and not strictly momentum, then I will get a growth response from it. Plus like stu has said you can always control the static/negative.

if its pure momentum (on positive/negative), then I would drop the weight, just to get a certain amount of time under tension during the set. I see a lot of people with huge arms who are using freakish weights and momentum, probably has to do with the static/negatives imo…

sure, if you are a small guy you will get weak clowns looking at you as if you don’t know what you are doing… but shouldn’t care really