Wednesday, May 23, 2012


This was interesting.  A study on "cheating" - swinging the weights, using poor form, whatever you want to call it. 

They used a computer simulation of a lateral raise, adding a little momentum to the move to see what would happen.  The idea seems to be that added momentum (cheating) increases the torque on the muscles.

I'm not sure what I think of this...but I can't get past the idea that this is a computer simulation.

Does cheating pay: the role of externally supplied momentum on muscular force in resistance exercise.
Our work investigates the use of "external momentum" in the context of hypertrophy-oriented training. This is momentum supplied to the load (such as a dumbbell) used in an exercise by means of action of muscles not inherently involved in the exercise. We challenge the general consensus that the use of such momentum often described as "cheating" is counterproductive. We focus on the use of external momentum in the shoulder lateral raise and adopt a framework whereby exercise execution is simulated on a computer. This is achieved using a physical model of motion which is combined with anthropomorphic measurements and empirical data of muscular recruitment from previous work. The introduction of moderate momentum (producing initial angular velocities around 57.5° s(-1)) increases the torque of the target muscles even without an increase in the load used. A moderate increase in the load and the use of momentum allows the torque to be increased even further. In contrast, excessive use of momentum results in lower demands on the target muscles, while an excessive increase of the load reduces the total hypertrophy stimulus by virtue of the decreased number of repetitions which can be performed successfully and thus the dramatically shortened time under tension. Our results disprove the conventional belief that the use of external momentum necessarily reduces the overload of the target muscles. A moderate use of external momentum increases both the per-repetition peak torque and the total hypertrophy stimulus in a set.


Chase Saunders said...

Hopefully their simulation is better than the climate models.

I could probably be way better... but for now, just a basis for generating hypotheses?

Anonymous said...

Bill Pearl recommended cheating back in 1986 in his book "Getting Stronger". I think the premise is valid but would personally suggest having a training partner strip small amounts of weight off the bar or quickly moving to a lighter weight as a safer way of increasing time under tension to failure in a set rather than losing control of the movement through momentum or poor form.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jesus, climate denial is bleeding over into fitness blogs?

What's next, you going to deny evolution or vaccinations or tell us how gold is the next coming of Christ?


Anonymous said...

I'm a researcher finishing a Ph.D. in what is essentially applied physics. I study mass transfer using models that are intrinsically much simpler than any climate model could be expected to be -- mass transfer, of course, must be a part of any climate model. A lot of the time, our models don't do a great job explaining phenomena, and even when they do, they're more or less phenomenological and they include a lot of hand-waving to explain the significance of fit parameters.

There is no climate model that has been predictive of surface or sea temperature over a period of years. I'd hope their biomechanics model is better than climate models, too, because the system they're looking at is simpler.

Do I get the "denial" tag, too? What are your qualifications for tagging people in this way?

Anonymous said...

Shut the FUCK UP about the climate.

Shut it, don't talk about it here. Go away and discuss it on a blog about it, not one about fitness.

Seriously: noone gives a rat's ass about your ph.d. This isn't the place to clog with your attempts at looking the part of the erudite scholar. Go away and speak somewhere to someone who gives a fuck. Here? Talk fitness. FITNESS; look where you're posting. This blog's about fitness, not your pet politically charged issue.

DFoltz said...

(Anonymous 10:30 AM/ 25 May) may mention climate models in his example, but his comment does have a lot of carry-over to this study as well. To repeat the best part, in isolation...

"A lot of the time, our [relatively simple mass-transfer] models don't do a great job explaining phenomena, and even when they do, they're more or less phenomenological and they include a lot of hand-waving to explain the significance of fit parameters."

I haven't read this study in depth, but my acquaintance with studies of muscle physiology in general certainly supports his concerns about post-ex-factor reasoning and such.

Anonymous said...

LOL durr I have PhD that make me expart in eerythang I have no knawledge in.

Anonymous said...

@DFoltz Yeah, I'm not too concerned that a couple of people want to pile on and completely miss my point. Really, I just wanted to tell Chase that he should have confidence in something simple like a biomechanics model, and Anonymous 6:52 AM to take a breath.

Sam said...

This sounds like quite an interesting study, I personally think "cheating" is a good idea, but only when you can actually perform the excercuse properly, otherwise you wont be utilizing the correct mucles that you are meant ot be "cheating" with, good article