June 21, 2019 at 02:00AM by CWC
A kettle bell swing is all about power. Once you find your rhythm, gravity starts to take over. But you shouldn’t tap into that same energy if you’re isolating and strengthening your glutes in a hip bridge. This is the difference between momentum and control. While related, the two modes of exercise do very different things, explains Isaiah Harmison, a Houston-based Barry’s Bootcamp instructor. And if you’re going to train like an athlete, you’ll need to learn how to harness both.
“Control would be something that I would utilize to get the body to focus on a muscle, like a mind-muscle connection,” he says. “Whereas momentum is kind of getting the whole body to move in a powerful fashion towards a certain direction.”
Before hopping into momentum moves you should first master working those muscles with control, to ensure that you’re practicing proper form, which can prevent injury.
“Slow and controlled movement will get your body comfortable with a variety of movements and can help with muscle gain,” says Gold’s Gym personal trainer Carlisle Price, NCSF-CPT. “Then you’ll be able to incorporate working out with momentum.” This will help increase your endurance.
Think about a squat: “We’re going to want to focus on control to gain that strength,” but, Harmison says you might want to then follow with jumping lunges or a squat jump. He explains that incorporating power trains the body to use its strength to build momentum.
Harmison explains that depending on your goals, doing one may be more beneficial than the other. A track runner, he says, is going to put a lot more focus on power-led agility drills than someone going to the gym looking to build muscle mass. So if you’re looking to sculpt and tone your muscles, you’ll want to keep things slow. But, even if clearing a hurdle isn’t your goal, you should still make time to pick up the pace and work with momentum.
“When you train like an athlete,” Harmison says, “you’re keeping yourself mobile and you’re keeping yourself strong.”