Without getting into a lengthy physics lecture, this process of reversing polarity produces heat (or wasted energy). This is known as hysteresis loss. And that helps explain why increasing the voltage into the motor will not necessarily increase the output. Instead, it can fight the resistance of magnetic materials to reverse polarity--and simply heat iron.
As you might suspect, when you reverse the current in an alternating current motor, it takes time for those atoms to get going in the opposite direction. And the amount of time is not necessarily the same as the time it took to get the herd moving properly in the first place.