What is OSCT
OSCT (Oscillation Training) strengthens and develops the transitional speed of the eccentric, isometric, and concentric phases as rapidly as possible. It requires you to rapidly push and pull in a pulsing way through a small range of motion, where the muscles contract and relax quickly. Oscillation training enhances your strength, explosiveness, agility, and speed.
How it Works
Take a bench press, for example. The agonist’s muscles are the chest, and the antagonist is the back—the antagonist’s muscles work to decelerate movement. So, when you lower the bar to your chest, your back muscles decelerate the press. When you press the bar back up, the chest contracts. Therefore, when you do oscillation training, you will only use a small part of the motion where the bar moves up and down about 6 inches quickly.
Understand there is no bouncing when you oscillate. For instance, during the bench press, there is no bouncing the weight off your chest. That is considered momentum, and energy dissipates. It does not get absorbed as it does from the controlled pulsing. People usually bounce the weight because they are weak isometrically. This will not improve the muscle’s force rate or dampen the speed between contraction and relaxation.
Why Do OSCT
One of the main reasons for doing OSCT is to develop the stretch reflex in a specific range of motion or all of them. By using and training the stretch reflex, it will inhibit GTOs and activate muscle spindles. Remember, GTOs monitor tension and reduce it when it becomes too high. They are inhibitors. And by allowing your muscle spindles to function, the stretch reflex activates to absorb higher forces and inhibit GTOs. Muscle spindles stimulate force.
If you are using momentum and bouncing, you will not be training the stretch reflex or using elastic energy- minimizing your strength and speed potential. Instead, you must learn to rapidly decelerate and accelerate with the least amount of time to maximize elastic energy absorption.
Benefits of OSCT
- Great to improve and enhance sports performance agility, cutting, and changing directions quickly.
- Oscillating at the bottom end to the mid-point strengthens the greatest range of force.
- Can be applied to weak links and sticking points of your movement.
- OSCT absorbs force in muscles that increase potentiation for concentric contraction.
How OSCT Functions
You can train oscillations in practically all exercises and movements. Using it in the isometric phase is a great place to start because it is where the most force is generated during your motion. Also, it works perfectly with your sticking points and weak links.
For example, maybe you are weaker in the concentric mid-phase of your bench press. You can perform OSCT there.
How OSCT Reps Work
You can perform OSCT for strength and explosiveness. For strength, use your five-rep max, about 85% of your 1RM. Don’t go any heavier than five because you don’t want to risk injury. Also, you will lose good-quality oscillation reps. Use about 50-60% of your one-rep-max for explosiveness and speed.
- First, find the position where you want to oscillate.
- From that position, focus on pushing and pulling. For example, oscillating your bench press, pull and press the weight as rapidly as you can with about 6 inches of range of motion. This will rapidly relax and contract your muscles to react and transition quickly, developing the most critical factor for speed and strength.
- After you oscillate, for example, four times, finish off with a concentric motion.
- The number of oscillation reps you do is up to you, depending on your strength.
- With heavier weight, oscillate 3-4 times, then concentrically finish and repeat.
- With lighter weights, oscillate 6-8 times, then finish concentrically and repeat.
With strength training, you will oscillate less than with a lighter weight, where you will do more.
There are many ways that OSCT will improve sport-specific performance and help you develop different strategies and techniques for your sport that take your competition to the next level. Just remember, muscles that can contract and relax quickly are stronger and faster.
To learn more about speed, sprinting, and power, check out my book, Instant Strength. And my YouTube channel for more methods and techniques, Balanced Body.