How oscillatory work helped me build a bigger bench.

I’ll be honest I suck at bench, my long arms make the movement difficult as drive off the chest becomes tricky as I would normally just get pinned. Its the one movement I have had the least progress in for years. I have always had trouble establishing my bench over 140kg, at over 100kg I did hit 150kg just once 3 years ago.
I did try applying the triphasic method to my bench work but I found it combined with triphasic low body work too stressful. I was gradually starting to introduce oscillatory work into my own and my athletes workouts. I decided it was time try something different.
Extended Oscillatory Reps
When I first saw oscillatory work, I was utterly perplexed. But looking into contract-relax relationship it started to make much more sense. The idea of this is to get the muscle to contract and relax very quickly and change between eccentric and concentric as quickly as possible. This fits in with some of Stuart McGills observations that the best athletes can switch their muscles on and off quicker, hence his ‘pulsing training’, you must learn to contract and relax. The idea being that reciprocal inhibition brought about by this oscillating increases levels of neuro muscular activation. I have to say when performing these the “switched on” feeling from upper back is enormous.

Dietz talks about 2 types of oscillatory movements

  • most mechanically disadvantaged posistion 
  • most mechanicallyadvantaged position 
It makes sense seeing as I was always getting pinned, that I work oscillatory movement at the weakest part of my lift.

Below is how I structured oscillatory bench in my program. Using double oscillation at the bottom. I ran this for 9 weeks making slight increases in load and deloading for a week after a 6 weeks of eccentric and isometric lowbody training before continuing with 3 weeks concentric work.

Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Bench Press 4 x 4 OC+2 @72-80%
Paired with
Clap-push up 4 x 5
Paired with
Pull-up 4 x 6 (tempo dependant)
Bench Press Clusters 3 x 1,1,1 with 15s rest between reps @90%
Heavy Row Variation
Bench Press 4 x 6 OC+2 @65-70%
Paired with
Clap-push up 4 x 5
Paired with
Pull-up 4 x 6 (tempo dependant)

This change in training made me pretty fearless when it came to getting the bar off my chest, getting comfortable and strong in the most mechanically disadvantaged position makes a massive difference.
Below im performing it is part of my first day of training with complex of clap push-ups.

Only problem is now 180kg a double bodyweight bench seems tantalizingly close.

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2 thoughts on “How oscillatory work helped me build a bigger bench.”

  1. Good read – thanks for sharing. Do you believe that this will help encourage hyperplasia (controversial theory) as well as the transfer of muscle fibers from 1 to 2?

  2. The method encourages largely neurological adaptation via contract relax mechanism. Until hyperplasia is observed in humans in stretch loaded positions we won't know if it is occurring.

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