Wobble Training: What is Oscillating Kinetic Energy?


When I first saw Oscillating Kinetic Energy training 10 years ago,  I remember thinking is this a cool exercise trick or another attention grabbing way to workout intended to go viral on social media? But after doing some digging, I learned wobble training is a legit training approach and not something without a purpose in the realm of training. 

Mike Subach, Owner of Lift Health & Performance Training was first to teach me this style of training. He had me do a Kettlebell Bench Press that was suspended from a loop band which was held in each of my hands. The amount of control not only made me feel my stability being challenged like never before but also a new found respect for strength training that didn’t simply include lifting heavier weights. Enter Oscillation Kinetic Energy.

What is Oscillating Kinetic Energy 

Oscillating Kinetic Energy is is a training method obtained from pulsing waves or perturbations that challenge a person to deal with a whole series of multi-planar resistance and unstable physics. This unique training stimulus enables a reflexive firing in your musculoskeletal system. Said another way you are not only lifting something from point A to B but now you have to account for movement in various directions which forces a higher level of control.

The Benefits of Wobble Training

  • Improved neuromuscular efficiencies – Lifters must have greater motor control in both intramuscular coordination (within a muscle) and intermuscular coordination (between different muscle groups).
  • Improved technique – Lifters get immediate feedback on when their technique and positioning is correct. Any loss in positioning will make it harder to execute the movement.
  • Increased mechanical tension – Lifters must fully engage all available fibers within a given muscle, even under light/moderate loading. If the lifter relaxes whatsoever the movement will be increasingly unmanageable.
  • Greater Time Under TensionDue to the high demands of control of the movement. The total time to complete each repetition is longer thus creating more muscular tension for a longer duration. Hypertrophy is enhanced.
  • Joint Friendly –  Due to the demand to stabilize the load, your reps with a slower, more controlled tempo all while using lighter loads. The lighter the load the easier it is on your joints and to recover from between workouts.

Recommended Exercises for Oscillating Kinetic Energy (with Earthquake or Bamboo Bar)

Shoulder Press 

Bench Press




You can also do isolation exercises such as a bicep curl as well

***Stay away from Olympic Lifts with this method of training as this would cause injury.

Safety and Best Practices

Always start out extremely light with the load used, when using the earthquake bar you will be surprised with how little load can go a long way. If you are trying to lift max weight with this method of training, I suggest a different approach; check your ego at the door. Get comfortable with how it feels and overtime slowly add more weight to the bar. 

Who’s This Wobble Training For?

Everybody from athletes to powerlifters to regular fitness clients can practice wobble training. I certainly wouldn’t start someone with this approach, however, until they have a foundational base of movement execution. I specifically like this type of training for people who can’t “go heavy” due to joint issues or wear and tear over the years (just like BFR training and bottoms up KB work); when use the earthquake bar you get the minimum effective dose; less weight better on the joints and greater results to the working muscles.

Where Does it Fit into a Workout?

You can benefit from Osciliting Kinetic Energy training at any point in a workout. You could use it as a “primer” at the beginning to activate your nervous system, in the middle as the meat and potatoes, or as a finisher to really burn out the muscles without the wear and tear on the joints. You can’t go wrong where you place this in your workout.

Your Turn

Osciliting Kinetic Energy training is a beast of its own kind. Your ego will be tested but the benefits from implementing into your workouts will be well worth it. I’m all for the minimum effective dose, which means to get the least amount of work needed to see a given result and you get that without the heavy poundages of using traditional progressive overload principle. If you have banged up shoulders or joint issues but still want to lift and make progress than I think you will be happy with trying this out.


Ian Nimblett, CFSC, CSCS, NFPT-CPT and is a functional strength & conditioning coach, personal trainer, and author. He is the founder and owner of Premier Fitness Group LLC in South Salem, NY, a world-class functional training facility that provides private, semi-private, and group training.
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