Today’s fitness topic is a training technique that we use and find really effective for muscle building and endurance: the Stripping method, also known as drop sets training… and no it’s not a striptease at the gym.
This method consists in reducing the weight you are using as you fail at the end of a set, until you can’t do any more reps. Basically, when you get to the end of a set and you can’t do another rep, your muscles are too tired to lift that particular amount of weight, but they’re not too fatigued to lift a lower weight. So you scale down the weight and complete more reps, again until you can’t lift that weight anymore. You remove a plate or two and you keep busting out reps until your muscles.
The stripping method involves reducing the weight you use as you begin to fail at the end of a set, so that you can continue to do more repetitions. When you come to an end of an exercise of a given set with a certain weight, you may or may not be surprised to know that performing additional sets immediately following the initial set is feasible if you reduce the weight. The main benefit of this, is that each time you take a plate off and reduce the poundage to perform additional sets, the muscle(s) which you are working are forced to recruit additional muscle fibers. Similarly to the cheat rep method, the stripping method is best performed at the end of a workout, during your last set. At this time, muscle fiber recruitment will be at its peak. An example of this can be seen with individuals who start a dumbbell curl exercise, and perform it until they have reached temporary muscular failure, they then take another weight off the rack, which they feel they can handle for a few more quality repetitions, and recruit new muscle fibers to achieve temporary muscular failure once again. This is a very effective shocking method.
You can apply the stripping method through one drop in weight per set, or you can do one major set with several drops. Some will complete their final bench press set and continue to remove weight until only the empty bar brings muscular failure.
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Use this method only for your last set, not at the beginning of an exercise when you are fresh and strong.
- Since this method necessitates that the changes in weight are made quickly so that the muscles don’t have time to recuperate, having a workout partner ready to remove plates off the bar or move the pin in a machine stack is an advantage. Don’t go too low unless you are training for maximum definition, because you won’t grow by handling weights that are too light.
- Many bodybuilders use this principle in a different way by working their way down a dumbbell rack as they do more sets of an exercise and get more and more tired. A variation of this method is called Running the Rack, in which you do your set with one weight, go to failure, put the weight down and go to the next lightest in line, go to failure, and continue, and continue this process to exhaustion. With or without a training partner, this method can be used to add intensity to your training program. If you have a training partner, you can optimise the intensity by having your partner reduce the poundage of the bar/weight stack quickly so that you can maintain the intensity. Even if you don’t have a training partner, the use of dumbbells can be an effective way to quickly reduce poundages to train to failure using this method. The Stripping Method is one of the Power Training Principles.
- It’s a really intense training technique that we suggest doing only every once in a while, because it forces muscles to recruit fiber and if you’re not complementing the workout with the right kind of food, you’re screwed. Also, since progressive drop sets necessitate that changes in weights are made quickly so you don’t have time to recover, you might want to get a workout buddy to help you reduce the poundage, remove plates off the bar or move the pin in a machine sack. It can also be done without a partner, if you’re using dumbells, just work your way down a dumbbell rack. What you don’t want to be doing is using a weight which is too low, that won’t help you build muscle. So, for your last reps, don’t choose a really light weight, unless you want to work on definition and endurance.
- Incorporating this method into your training program will definitely add more intensity to your workouts, and if you’re looking to fry and destroy your muscles, that’s your best bet. Personally, we love the feeling of a good pump and we like to combine it with other techniques. Usually, we use this drop sets for our last sets to feel that fantastic burning sensation in our muscles.
- What do you guys think about the Stripping method? Have you ever tried it? If not, give it a try and let us know how you liked it.
When applying the stripping method with barbells, use small weights. For example, if you are using 225 pounds, use combinations of smaller plates, rather than two 45 pound plates. This way, stripping is performed most easily.
When applying the stripping method with dumbbells, keep them close by so you can go from set to set quickly.
Perform the stripping method for: Machine shoulder press, or machine bench press, dumbbell chest press, dumbbell curl, leg extension.
Do not perform the stripping method for: Squat, deadlift, or any bodyweight exercises like non weighted crunches, hyperextensions, pushups, etc.