Wanna Be Fit? Then Don’t Forget to STRIP!

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Yes, if you wanna be fit, then don’t forget to STRIP. Say what??? No, I’m not encouraging you to bare it all on a dimly lit stage in front of hundreds of ogling fans… I’m talking about “stripping” the weights down when you cannot do another repetition of a certain weight, so that you can crank out additional reps at lighter weights (these are also called “Drop Sets”). This way, you overload your muscles and force much more muscular development than if you were to stop because you cannot perform another rep at a given weight.

Doing short bursts of strip sets is particularly effective for working professionals and parents with kids at home, who don’t have a ton of time to invest in the gym. Thus, performing just a few intense strip-sets in lieu of high-volume workouts, can give you the results that you need without keeping you in the gym for hours. And as always, performing strip sets are recommended for both men and women. At the bottom of this post, I give an example of a shoulder routine that I bang out in 15~20 minutes when I’m pressed on time.

Take a look at the video below:

Here, I demonstrate how stripping is done for side lateral raises, which targets the lateral (side) head of the shoulders, as opposed to the anterior or posterior. I enjoy doing these sitting down because (a) it makes it harder to perform than standing up and (b) it tends to keep my form more strict and the load focused on my lateral deltoids, so I’m not employing muscles in my back to complete the motion. Keep in mind that I am intentionally going quite heavy and sacrificing just a little bit of form (i.e. not going up quite as high on all the reps) in this video to really push myself, in order to trigger additional stimulation and growth in my muscles. Although I’m a firm believer in keeping my form strict to isolate and stimulate the proper parts of your muscles while minimizing involvement of non-key muscle groups, on your heaviest sets, or when you are trying to trigger additional overload and stimulation, using heavier weights with less strict form (“cheating principle”) seem to work wonders for me (make sure your form does not become completely compromised, however, as this is counterproductive). Finding the right balance in this strict form versus heavier weight spectrum that works for you is a vital key to unlocking deep, additional development in your muscles that you never thought was possible.

For example, when I’m in a rush, here’s an abridged shoulder workout based on strip sets that doesn’t take too long to complete. It allows me to bang out an intense shoulder workout, hits all three of the major areas of the deltoids (anterior, lateral, and posterior heads), and I can be in and out of the gym in like 20 minutes flat. Check it out:

  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Set 1): Warm-up set x 12 Reps with light weights. Do not go to failure. You are warming up your muscles. Rest 60 seconds before the next set.
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Set 2): Intermediate Warm-up set x 8 Reps with moderate weights. Do not go to failure. You are still warming up your muscles. Rest 90 seconds before the next set.
  • Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Set 3): Do this one to failure, then perform 3 more strip sets until you cannot do any more reps.
    • Perform 8~10 Reps with weights you can only do for 8~10 reps. Do as many as you can with reasonable form.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down another 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can. Completely burn out your anterior deltoids.
    • Rest 120 seconds before the next set. You will need this rest :)
  • Barbell Upright Rows (Set 1): Skip the warm-up set, as your shoulders are already warmed up from the shoulder presses. You will do a “one-and-done” set here, with 3 strip sets.
    • Perform 8~10 reps with weights you can only do for 8~10 reps. Do as many as you can with reasonable form.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down another 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can. Completely burn out your deltoids.
    • Rest 120 seconds before the next set. You are going to feel exhausted.
  • Side Lateral Raises (Set 1): Skip the warm-up set, as your shoulders are already warmed up from the shoulder presses. You will do a “one-and-done” set here, with 3 strip sets.
    • Perform 8~10 reps with weights you can only do for 8~10 reps. Do as many as you can with reasonable form.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down another 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can. Completely burn out your lateral deltoids.
    • By now, you are probably dying.
  • Bent-over Raises (Set 1): Skip the warm-up set, as your shoulders are already warmed up from the shoulder presses. You will do a “one-and-done” set here, with 3 strip sets.
    • Perform 8~10 reps with weights you can only do for 8~10 reps. Do as many as you can with reasonable form.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down about 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can.
    • Strip down another 25~35% in weight and do as many reps as you can. Completely burn out your real deltoids.

Hooray, you are done with your shoulder workout! This should have taken you about 20 minutes or less to complete, and you should be completely exhausted on your shoulders. If you’re not, you did not go intensely enough. Try this workout, and let me know what you think!

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paulkimpk says:

Hi Elise, you should try them sometime. They work really well!

Elise says:

watching you do these poops me out!

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