TRAINING TECHNIQUES: STRIPPING VS. CHEAT SETS

Dear Dr. Bell, can you explain the difference between “stripping” and “cheat sets”? I’m a newbie to the gym and I don’t understand the difference! Thanks, Carson

While the names seem more appropriate as categories on an Ashley Madison website, they are both highly effective and proven weight training programs.

Please review my previous blog post, Rest Between Sets – Muscle Hypertrophy, as that information is helpful in understanding of your weight-lifting goals and these programs.

Stripping is a program where you set the weight for a required amount of Reps. When you achieve failure – you strip off some weight and immediately continue with as many Reps as you can to failure.

Example: You are performing an 8 RM Set of Standing Tricep Extensions on a Cable Machine. After you complete 8 Reps, you quickly reach down and pull the pin, putting it in the stack One-Plate-Lighter and continue. You continue this process, (non-stop) quickly replacing the pin in One-Plate-Lighter until you reach the last plate in the stack. By the time you reach the last plate, your Triceps should feel like they have blown up to the size of weather balloons!

This program is designed to maximize your Lactic Acid build-up in the targeted muscle to force hypertrophy. Typically you would start with a 15 RM set. The Tricep example of 8 RM is due to physiologically differences of the Triceps having more Anaerobic muscle than most other muscles (the hamstrings also have a higher concentration of Type II Fibers).

Cheat Sets are another method to work deeper into the Lactic Acid System, except its emphasis is on the eccentric contraction (Muscle Elongation Phase), also causing a greater increase in overall strength. In point of fact, numerous research reports indicate “Cheat Sets” may be one of the fastest ways to increase strength.

Example: Start with a 12 RM Bicep Curl Set. After failure at your 12th Rep, bend your knees and hips. Using your legs, hips and Biceps…CHEAT…to keep performing Reps. You will need little leg and hip action on the 1st Cheat Rep, but as your Biceps continue to fatigue, you will use more and more legs and hips and therefore “more cheat” to keep going! Warning: DO NOT BEND backwards in your struggle to get the bar to your chest. Cheat with the legs and hips to add “swing (cheat)” to swing the bar to your chest so you can continue to do slow – controlled Eccentric Contractions (Curling Bar moving downward to starting position).

Your emphasis on the Eccentric Contraction is what is going to provide you with the greatest increases in size and strength.

Bending backward MUST BE AVOIDED to prevent serious injury to your low back. Stay safe!

Rule #1 for an IFPA Certified Trainer is “Do No Harm!”

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