The Stripping Method - Bodybuilding Training Principle

The Stripping Method

Take Full Advantage of Different Training Styles

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The middle of the last century sounds like a million years ago to you. right? To an old-timer like me it seems like yesterday. Not the happiest time for me. I was attending private school. (Oh, so privileged was I.) Why was I not happy? Because I was not exactly the best student. In fact, in geometry, algebra and Latin I was one of the worst students. I did, however, make top of the class in art and English. But that's all water under the bridge.

Anyhoo, back in the mid 1950's an enthusiastic bodybuilder was finding difficulty in making satisfactory gains from his workouts. So he tackled the ominous task of inventing a training system that would maximize intensity, literally forcing his muscles to grow bigger. He succeeded.

Using himself as a guinea pig Henry Atkin conjured up, developed and tweaked the Atkin Multi-Poundage System, more commonly known today as the triple-drop method or the stripping principle. To put Henry a little more in the picture. I find it interesting that this genius of a man was also the inventor of the knitting machine (of all things). The knitting machine was so successful that the royalties enabled him to emigrate from the British Isles to the USA. He lived comfortably in a line home until his recent death at 92 years young.

Stripping is painful

The stripping method is tough. Many body builders have used it, including the greatest of all, Arnold Schwarzenegger. Few keep with it for long. Many return to straight sets after a week or two of stripping. I don't recommend that you use the stripping method for every body part. Just try it for one or two of your more stubborn areas

Give it a shot on a couple of resistant bodyparts for six to eight weeks. After that, return to straight sets. Then use the stripping method for another couple of areas.

Okay, so stripping is painful and rugged. It will poop you out pretty quick. But don't despair it will give you results like no other principle. (Just remember, eat lots of muscle building protein to feed those broken-don n muscle cells.)

Get down to it

Select a suitable exercise for your chosen bodypart and warm up with a light weight for 25 reps. Take a good five minutes* rest so the blood settles down in the exercised (pumped!) area. Next, load the bar to a poundage that will allow 8 to 10 reps. Use smaller weight discs. After reaching your target rep count, have a couple of workout partners remove one disc from each side of the bar. Immediately continue for 8 to 10 more reps (or whatever you can manage). Once these are achieved and no more reps are possible, have your training partners remove a couple more weight discs. Now go for broke with a final effort of maximum reps. Your muscles will be burning at the conclusion of this triple-drop set. And they will be growing as a result of your Herculean effort.

In exercises like the squat and bench press, the weight can be momentarily racked while the discs are removed. When cables and machines with pins are used, you can pull and insert the pin yourself. Make sure that minimal rest is taken. No more than 10 seconds should elapse between failure and starting with the lower weight.

Lots of sets

I have found that the best results come from this stripping method when the set consists of 25 to 30 reps in its entirety. Theoretically, one could imagine it to be beneficial to have a set made of three series of 3 reps giving a total of 9 reps. In practice this is insufficient to give the muscles the real good pounding they need to stimulate extraordinary growth.

How many stripping segments should take place each set? Three or four. It depends how advanced you are in your training. To my mind, beginners to weight training shouldn't even think of using this method. Intermediates could use it on one bodypart per workout (and no more than two complete stripping sets per exercise). Advanced trainers could aim for two or three bodyparts per training session, up to three complete sets per exercise. But in reality, you have to tune into your own body and learn about your recuperative powers and genetic ability to tolerate excessively strenuous exercise.


If there is any doubt about your health, have a complete physical checkup. Chances are you'll be given a green light to go full steam ahead, but if you are a smoker or have a history of heart or circulatory problems, I would imagine that stripping could be too risky to take on. See your doctor for advice. Ask for a complete stress test.

Meanwhile, those of you who are going to give the Henry Atkin Multi-Poundage System a go, remember to eat clean food and plenty of it. Get tons of sleep (growth hormone is only released during sleep) and watch those muscles grow to record size. Stripping works!

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