To start, let me explain just what low stress training (LST) is.
All training is, is making your plant do something you want. The best part about LST, is the key "Low Stress". It doesn't stress your plant nearly as much as other training methods. All LST involves doing is the tieing or staking down of a plants top/uppermost growth shoots in order to get more top growths. This bends the plant over and spreads the light to the undermost parts of your plants. When you do this, it makes the undergrowth bush out as well. However, spreading the light isn't what makes your plant bush out.
Auxins, as defined in the science world are a type of plant growth hormone. In Marijuana, they are the most import hormone when it comes to vegetative growth. In an untrained, regular marijuana plant, the auxins are most heavily distributed to the top/uppermost growth. The plant identifies this growth as its top and strives to grow it up towards the light more than the other lower growths. This is where LST comes into play. When you bend a plants top growth over, the plant identifies that it's top growth is no longer growing up, and it works to gain a new top growth. In essence, the auxins spread throughout your whole plant and this creates new growth along your nodes that have the potential to be equal to a "top bud or cola".
When flowering, this will give you more top buds, but less smaller popcorn buds that formed along the bottom of a regular grown plant.
Now, let's take a look at the reasons why we LST.
[B]Space[/B ] - Many of times growers do not have the space to allow their plant to grow through the vegetative and flowering phase straight up (PC grows, attic grows, box grows). This is where LST comes into play. By tieing/staking down your plant, instead of growing vertically your plant grows horizontally, allowing your plant to still develop to maturity without growing up against your lights..
Light - As a plant grows upward towards the light, you constantly have to move your lighting fixture up to keep from burning your plant. As your light gets higher up, it gets further away from your bottom nodes and leaves. This can cause for more scraggly buds and leaves on the bottom of your plant, and put a dent in your harvest. This is especially true when you have lower powered lights(t5, CFLs, etc.)However, if you LST your plant sort of grows horizontally, allowing all of your budsites that grow up to be more exposed to the light. You will still have upward growth, just not as much depending on how long you let your new growth shoots grow before flowering, or LSTing the new growth down.
Stealth - Many of times those outdoor plants you have growing by the fence in the backyard just get too tall. What to do? Instead of growing up, just grow horizontally. This can keep those pesky neighbors from knowing that you have more than tomatoes growing in the yard.
LST can be done in many fashions.
For this method, all you need is a closehanger, wirecutters, some string or wire, and a piece of ducttape. This is for younger and smaller plants.
Step 1: Cut your closehanger into straight pieces (8-12 inches depending on how tall your plant is). You want the top of the closehanger to be anywhere from 4-6 inches below the top of your plant.
Step 2: Put a Crook or a bend in the end of the closehanger piece. This allows you to put the 2nd node down from the top of your plant under it.
Step 3: This is called the countertie, and is probably one of the most important steps. Take your string or wire and make you a piece long enough to reach from the base of your plant to the edge of your pot. Tie your string or wrap your wire about 3 inches up the base of your plant and run it to the edge of the pot. Don't pull on the plant, just make sure it isn't loose. Tape the other end of the wire/string to your pot. This gives a counter resistance to your LST so that your plant doesn't get uprooted on the stake down.
Step 4: Place your closehanger in the dirt of your pot, with the crooked end up.
Step 5: GENTLY bend your plants top over and place it under the closehanger.
Step 6: As your original top growth, and new top shoots begin to grow up, you can continue to stake them down and get lots of new growth. Repeat the process until you are satisfied with the bushiness and amount of top shoots that are on your plant. At this point you may let your plant grow as tall as you want or just switch to 12/12. I reccomend for indoor growers with limited space, as soon as you have the amount of top shoots you want that you switch to 12/12 as the plant will bush out incredibly if you continue to veg.
Screw and string Method - This simply involves screwing screws into the lip of your pot all the way around (8-12 of them). You then tie your plants top down to the screw nearest it with string. As new top growths emerge, keep tieing them down to screws around the pot.
Weighting - All you need to do here, is get some sort of a weight (Fishing weights, clips, or anything your plant can't lift). You then tie a string to this weight, and tie it to your top node. It pulls it down, and as new top growths appear tie them down with more weights until you have the desired amount of new upper growths.
Object Tieing - For bigger outdoor or indoor plants, you can find some sort of an object that the plant can't move, and tie your shoots down to it. I have a friend who uses a ladder that he uses as his weight and just ties plants down onto it. They are huge plants though.
As you can see, there are tons of ways to LST. When it comes to Low Stress Training, there really is no wrong way. Just tie your plant down, spread the auxins, and watch the new growth.
I jacked these pics from another site to give people who are unsure how to LST an insight of the technique.
Not my pics and I claim no credit - they're just the best I found that demonstrates how to do it.
First thing to do is secure the bottom of stem....don't want to rip out the roots.
Then just use your anchors to bend the plants main stem down and its side branches out to make the most of your available space.
And just keep going like that to get an even canopy of leaves with the buds exposed to the light...kinda like a scrog without the screen I guess.