Commercial Strength Training Programs for High School


In December and January I had the opportunity to speak at two Track & Field Clinics, one in Oregon and the other in Iowa, invariably the quest arose: what do you think of BFS? BFS stands for Bigger, Faster, Stronger probably the oldest of the programs. There are many others, but not as popular as BFS. Over the years I have been very outspoken in my criticism of these types of programs. Since the clinics I have received several emails and phone calls asking me to comment on this. I think the best approach would be to ask some questions that elicit the characteristic of a good high school strength training program. You coaches, athletic trainers, parents, athletes, administrators and physical therapist answer these questions and then make a decision. Do not make a decision based on hype or slick marketing.

  1. What is the scheme of Progression? How does the program progress throughout the year and how do they progress from year to year?
  2. What kind of Injuries or risk of injuries is there? Is there a remedial injury prevention aspect to the program. What is the rate of injury of athletes using the program?
  3. How is growth and development accounted for? Do the freshmen do the same exercises and program as the seniors?
  4. Does the program take into account the different needs of various sports or is it the same program for all sports?
  5. Does the program take into account the different needs of the female athlete?
  6. Does the program have an in season program to maintain strength?
  7. What is the objective of the program? Is it to gain muscle mass? Is it to gain basic strength?
  8. Are the exercises appropriate?
  9. Do you have to buy special equipment or bars to do the program? Think about these questions. Remember young athletes are highly adaptable and can accept big loads, but that does not mean that is appropriate.

Think in terms of four years rather one year. Also it is about strength you can use and apply on the field.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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