Bigger Faster Stronger was one of the first-ever programs for high school weight rooms. 45 years later, the world of high school strength and conditioning has grown and evolved. In this article, we look at the legacy of Bigger Faster Stronger and how companies like PLT4M continue to empower young athletes and students in the weight room and fitness center.
Bigger Faster Stronger – A First Step In High School Weight Training
Strength training has been around as long as the pyramids in Egypt! Seriously, The Sport Digest highlights the full history of strength training and spotlights stories from Egypt to weightlifting competitions in early Greek civilization that would eventually become part of the Olympic games.
Fast forward a few centuries, and everyone from high-level professional athletes to Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized weight training as early as the 1970s. And as more people saw the upside of weight training programs in the 70s and 80s, high school coaches also wanted to tap into the benefits of weightlifting for young athletes.
But most high school coaches had little experience or knowledge in the weight room. As a result, well-intentioned coaches didn’t know how to teach proper exercise techniques or create appropriate training guidelines for young athletes.
One of the very first programs to come onto the scene for weight training for high school athletes was Bigger Faster Stronger (BFS). Founded by long-time strength coach Greg Shepard, the BFS program was a trusted system used nationwide in high school weight rooms. Greg Shepard helped to get a premier performance program into high school coaches’ hands for the first time. Bigger Faster Stronger was created over 45 years ago and was a pivotal first step for high school strength training.
Building On The Bigger Faster Stronger Legacy
Bigger Faster Stronger (BFS) built a legacy for athletic training in high schools across the country. In addition, the BFS program opened doors for schools to see the power and impact of strength and conditioning for all high school students. And if you were in your high school weight room during the 1990s and early 2000s, you likely had your hands on the BFS program.
Beyond just impacting young athletes, schools started to see the benefits of strength and conditioning for all physical education students. 45 years later, we have come a long way!
Just look at Naperville North High School in Illinois. The school that was first studied in Dr. John Ratey’s book Spark on the benefits of physical activity has since evolved its physical education curriculum to empower all students to be in the weight room.
Kevin Benages, strength coach and PE teacher, describes what the Naperville North PE program looks like,
“We now have 14 sections of our strength and performance class. At times, we have upwards of 60 students in the weight room. But the best part is that every student has a safe environment to focus on being a better version of themselves.”
And when Kevin says every student, he means it. The strength and performance classes comprise a diverse range of students. Everyone from student-athletes to general population students are all in the same class, working out side by side in the weight room.
PLT4M – A Trusted Program For High School Strength and Conditioning
Because Bigger Faster Stronger laid the foundation for high school strength and conditioning, a variety of new companies and programs have come onto the scene over the last 10 years. At Naperville North and over 1,000 schools across the country, high school coaches and teachers are using PLT4M.
PLT4M is a comprehensive system loaded with training programs, curriculum, videos, and technology to track performance gains. With PLT4M, teachers and coaches can deliver a proven performance program directly to a student’s device. With personalized workouts and real-time feedback, PLT4M has continued the initial efforts of Bigger Faster Stronger with a modern and dynamic software and system.
Waylon Schrenk was a long-time Bigger Faster Stronger user at North Posey High School in Indiana. But after taking initial steps to shift from sheets and old-school percentage charts, he saw the immediate benefits for students and coaches,
“Kids like it because it is tech based. Coaches like it because it provides them with the information they need to run workouts comfortably and efficiently.”
A Comprehensive Solution For High School PE and Athletics
Past just being a strength and conditioning app, PLT4M has also changed the game for unifying PE and Athletic departments across the country.
Not all students want to lift heavy weights and do movements like back squat, power clean, and bench press. So PLT4M has built an entire library of curriculum and content that allows all students to pursue fitness.
At Riley County High School in Kansas, Steve Wagner has used PLT4M to introduce every student to weightlifting, but also many other programs,
And because not every student in PE is an athlete, Steve emphasizes the other choices available. While every student is still expected to give the basics of strength and conditioning a try, there are also other options within PLT4M that Steve has now taken advantage of for the first time,
“We never did yoga or dance before PLT4M, and now those are some of our favorites. We even created a space where we have a blow-up projector set up so students can do these different programs. It helps for students to know they don’t have to lift every class.”
Key Takeaways on BFS and PLT4M
Bigger Faster Stronger helped take a critical first step in the world of high school weight rooms. But 45 years later, we must continue the progress and help empower more students and athletes.
As the educational landscape has evolved, so have companies like PLT4M to meet students, teachers, and coaches where they are at. While change certainly doesn’t happen overnight, we hope more schools will adopt and embrace the power of fitness, strength, and conditioning.
Now, though, we are all experiencing an exciting shift in focus. Physical and mental well-being has risen to the level of cultural priority, and a new educational pedagogy has appeared in the form of Long-Term Athletic Development. Call it a rising tide in high school strength and conditioning.
Together, these evolutions have begun to bring Physical Education and Athletics together with a focus on proper education and development of ALL our student-athletes across the board. So, let’s continue our pursuits and continue to evolve!
How do students access workouts with PLT4M?
PLT4M is an exciting way for students to utilize technology in physical education and athletics. Students can access workouts and lesson plans on any digital device (phones, tablets, Chromebooks, etc.). Better yet, with technology integration, students can ditch the sheets and percentage charts and tap into pre-built personalized workouts.
Besides workouts, what else does PLT4M have?
PLT4M has over 3,000 instructional videos reviewing proper form, technique, and safety protocols. In addition, because students are logging workouts through a digital approach, coaches can use robust student and athlete monitoring systems to track progress and gain key insights into training.
Does Bigger Stronger Faster (not Bigger Faster Stronger) have anything to do with high school training?
If you have searched for Bigger Faster Stronger, you likely have stumbled across Bigger Stronger Faster. But Bigger Stronger Faster is actually a film directed by Chris Bell exploring steroid use. The 2008 film looks at the Bell brothers and anabolic steroids while interviewing top experts in drugs, athletics, medicine, and more. So no, but it is a good movie!