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Friday, June 12, 2015

Bigger Faster Stronger




This article appeared recently in the Salt Lake Tribune, a Utah newspaper. Like many iconic things, BFS is known for good and bad among strength and conditioning professionals.
There are those that say the program is too simplistic. Personally I think the simplicity is genius. I believe that many make things much more complicated than needs be. BFS focuses on basic multi-joint movements that are the foundation of true strength. The set/rep scheme follows sounds periodization principals as I understand them. There is a sound variation of volume and intensity over time. Most of my programs follow a similar scheme, if not identical.
There are those who are critical of the lifts that are used. Some things like towel bench press and box squat have become much more popular since BFS first began teaching them in the 70's. Of course Greg Shepard readily admits that he learned them at the original Westside Gym in California and used them with athletes long before most anybody else did. I personally think those lifts can be done safely, but I also see that most who do them do not do them correctly. I see too many who overload the box squat way beyond what they can do a full squat with and them try to bounce up. That is only a recipe for disc problems. But that is not what BFS teaches. If done precisely as taught, under control and keeping the weight in proportion to the full squat, it can be a great lift. The problem is the high school (or other) coach who doesn't get it and functions as a cheerleader who is always yelling for more and more weight with no regards for body positions. The same for the towel bench. Do I follow the BFS program with my athletes. No, not exactly, but my programs follow the same basic principles and I have no problems recommending BFS to new coaches. Personally I don't use the box squat or the towel bench for the reasons stated. I have too many kids to keep them all honest. I use front squats and incline presses a lot.
There are some that don't think there equipment is high quality. My experience is that it is worth the price. Some of their racks and benches are not heavy duty enough or lack some adjustments that would make them fit for a real heavy duty, high use facility. But the prices are generally lower and the stuff is adequate for most high schools. I found their Glute-Ham units do not have firm enough padding to allow a heavy person and/or heavy weights to be used without "bottoming out" and making it very painful. On the other hand, I love their 5 and 10 lb. full size training plates. I have had about 6 pairs in my weight room for the past 20+ years and they are still good as new. They are very useful for beginners and especially females who are smaller. They are used pretty much all day, everyday. BFS has always been very fair with me on pricing and delivery and very accessible. Greg Shepard, as an individual has been very helpful and supportive over the years in many ways. I wish BFS continued success.


When Bigger Faster Stronger (BFS) first opened its doors nearly 40 years ago, the company couldn't have foreseen the impact it would have in the fitness world.

The company's signature, Utah-built equipment lines studios and gyms across the world, through fitness trends and bodybuilding mainstays for decades.

Its training methods — led by founder Dr. Greg Shepard, whose career spans decades training the world's top collegiate and professional athletes — also had a significant impact. Dr. Shepard, who was the NBA's first strength training coach during his tenure with the Utah Jazz from 1981-1997, has trained hundreds of others to help athletes around the world reach their maximum potential. More high school champions have been trained using BFS methods than anything else.

The fitness world is fundamentally different after BFS opened in 1976, but perhaps the biggest impact the locally owned company had is the one at home.

"We're proud of where we are, and the people we employ at our Salt Lake City facility," said BFS President John Rowbotham. "And we're proud to sell world-class equipment to our neighbors because we stand behind what we make."

Although BFS has been a mainstay for high school gyms, professional studios and weight rooms for years, the company also sells strength and conditioning equipment direct to consumers who are looking for world-class products at reasonable prices.

BFS is holding its first ever "virtual tent sale" on marked-down items from its extensive catalog of strength and conditioning equipment. The sale, which is available only at BiggerFasterStronger.com, includes equipment marked down nearly 50 percent for beginners to advanced users, at a range of prices for any budget and won't last long. The items, produced for new lines and development purposes, is one-of-a-kind and once it's sold, won't be available anywhere else.

The Salt Lake-based company, created by Dr. Shepard shortly after helping Brigham Young University's powerlifting team to the national championship in 1973, has dedicated itself to creating smarter, better athletes everywhere.

"We've worked with athletes around the world to help them in world-class performance, but we're also keen to help people who just want to maximize themselves. BFS helps create better, healthier lives through targeted, smart training," President John Rowbotham said.

BFS manufactures world-class equipment at its Salt Lake City headquarters and sells it worldwide. Hundreds of products are available from the company through its website, http://www.BiggerFasterStronger.com . Although many of its customers are businesses, apartment managers, high schools, CrossFit "boxes" and professional gyms, the company is happy to sell directly from its warehouse doors in Salt Lake City.

In addition to its products BFS is also hosting a free event for the community, hosted by Dr. Alina Fong, who is the Director of Concussion Treatment at CognitiveFX, to help people and parents understand the risks of concussions in youth sports.

"On top of better athletes, we want to make smarter athletes. We're holding this event to raise awareness among coaches, parents and students about concussions and brain trauma. We live in this community and we care about our athletes," Bigger Faster Stronger CEO Bob Rowbotham said.

The free seminar will be held at 9 a.m. to noon, June 13 at Mountain View High School, 665 W. Center St., in Orem.

With 40 years in the industry, the team at Bigger Faster Stronger promise to continue working hard to build better athletes and stronger ties with the community.


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