When I write a training plan for a client, I usually start with a template.
In this series, I’m going to share the templates I use most often for different avatars. Today, I’m going to talk about “Bigger, Faster, Stronger” – a timeless template for training athletes.
BiggerFasterStronger (BFS) has been around longer than the modern internet–it’s been in use for 45 years. NFL strength coaches use it, and it’s the most popular template for training athletes in most NCAA schools. Primarily used for football and basketball, I’ve found it very effective for both hockey and soccer.
What makes it a good template?
BFS focuses on maximal results in minimal time. The program gives priority to the big lifts – squat, bench press, hex bar deadlift and power clean.
Athletes perform each lift (and a couple of variations, like towel presses and box squats) each week on a 4-week cycle. Rep ranges begin at 3×3 for each lift on Week 1, and then switch to 5×5 on Week 2; maxing out at 5-4-3-2-1 on Week 3; and then hitting higher reps (10-8-6) on Week 4. It’s a microcycle so simple that it’s close to a conjugate system.
After the big lifts, coaches can add a couple of assistance exercises (but usually only one or two). Non-lifting days focus on agility and plyometrics.
You can download the entire template here: http://assets.ngin.com/attachments/document/0111/2312/BFS_Manual.pdf
And you can read all about implementation at www.biggerfasterstronger.com . (Be patient with the old website).
You can also get the book, “Bigger Faster Stronger” here.
I love using BFS when I’m training athletes who aren’t very familiar with strength training, because the template allows them to perform a lot of repetition with the basics, and still make a lot of progress fast. There’s enough novelty to keep young athletes interested, but enough repetition to help them build good technique when coached. And as I learned from Jeff and Mikki Martin at Brand X Method, young athletes improve their strength through neuromuscular connection before they increase mass. So it’s very common to see newer athletes make quick gains through BFS, just by repeating basic exercises over and over.
You can tailor BFS to your athletes or to your equipment (you might not have a hex deadlift bar, for instance). I recommend sticking to the basic lifting template, but altering your agility and plyo drills to mimic sporting movements, or performing conditioning workouts on those days.
If you’re looking to build a program for athletic development, BFS is a solid foundation.