Viewpoint: Park has history of strong student-athlete trainingWe focused on teaching and working hard on the basic principles and fundamentals of strength training.
By: Doug Ekmark, South Washington County Bulletin
I read last week’s article about the new strength and conditioning program at Park High School (“Raising the bar,” Aug. 1 sports section) and applaud the fact that the school now has a full-time strength and conditioning coach. He seems to bring energy and is doing good things.
I am compelled, however, to speak up for the coaches who volunteered their time and the hard work of the athletes who benefited from it for the 26 years that I was involved. We used the Bigger Stronger Faster program. BSF is a nationally known program that is used in thousands of high schools across America. I work for BSF and have done hundreds of clinics in over 40 states. The program was designed for the high school setting but has been used by many colleges and professional teams as well. We actively trained the Utah Jazz for 16 years. We believe it is the best way to implement a strength and conditioning program in the typical high school where you are sharing athletes. The program is designed for the multiple-sport athlete and the origin is from the track and field world.
The objective is to develop functional speed and strength that will transfer to sport. The emphasis is on measurable progress. We wanted our athletes to understand that there is a difference between activity and accomplishment. We used the weight room to build strength and the track, athletic fields and gym to condition. There are 75 records that were kept. These records included our various set and repetition records on all of our core lifts and auxiliary lifts as well as running, jumping and flexibility exercises. The goal was to break eight or more a week. The only way to develop self-confidence is to see measureable progress.
We trained five days a week and every day is different. We did agility and flexibility daily. Monday, Wednesday and Friday were lifting days and all three days were different, in that we did core lifts and auxiliary lifts each day. On Tuesday and Thursday we did sprint learning, spring circuit, the BFS speed endurance workout and our plyometric box-jumping routine. Our set and repetition routines were cycled on a four-week basis for our core lifts and we used the straight set system on our auxiliary exercises. The lifting part of the program is centered around six core lifts (fundamental exercises) that develop the total body — the two most important being the parallel squat to develop strength and flexibility in the hamstrings to run faster (not to see how much weigh we could lift) and the power clean to jump higher.
You can see that the program is much different than it was portrayed in the article. The article included the following quote: “The days of throwing as much weight on a bar and lifting it once or twice is done.” That is not how we trained at Park and is certainly not part of the BSF program. As far as the article’s “old school” comment: yes, we focused on teaching and working hard on the basic principles and fundamentals of strength training.
BFS has served thousands of athletes and coaches for the past 30 years. It is much more than a lifting program. BFS is an attitude of trying to be the best that you can be in all areas of your life. We worked hard at developing character curriculum into the program as well. BSF is alive and well. In last year’s Prep Bowl the 5A, 4A and 3A champions and the 3A runner-up were all schools that we have done BSF clinics for and use the program, as have many schools in the past and present.
Ekmark is a Park High School teacher and the former Park football coach