BFS Magazine

A Closer Look at the Hex Bar Deadlift

Steve Kinslow October 26, 2020

A Closer Look at the Hex Bar Deadlift

The Hex bar deadlift is a deadlift performed with a hexagonal barbell that allows the lifter to perform exercises from inside the encompassing bar. Handgrips strategically placed on the two ends of the bar enable the weight on the bar to be in perfect alignment with the power line at all times.

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A CLOSER LOOK AT THE POWER CLEAN

Steve Kinslow October 23, 2020

A CLOSER LOOK AT THE POWER CLEAN

Why BFS considers this lift a must for serious athletes

By Kim Goss 

For many years this BFS core exercise has been attacked by those who thought it had little value for an athlete, by those who thought it was dangerous and by those who thought it was too difficult to teach. They were wrong, and the survival of the exercise has benefited those who want to run faster, jump higher and be overall more powerful. 


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A recent survey involving 137 Division I coaches found that 85 percent used Olympic lifting movements such as the power clean to train their athletes. In the NFL, that percentage was 88 percent. High school football programs are also catching on, especially the ones that enjoy a tradition of victory. I know this from my personal experience as a strength coach.

When I was a strength coach for the Air Force Academy, I enlisted the help of the university’s math department to conduct my own experiment to determine which strength training exercises had the highest correlation to the ability to play football. I compiled the results of the top three athletes on the depth chart for each position, and their maxes on our core and auxiliary exercises, for a three-year period. For defensive and offensive linemen, and in fact for almost all positions, the exercise that had the highest correlation to playing ability was the power clean. The reason is simple. Linemen need to be able to express a high level of strength quickly. Because the power clean allows you to accelerate your limbs over a large range of motion, it’s one of the best exercises for improving what sport scientists call the rate of force development. This is in contrast to conventional power lifts such as squats, which for safety reasons require more time to decelerate the weight – in fact, the only time maximum force can be exerted is at the beginning of those exercises. And there is practical evidence in peer-reviewed journals supporting the idea that power cleans are a superior exercise for developing power.

For example, in 2004, researchers at the Department of Health and Exercise Science at the College of New Jersey conducted a 15-week study on weight-lifting exercises involving 20 Division III college players. One group focused on powerlifting exercises such as the squat, while the other group focused on Olympic lifting exercises such as the power clean. Although both groups showed improvements in the vertical jump, a standard test for athletic power, the authors said, “Results suggest that OL can provide a significant advantage over PL in vertical jump performance changes.”

For those athletes seeking to improve muscle mass, the power clean is also an effective exercise. Let me explain. There are essentially two types of fast-twitch muscles fibers that can increase in size: the Type IIa and the more powerful Type IIb. The Type IIb fibers respond better to explosive lifts such as the power clean; and much of the massive development of the traps, lower back and hamstring muscles on Olympic lifters is due to the development of Type IIb fibers. So if you want as much functional muscle mass as possible for sports, you need to perform the power clean.


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But what about the idea that the power clean is dangerous? Again going back to my days at the Air Force Academy, I found that data collected from our athletic trainers showed that the total number of injuries for the first five years I coached there had decreased by 60 percent! I was the person solely responsible for designing the workouts for the football team, and one of the features of my workout programs was extensive use of the power clean. If this lift was so dangerous, how can one account for such results? I have a theory about this – and a story.

I was talking to a friend of mine, a bouncer who also competed internationally in judo, and he said that in a bar fight between a boxer and a martial artist, a boxer would almost always win. The reason, he explained, is that a martial artist could not take a punch, at least not to the extent that a boxer could. In effect, the nature of their sport was such that the boxer learned how to minimize the force of a punch – they had to, as in training they are continually receiving blows to the head. In contrast, martial artists seldom strike each other hard enough in the head to develop this skill. 

Likewise, during a power clean the athlete not only must explosively lift the weight but also must catch it. In effect, doing power cleans teaches the athlete to rapidly control the impact, a.k.a. disrupted forces, that occur during the lift. When you consider the ever increasing numbers of athletes suffering ACL injuries, you can see how valuable it is to be able to handle the dynamic, disrupted forces that occur to the ankle and knee during athletic competition. Further, the faster an athlete can handle these disrupted forces, the quicker they will be able to move on the court or in the field.

Finally, the Olympic lifts are “economical” exercises, meaning that they work many muscle groups simultaneously. To achieve a similar training effect with conventional exercises, an athlete would have to perform a leg press, back extension, calf raise, shoulder shrug, upright row, and biceps curl – and even then they would be neglecting a few muscles. Time is a major limiting factor in many athletic programs, so it’s important to use exercises such as the power clean that give you the most bang for your buck.

Is the power clean difficult to teach? Certainly not, if you have the proper educational materials and coaches who know how to teach it. BFS currently gives more than 400 clinics a year to young athletes, and has been doing so for over 30 years. The power clean is taught in all these clinics, and we often see athletes who have never performed this exercise come away with sound technique that will quickly lead to gains in athletic performance. Further, at our certification clinics, we ensure quality instruction, because coaches must show not only that they can perform the power clean at these clinics but also that they can teach it.

Despite its critics, the power clean has proven to be an exercise that can be safe, easy to teach and is one of the single most important exercises for achieving physical superiority. 

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Fundamental Strength Training - The Bar

Steve Kinslow October 01, 2020

Fundamental Strength Training - The Bar

After 45 years in the business, we know what to look for. We’ll start by helping you identify your specific needs. Then we’ll show you how to decide on a bar that has the proper combination of price, strength and function.

Beware of False Advertising

Tom Lincir, president of Ivanko Barbell Company, warns, “Some manufacturers throw around impressive-sounding measurements of a bar’s strength that are either irrelevant or misleading. Ratings like “1,000-pound test” or “2,000-pound test” may sound impressive because the numbers are big. However, there is no such thing as “1,000-pound test”-it is all a fantasy created in an attempt to satisfy buyers.

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Bringing together the best equipment for schools

Steve Kinslow September 21, 2020

Bringing together the best equipment for schools

BFS proudly offers a wide variety of equipment lines to cover a multitude of requirements from our customers. Among the most common issues are, available space, number of potential users, and of course budget. By offering a varied selection of equipment, racks, benches, cardio, and selector machines your gym or school can get exactly the weight room it needs and can afford. 

Kit Carson Squat Racks

Recently the Kit Carson school district in Colorado built an all new K-12 school and wanted to maximize their budget for the PE and athletics programs. By working closely with BFS they were able to install exactly the equipment they needed on budget. Working in synch with our providers BFS was able to get the Wildcats up and running with a variety of equipment even in this difficult year. Squat Racks and Olympic Benches were the first order of business and then selector machines and cardio equipment rounded out a complete weight room that can double as a community fitness center. 

Kit Carson Selector

To learn how BFS Can bring your weight room solutions to life or equipment and the BFS Total Program call one of our experts in education centered athletic and physical development, - 800-628-9737.

 

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Being your best.

Steve Kinslow September 02, 2020

Being your best.

BFS and the Total Program is based around the the concept of the "11" athlete. We have identified 11 components to being a successful student athlete - on the field of play and in the school and social environment too. To get an overview at the teachers and coaches level of how these factors weave together when building a program follow our free mini course for coaches 11 Steps to a Championship Program

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Training Tools You Need:  The True Squat App

Steve Kinslow August 24, 2020

Training Tools You Need: The True Squat App

With the True Squat, the spotters can focus on their jobs of spotting and offering encouragement without having to assess the depth of each repetition. If the athlete is squatting alone, preferably inside a power rack, they will know whether or not they are performing the lift correctly. Also, this ensures that records made in the squat are accurate – there will not be any questionable “high” lifts passed.

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Get Nutrition Safely!

Steve Kinslow August 18, 2020

Get Nutrition Safely!

One of the greatest marketing ideas in the fitness industry was the invention of the term “energy drink.” The word “energy” sounds much more positive than “sugary sweet,” the primary characteristic of those liquid formulas, which often cost several dollars and often have exactly the same content as soft drinks (with perhaps a bit more caffeine). Let’s take a closer look at the problematic ingredients of most energy drinks, and some healthy alternatives.

 

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Crofton, MD to Kit Carson, CO

Steve Kinslow August 06, 2020

Crofton, MD to Kit Carson, CO

Among the many benefits that BFS receives for our work to bring safe, effective, strength training to young students and athletes across the country is the opportunity to visit so many caring and committed communities. In all regions and states we experience dedicated professionals and involved citizens that are doing all they can to help the young generation grow with self esteem and character through physical development and athletics.

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Power Guides for a powerful program!

Steve Kinslow July 17, 2020

Power Guides for a powerful program!

We do believe that strength training done correctly and in a manner that emphasizes TECHNIQUE over added WEIGHT is critical for athletic development and quality of life. Power Guides are a great starting point for your strength training program.

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The Importance of Certified Nutrition

Steve Kinslow June 26, 2020

The Importance of Certified Nutrition

At BFS the safe and effective development of young students is our primary goal. As these young people mature and gain in strength and confidence through the BFS Total Program we recognize the importance off rest and nutrition to young minds and bodies. BFS is extremely proud to be announce we are working with BuiltByStrength. Built ByStrength is a protein company that has committed to NSF Certified for Sport certificationBuiltByStrength grass-fed whey protein is NSF Certified for Sport and contains only simple, scientifically backed ingredients. READ THE FULL STORY

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The BFS Transformation with Online Certification

Steve Kinslow June 22, 2020

The BFS Transformation with Online Certification

BFS is the training that transforms your Athletics and Physical Education programs. 45 years of working with schools means BFS brings unequalled experience to your staff and students. Coaches know the legendary BFS Total Program has brought championship seasons to thousands of schools and inspired many more. Now physical education departments across the country utilize the BFS Program to improve fitness, strength, and to build confidence in their students. LEARN MORE

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Jersey Shore: From 0-10 to District Champions

Amy Kaufusi June 08, 2020

Jersey Shore: From 0-10 to District Champions

Jersey Shore High is a Class AAA school in North Central Pennsylvania. In 2012 the team was 0-10, and the season could not have been considered a rebuilding year, as the Bulldogs had only won a total of five games in the past five years and had not won a district title since 1997. However, Gravish believed his team had a shot at the district title because his team had many athletes returning from the previous team, possessed a good worth ethic, and were motivated by the fact that no one. except for the Bulldog coaching staff.

Coach Gravish, says that one aspect of the BFS program that he particularly likes is that it instills accountability among the players and helps them set performance goals every time they step foot in the weightroom. Jackson especially likes the BFS focus on striving to set personal records with every workout, as well as the fact that BFS is not a “football specific” workout but one that works for all types of athletes.

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The Bench Press Variation for Success

Steve Kinslow May 12, 2020

The Bench Press Variation for Success

BFS highly recommends Towel Benches for three reasons. First, an athlete gets used to a heavier weight. Normally, ten to twenty more pounds can be used on the Towel Bench. This builds more confidence for new levels on the regular bench. Second, it brings variety into the routine. Variety is important as this helps an athlete overcome plateaus. We guarantee that every athlete will break at least 8 personal records per week, if our BFS Set-Rep System is used. Variety is the main reason we can make that guarantee. Third, and most important, Towel Benches will go a long way in preventing what is call “Bench Press Shoulder”, a mild to severe pain in the shoulder joints. 

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Why We Test

Amy Kaufusi May 08, 2020

Why We Test

A key part of the BFS program is PERFORMANCE TESTING. Performance testing is the link between your training and your athletic performance in competition. Watch the video to learn "Why We Test"

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Why Plant-Based Diets are Not Game Changers

Steve Kinslow April 01, 2020

Why Plant-Based Diets are Not Game Changers

For endurance, offered for your consideration ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek and eight-time national cycling champion Dotsie Bausch; for strength, world-recording breaking strongman Patrik Baboumian and weightlifter Kendrick Farris, a 3x Olympian; for the fighting sports, heavyweight boxer Bryant Jennings and MMA champ Nate Diaz; and for more mainstream sports fans, Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan. Impressive!

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How do I train all these athletes in a single period?

Steve Kinslow March 05, 2020

How do I train all these athletes in a single period?

The BFS Solution

Rather than circuit training, athletes should perform all the sets of a core exercise before moving onto another exercise. This is technically referred to as “station training.” The key to getting athletes through all their exercises efficiently and safely is to develop a rotation system. Let’s go through two examples of athletes performing the squat, one station involving four athletes and another station involving five...

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Whats For Lunch?

Steve Kinslow February 24, 2020

Whats For Lunch?

Practical guidelines on what to eat for peak performance

During the weekday, parents have considerable control over what their kids eat for breakfast and dinner. For lunch, there are three options: eat at school, brown bag it, or – and this is the worst decision – hold out for dinner. Let’s talk about it.

Although tightening school budgets make it a challenge, most schools take considerable effort, and expense, to serve hot meals for lunch. Some schools, however, simply do not have the resources, and compromises must be made.

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CJ Cummings: Making America Strong Again!

Amy Kaufusi February 18, 2020

CJ Cummings: Making America Strong Again!

The United States has not had an Olympic champion in men’s weightlifting since 1960, when Charles Vinci won gold in the 123-pound bodyweight class. In Toyoko, our medal drought may end when Clarence “CJ” Cummings steps on the platform.

Going into the Olympics, CJ Cummings is currently ranked fifth in the world, only 8 pounds off of the #2 ranking. On July 29th, CJ will be showing America’s best at the Tokyo International Forum – be sure to tune in!

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BFS Athletes Need Leg Curls

Steve Kinslow February 18, 2020

BFS Athletes Need Leg Curls

The BFS program emphasizes free weights over machines, but there are some exercises performed with machines that are especially valuable for athletic and physical fitness programs. One such exercise that BFS has been promoting for nearly four decades is the leg curl.

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From Ohio to Arizona:  A BFS Success Story

Steve Kinslow February 10, 2020

From Ohio to Arizona: A BFS Success Story

As the Centennial Coyotes football team celebrated its 5th state championship in November 2015, many people could not remember a time that Centennial was not a football powerhouse. Centennial, led by Coach Richard Taylor, had just competed in its 8th state championship game since 2005. However, this run of success seemed like a dream in the early years of the program. 

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The BFS Championship Difference: Clinics, Seminars and Certifications

Amy Kaufusi February 05, 2020

The BFS Championship Difference: Clinics, Seminars and Certifications

Many coaches and athletes know BFS because of our highest quality strength and conditioning equipment, and having the right tools to prepare athletes for competition is an essential aspect of athletic fitness. However, the heart of BFS is our clinics, seminars, and certifications, because having the right tools for a job is worthless if you don’t know how to use them.

Since our company was founded in 1976, BFS has been teaching BFS clinics to help athletes learn how to train effectively and efficiently.

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Bench Press Breakthrough!

Steve Kinslow January 15, 2020

Bench Press Breakthrough!

The bench press is a BFS core lift that is unparalleled for developing strength in the triceps, chest, and shoulders. It has become such an important part of any athlete’s training that the most common question asked to those who lift weights is, “How much can you bench?” The right tools can accelerate your gains on this valuable lift!

Lifting Bands provide the most resistance at the end range of the lift, such that the athlete can apply more force during this portion of the lift. 

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Don’t Skip Lunges!

Steve Kinslow January 09, 2020

Don’t Skip Lunges!

We begin junior high and high school athletes with lunges without any weight. We want to get the correct movement down. As in all lifts, the technique is vitally important with lunges. Start with a narrow stance and step out – the challenge is to see if the athlete can come back to the starting position smoothly without any false steps.

Power balance is important in football, basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, and the following events in track: hurdles, high jump, long jump, pole vault, discus, shot put, javelin, and the hammer throw. Whenever an athlete needs to change direction explosively and transfer quickly from one leg to the other, power balance is required. Lunges are fantastic for that purpose.

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What’s for Breakfast?

Steve Kinslow January 06, 2020

What’s for Breakfast?

It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but why? Dinner is usually the largest and most complete meal of the day, so certainly a case can be made for it being #1. Let’s see what the research says, and along the way, take a closer look at what athletes should eat, and not eat, on the first meal of the day.

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