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Bruce Shearer takes the BFS Set-Rep System to a New Level.
By Dr. Greg Shepard
Published: Summer 2001

Recently I did a BFS Clinic for Coach Bruce Shearer of Burlington-Edison High School in the state of Washington. Coach Shearer has hosted a number of BFS Clinics at several different high schools throughout his coaching career. He said, “Is that all you can break? Only eight records per week?” You see, Coach Shearer uses the BFS Set-Rep Record Card in a new way. His athletes are breaking over 10 records every workout day. So instead of our guarantee of breaking at least 8 records per week all year long, Coach Shearer’s athletes are breaking about 40 records every week. Needless to say, his athletes are on fire and getting strong and explosive very quickly. Here is how it works:

Figure #1: This shows a 3X3 workout of a core lift from the month before on March 5, 2001. BFS has six core lifts. This could be any of our six core lifts.

Figure #2: This shows the Rep Records of this core lift.

Figure #3: This illustrates the current 3X3 workout done on April 3, 2001.
What happened? BFS would ask, “Did you break your total record?” In this case, the answer is “yes” by 20 pounds. This athlete increased from a total of 755 pounds to 775 pounds (see Figures #1 & #3). The next question, “Did you break any rep records?” The answer is again “yes,” as this athlete did at least three reps at 265 pounds. His previous three-rep record was 260 pounds (see Figure #2). Remember, on the last set, BFS allows the athlete to do three or more reps. Therefore, BFS would say this athlete broke at least two personal records: his total record and at least one rep record. If this athlete were to average breaking two records per core lift, this would mean breaking a total of 12 personal records that week. This does not count auxiliary records or performance records (Dot Drill, VJ, SLJ, Sit & Reach, 40 & 20-yard sprints).

Coach Shearer wants his athletes to compete and win with every set and every rep. Look at Figure #1 and the first set. The athlete did 240 pounds. Coach Shearer challenges the athlete to do more than 240 pounds. Now look at Figure #3. The athlete did 250 pounds on his first set. Therefore, Coach Shearer considers this to be a new personal record! This same athlete also did more on his second set than the previous month and also on his third set. With the Shearer system, how many records were broken? The answer is at least five new personal records on just one lift. This athlete broke his record for his first, second and third set. In addition, he broke his 3X3 Total Record and, at least, his three-rep record. Multiply this times the six core lifts and you are on pace to break at least 30 records in just one week. Wow!

Consider the alternative of a standard periodization model. Athletes must wait 8-16 weeks for concrete proof that they are getting better. With BFS, every day you get better. Imagine the positive synergy created for winning in every sport and beyond.


Coach Shearer teaches weight training all day long in addition to being the head football coach at Burlington-Edison High School. He has developed a grading system which should be useful to anyone using the BFS System. I like the total objectivity of Coach Shearer’s system. If a student or parent has a complaint about the grade, it is all laid out in black and white. Any student can get an “A” grade by always being in class and filling out his Record Card. It is that simple. If classes are missed and the work is not done, you receive what you earned. It’s great.

Coach Shearer, in his course description, teaches proper lifting technique, including the Olympic lifts. He teaches proper spotting and safety in the weight room. Plyometrics, running and cardiovascular activities are utilized. Activities are geared to improve strength, fitness, speed, agility and flexibility by using the Bigger Faster Stronger program.

Rules include no food, gum, drink, and electronic devices. Students are expected to wear shoes that are laced and tied, along with shorts and a T-shirt. They can wear sweats or warm-ups in bad weather and the school dress code applies for all appropriate clothing.

If you do not suit up for class, it is costly. You get one “freebie.” However, two non-suits will drop you one full grade. Three misses is a drop of two grades; four misses = three grades and five misses is an automatic fail. Absences or injuries are handled in the following manner: excused absences can be made up, while unexcused absences cannot. A note from a parent/guardian or doctor must be delivered to be excused.

475 points - Are awarded for completely filling out the BFS form, which reflects all the work done in class by the student. There are about 2 points awarded for each entry on the Record Cards.
275 points - Are awarded for attendance. There are 5 points awarded each day. Daily attendance is based on presence, participation, dress, citizenship, and safety.
15 points - Are awarded for returning the signed slip. Both parent/ guardian and student sign a form that they understand the grading system.

475 + 275 + 15 points = 700 total possible points

Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Coach Shepard and Coach Shearer
Burlington-Edison student exploding up
Grading Scale

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