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Capital City High School
By Lon Carter, teacher/coach Capital High School
Published: Spring 1997

In 1981 the physical education teachers at Capital City High School in Helena, Montana realized that other schools in their conference were passing them by in fundamental strength skills.  We knew that we had to come up with a new plan to try to help our athletes be as successful as we knew they were capable of being.  Desire to work at athletic skill was not enough, so we started on the quest of building a weight room.  We began with one universal weight apparatus and one set of free weights, offering open lifting to athletes after school all year.

Even with this meager beginning we were relatively successful in helping various programs, especially the football program, but we never truly had a comprehensive lifting program for the entire student athletic community.  We had been looking for ways to improve the general strength and athletic ability of each and every one of our students in hopes that they would want to continue in extra-curricular activities that the school offered.

As the years went by, the football program maintained its level of excellence, while other athletic teams would show improvement.  But ultimately these students' abilities would digress due to inconsistent training which would lead to a lack of basic strength and endurance in the athletic skills.  The physical education staff in 1991 decided that we were going to try to do everything possible to implement a total lifting, physical enhancement and conditioning program.

The Helena School District responded by implementing enhancement classes during the regular school day as elective classes for junior and senior students.  These three classes became so popular that we presently have eight periods of physical enhancement offered every school day, the earliest of which starts at 7:20 a.m.  This class is now offered to sophomores, juniors and seniors as an elective with each class holding the maximum of 30 students.

To implement this program, the first thing we instituted were the Core lifts from Bigger Faster Stronger.  As the program grew, we implemented the BFS Dot Program, the BFS Plyometric Program, and the BFS Speed Program.  The BFS Flexibility Program has always been an integral part of the entire workout.  The program started relatively slowly, until the young women became involved.  Since these women have begun working in the program, it has since simply taken off.  We believe that the competitiveness and intesity that these young women have brought to the program has positively impacted the entire student body as well as the student athletes.

The improvement of our student athletes is remarkable.  We established ten body weight categories for both men and women.  The weight categories are divided into ten pound increments, such as 100-110, 111-120, 121-130, etc., up to 200 pounds.  To own the record in one of the five lifts, (Bench, Dead Lift, Cleans, Squats and Total Lifts) the student has to weigh within one of these weight categories.   We have found that the general student population is becoming more involved in all extra-curricular activities than ever before.

The only program that we had been moderately successful in for women athletes was the cross country program.  Since 1993 our women's programs in cross country, track and soccer have improved dramatically, with the women's soccer program finishing second in the state the last two years and the women's track program winning the state title in the spring of 1996.  The women's track program took 30 women to the state track meet and 24 of them will be coming back the fall of 1997 to compete once again for another state title.  Of the six seniors that were on the team, all of them are going on to college, and five of the six will compete in college track and field programs.

These examples represent every woman track athlete involved in this program.  Every returning member of the women's track program are in my summer conditioning  and lifting program and have signed up for the school year's phycial enhancement classes.  We know that BFS has given us a direction and focus on what we need to accomplish with each of our individual athletes.  Without BFS and their commitment to teaching high school teachers and coaches the values of this program, our student athletes would not have enjoyed the success that they now have.


Lon Carter has taught physical education and coached for 31 years, five of which were in the state of Wyoming.  The remainder have been at Capital High School in Helena, Montana.  He has been a head basketball coach, coached football and track.  He has a Bachelor of Science degree from Eastern Montana College (1964) and a Masters of Education from University of Wyoming (1967).  He has been teaching at Capital High School since its conception in 1970 and is responsible for instituting the BFS weight program currently being used at Capital High School.

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