The Bigger, Faster, Stronger company has left a big footprint on high school strength and conditioning programs. I first met Dr. Greg Shepard, BFS founder, in 1974 when I was a freshman at Brigham Young University. I met Bob Rowbotham in 1984, when he came to Monument Valley HIgh School to do a clinic for us. We interacted sporadically over the years after that when I would make purchases or stop by the BFS offices from time to time when I was in Utah.
While I never followed the BFS system set for set or rep for rep, I was influenced by their approach in several ways. I liked the simplicity of 2-3 basic lifts per workout, the short cycles with variations of volume/intensity, and the idea of rep records among other things. I never did like the box squat more although I could see the value if taught and implemented correctly. But more often, what I observed were high school athletes, encouraged by their coaches, overloading way beyond what they were really capable of and bouncing off of the box, putting their spine between a rock and a hard place.
Greg was always a salesman-promoter, while Bob impressed me as more of a coach. Sensible, knowledgeable, and willing to talk and learn. He kept himself in great shape and looked like an athlete. It is the end of an era there at BFS although I am sure his son, John will keep the business growing. Best wishes to Bob on his retirement.
October 24, 2018
After four decades of service to helping athletes and coaches achieve their goals, Bob Rowbotham has stepped down as CEO of Bigger Faster Stronger.
Rowbotham joined BFS in the 70s, starting as a clinician and eventually taking over as president and later CEO. In those early years, strength coaching was not considered a profession and Rowbotham’s clinics were primarily directed to football players and throwers in track and field. As coaches and athletes discovered the value of the weight room, BFS’s audience grew to include athletes from all sports, including women.
As the popularity of BFS grew, Rowbotham focused his efforts on working closely with not just coaches and athletic directors, but also physical education teachers and coaches. He also expanded BFS's influence by working with state and national physical education organizations, such as SHAPE America. His goal was to unify both physical education and athletic departments to adhere to the same basic training philosophy to benefit all students. This unified approach to training has proven to be especially valuable in today’s world of ever-tightening school budgets.
Rowbotham’s retirement will be especially restful as his son John will taking over command of this great organization. Having been taught BFS from his father from Day 1 of his athletic career, John made the progression from athlete to BFS clinician to BFS President and now CEO. BFS is in good hands.