Irv Sigler’s Unique Weight Lifting Program

Irv Sigler was the Head Coach at Olivet College from 2002 until 2004.  He took a program that was a perenial loser and won football games.  Not all the games but most of them.  In a time when most colleges and universities were moving to the Spread Offense, Coach Sigler was a power running game guy.  In fact, while he may not know this, he is sort of a cult hero on the internet amongst the Power T Coaches at the Youth and High School levels.

Irv Sigler’s strength program was unique.  It was a circuit as opposed to the conventional BFS type.  Lifters were paired in two’s.  There were about 15 stations around the weight room.

Irv would start a tape with his voice on it. “1st lifter, 1st station, lift for 35 seconds”, the kids would lift as many reps as possible for 35 seconds.  Music would come on for that period and then at the end Irv’s voice would come back on, “you now have 15 seconds to switch lifters”, and then after 15 seconds his voice would say “2nd lifter, 1st station, lift for 35 seconds” and the music would start again.  Then came a command for them to rotate stations.

The kids rotated this same way through the entire work out.  Using the tape allowed Irv and the coaches to walk around the weight room and coach kids on form and effort.  It also kept things moving on time and entertained the kids.

Everything they did was done in 35 second increments, because that is the average length of time between football plays.  They lifted and ran in 35 second increments.  So if they ran ten 40′s, they ran one every 35 seconds.  So from the beginning of the first 40 yard dash to the beginning of the second one, it was 35 seconds.  The clock was always ticking.

As a big fan of structure and planned practices, I am drawn to this idea as a particularly great idea for smaller schools and youth organizations.  Sure it takes a little time to create the original recording for your workout but I can easily see how it would simplify things for a program run by just a few coaches or even just a single coach.  I remember coaching 67 kids one year with only parttime help from a friend of mine at the Frosh HS level.  This would have been a lifesaver during our summer conditioning program.

Most of this article was taken directly from internet posts made by Jay Carrigan who was an Assistant Coach under Sigler at Olivet.

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