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By Jeff Wood, Head Football Coach, Bedford High School (MI)

In this report, Coach Jeff Wood and Coach Don Stewart outline how they used competition in the weight room to build support for a “doom and gloom” football program. The results are stunning. Read the report...


By Jeff Wood
Head Football Coach
Bedford High School (MI)


Don Stewart
Strength Coordinator
Bedford High School (MI)



Editor’s Note: X&O Labs is continuing its study into how coaches are advancing their programs to achieve higher levels of success in an ever-changing culture, society and world. We’re calling our study The 21-Hour Football Program because these concepts focus on the 21 hours before and after practice that build a winning culture. In this report, Coach Jeff Wood and Coach Don Stewart outline how they used competition in the weight room to build support for a “doom and gloom” football program. The results are stunning. To access our brand-new study, The 21-Hour Football Program, please go here.


In 2008, the Bedford Kicking Mules football program began a weightlifting program that included all sports in the building. We took over a football program that had dilapidated facilities, no money to fund it and an overall “gloom and doom” attitude towards football with only 9 winning seasons in 58 years. We stressed quick, 45 minutes lifting sessions with base core lifts and auxiliaries to enhance the muscle groupings. Our players observed results immediately.

In 2010, we began looking in to ways to take the gains that we were seeing in the weight room and enhance them through team building. We spent particular time studying ways to create methods of competition in the weight room as a means to foster this team building. Our future Senior players mentor our future Juniors and Sophomores while improving their bodies for the upcoming season.

The bond that was built during these workouts and competitions has been immeasurable in how it has impacted our program. We have had 9 winning seasons in the past 10 years, won the conference 3 times and won 3 district championships. We believe very strongly that the key to this change has come from how we coach in the offseason in our weight room. Furthermore, the competitive nature of our weight room created a “refuse to lose” attitude on the football field. We have won over 3 close games (10 or less points) each year since putting this system into place.

Lifting System Basics

We lift 4 days a week, Monday to Thursday for 1 hour. We have lifting times at 5:30am-7am before school and 2:40 – 4pm after. Players must lift 4 times per week, it is their choice of when. We have found that lifting 3 days a week for 90 to 120 minutes did not make the gains necessary to compete. The 4-day system has worked much better for our athletes and it also doesn’t require nearly as much attention span to lift for 60 minutes. We also found that lifting on Friday was a terrible idea.   It seemed that all “non-players” found an excuse to miss on Friday. Instead, we changed and held them accountable for missing workouts, which is where Competitive Weight Room entered the scene. 

We have 7 core lifts that surround our workout plans. Squat, front squat, dead lift, and cleans are lower body core lifts, where bench, incline and shoulder press is our upper body routine. We add the auxiliary and pulling exercises for the glute, hamstrings and calf muscles for lower body and exercise heavy back, core, triceps and bicep muscles for the upper. While you can utilize whatever plan in the weight room, these specific lifts are the foundation for how we count the points for the competitive structure. 

Get instant access to the full-length version of this report and The 21-Hour Football Program Study!

Join X&O Labs’ Insiders, an exclusive membership-based website, and you’ll get instant access to the full-length version of this report—including access to The 21-Hour Football Program. Plus, you’ll receive up to 4 FREE books mailed directly to your home or office. Here’s just a small sample of what you’ll find in the full-length version of this report:

  • The draft process Coach Wood uses to elect competitive teams for his off-season weight room program.
  • How the following dynamics tie into daily off-season competition: attendance, lifts, speed, academics, special points and character negatives.
  • A breakdown of the four sessions that Coach Wood uses to incorporate into his strength and conditioning program including: education, mass, agility and conditioning.
  • A downloadable template of the competitive scoring sheet Coach Wood and his staff uses to track advancements.
  • How Coach Wood rewards the winners in this program at the end of each season.

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The addition of variety to our off-season workplace created a competitive nature in our players. At the end of the day, we are all brothers in our football family. This program has created passion and attention to detail to which we have never had before in our program. The development of player relationships created the bonds we needed to face adversity on Friday nights. This competitive program gave our players the boost they needed to continue to build on our football tradition at Bedford. 

Meet Coach Wood: Jeff Wood has been the Head Football Coach at Bedford High School for the past 10 years. Jeff took over an unsuccessful program in 2008, where the school only saw 9 winning seasons in 60 years. Since 2008, the Kicking Mules have won the SEC conference 3 times and won 3 District Championships. Because of the player’s belief in the Mule’s systems in and out of football season, they have earned a 71-33 record in those 10 years. 



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