Return to the Iron Dungeon

Iron Dungeon - Weight Training / Bodybuilding

Ed Coan's Bench Press Routine

Posted to misc.fitness by Chuck Grissom

By request, here's a repost of an excerpt from an article in Powerlifting USA reviewing Ed Coan's Bench Press Video. The writer describes Ed's periodized training scheme and gives a detailed example. If you want to try the bench cycle for yourself, just scale the prescribed weights according to your current max. The lifter in the example has a 1 rep max of 270 pounds, and wants to improve to 300.

"...The point is: most writers deal in abstract thinking, reflected knowledge, not direct knowledge. Most depend on reading, studying, researching to develop their concepts. Most have never squatted 600, much less a 1000. This is not to say that their viewpoints or theories are worthless. On the contrary, truth is truth and no one has the market cornered when it comes to the truth. And a great powerlifter is not necessarily a great trainer. There is an old football adage: a great player does not necessarily make a great coach. On the other hand, let's not ignore the training and philosophy that has produced the great champions in favor of the clever writers who dazzle us with catchy phrases and reflected knowledge.

Training the Bench: Ed's approach to upper body strength looks like this:

  • Wednesday: bench press, after warmup, 2 work sets. Narrow grip, no warmup, 2 work sets (60 pounds less). Incline, no warmup, 2 work sets (50 pounds less). Points to ponder: In so far as poundage: if Coan performs 2x5 with 500 in the conventional bench press, he would then perform 2x5x440 with 440 in the narrow grip bench press and finish with 2x5x410 in the 45 degree incline bench pres. He feels that his competition style benches serve as sufficient warmup for his narrow grips which in turn allow him to incline without any warmup. All told, Coan performs a total of 6 work sets. Not very many when you think about it.
  • Thursday: Press-behind-the-neck, after warmup, 2 work sets. Front lateral raise, after warmup, 2 work sets 10-12 reps. Side lateral raise, 2 sets 10-12 reps. Bent over lateral raise, 2 sets 10-12 reps. Points to ponder: Coan is a big believer in heavy, specific shoulder training. So much that he trains them on a separate day from his bench...
  • Saturday: Light bench, no warmup, 2 sets 8-10 reps. Light dumbbell flyes, no warmup, 2 sets 8-10 reps. Tricep pushdowns, 3 sets 8-10 reps, Dips 1 set 8-10 reps, Preacher curls 2 sets 10-12 reps. Points to ponder: This is a lightweight, muscle flushing, chest workout. Ed does a couple of quick sets with a weight about 60 percent of his max (340x10) with his feet on a bench. A few sets of light flyes and he is ready for triceps....

Ed cycles on all his exercises. Cycling, by definition [well, not quite. CRG], is concentrating on different repetition ranges at different times over the course of the training cycle... Here are his cycling repetition guidelines: Week 1-2 - 10 rep sets, Week 3-4 - 8 rep sets, Week 5-8 - 5 rep sets, Week 9-10 - 3 rep sets, Week 11-12 - 2 rep sets, Week 13 - 1 rep set, Week 14 - 1 rep set.

Remember those two work sets Ed does on all his major exercises? This is the weekly rep strategy for those work sets. This is called cycling and is designed to peak strength. Each week he adds 15 pounds to the previous week's work set weight. 15 pounds represents a paltry 2.5 percent of his max bench. Small jumps, done consistently and spread over a long 14 week cycle, adds up to big increases. Small weight jumps coax strength and power gains from the body. Week after week, the body is acclimated to slightly heavier loads. Exercise technique is simultaneously refined. Everything is done to develop momentum. This is a classic and timeless strength strategy. Compared to the army of arm- chair muscle gurus, Coan's conservation and impeccable pedigree stands out like a bright moon on a pitch black night. While not as trendy-sexy as newer models, this is the most effective system of strength building ever devised. Period."

"Ed Coan designs a cycle for you: We asked Coan to apply his cycle logic to a hypothetical 270 pound bencher who wanted to break the 300 pound barrier: "We can do it, but it'll take a thirteen week commitment from the lifter." Here's the breakdown:"

WeekWeight, Sets & Reps
Week 1190x2x10
Week 2190x2x10
Week 3200x2x8
Week 4210x2x8
Week 5220x2x5
Week 6230x2x5
Week 7240x2x5
Week 8250x2x3
Week 9260x2x3
Week 10270x2x2
Week 11190x2x10
Week 12300x1

 


Reader's Comments:

Please leave your comments or suggestions below!
2013-04-05jim
 vlad could u pls email me the routine i am at 275 bench now and want to quickly get to 315. thanks
2012-12-20Vlad Chiyluk
 i have a program thatll increase 50 lbs in 3 weeks i email it if anyones intersted i email it ti them. ps: it can be done for begginers but it is mostly for intermediate or advanced lifters
2011-11-30Joe
 I bench 225 Max right now and im 15 And weigh 180 Could you Email me a Guide on how to increase it faster?
2011-02-23Jordan
 I am 30 years old and just hit my all-time one rep max of 495 raw. I weigh 310 and stand 6'3" so my arms are pretty long. The key is to use proper technique and train the support muscles. A big key to a "big" bench is training the back and your core to strengthen them. Also, make sure you train your upper and lower chest by incline/decline bench...Good luck to all
2010-12-10James
 Im 15 and i one rep max 285 and weigh 195 im trying to get to 315 in a couple of months. So what kinds of lifts can i do to get there?
2010-12-08nate swett
 low reps 3 to 6 range use spotter for a couple forced 5 sets
2010-06-06Josh
 I've been reading all of these and a lot of people here have crazy bench presses! I've been lifting steady for about 9 months, lost 73 pounds, and I'm trying hard to get to a 200 bench.. (I know, noob compared to all you 600 pd benchers out there... ha ha..)
Right now I can bench 160 x 1.. and I want to get up to 200 by end of summer (3 months..40 pounds..can be done?)

I need help!
2010-06-03Anthony
 I maxed out today on 275 but im trying to get get up to 315 in 340 before my graduation which is next year im a foot ball caption in a line man i think i could be way stronger what can i do to increase to that amount of weight
2010-04-08GURPREET
 im 5'9 - i bench press 225 for 8 repps .. my maxx is 275 x2 reps .. im 19 years old .. im trying hit 315 for 5 :)
2010-03-08LMAO
 I'm astounded by people who can apparently bench 550lbs raw not knowing what works for them - I call bull!

And I really hope the 13year old is a joke - you need mama's home cooking and shed loads of milk at that age bro - not rip of suppliments for idiots!
2010-01-30javarre melvis
 I'm 13 years old 5'7 142lbs.
bench: 235
squat: 325
deadlift: 395
powerclean:220
curls: 55 (each arm)
supps: anabolic halo, ON gold standard whey, bsn syntha-6, animal pak
future?: NFL's all time leading rusher...yea
2010-01-21walker
 im 20yrs old and have a 550 raw bench and would like to improve it to 600 by the next few months any suggestions?
2009-12-06pat
 im really confused about what to do on a heavy bench day, right now what i do is i work up to my 1 rep max , then i cut back to 80% - 90% of my 1 rep max and i perform 3 sets of 3 reps then i move on to rack lockouts and perform 3 sets with my 1 rep max bench press, i then move on to floor presses and perform 3 sets of 3 reps with 80% of my 1 rep max bench press......(how many weeks should i wait to try a pb?, and is my training routine even good? lol
2009-10-15Lane
 Hi, I'm 5.11" and weigh 165lbs. Max bench is 200lbs and was wondering if there is a plan you could reccomend for me to hit 235lbs by 2010?
2009-06-21Brad
 im 5 foot 8 and weigh 260 and my bench is 185 and ive been benching for 2 weeks straight to try and get my bench press up is that bad if i continue doing that and these and i do 5 sets 115 5 times 135 5 times 150 5 times 155 3 times and then 160 3 times is this gonna get me a noticeable change please email me back on your advice
2009-02-08Vinnie
 An ex-teacher of mine turned me onto this program about 5 years ago. This program is TIMELESS! It's the only program I've ever used that I can honestly say has produced results every single cycle. Do with that information what you will.
 Great to hear Vinnie!
2009-01-25aj
 i am 16 years old 5'8"and 150 so i am not big kid but my numbers are pretty good

bench: 265
squat:335
curl:60 each arm
40:4.93
2009-01-19torry
 im 14 years old in the 8th grade and max out at 185 i need a routine to help me bench 250 easily by the middle of my 9th grade year and i need help with my speed so i need so calf exercises please help and e-mail back thank- u
2008-11-11jauquan
 Hey my name is jauquan I am a senior at northside highschool in jacksonville , nc and I way about 160 1b and my bench max is 315 I want to know ..how to get rid of the doubt that I can bench more
2008-10-28luther
 im 16 yrs old weight is 300 but i only bench 150. how can i get my bench up 325 in 4 months. is it possible?
2008-08-29JONNIE PHRIETEAN
 I am 185lb benching 135lb with 10 reps 10 sets! Please tell me a better way of lifting. I read the article but would like to ignore it's information in hopes you'd post a routine specifically for me. I mean... you did it for these guys right?

Oh wait, you didn't. They just failed to read.
 Thanks for the laugh :)
2008-08-25shshshsh
 I have plateaued at 450lb. bench Im 34 yrs old am I too old to reach the 500lb. mark?

No.
2008-08-19ronniie snowton
 I need a bench rountine to increase my bench by 50 lbs over the next 10 weeks. Currently benching 420.
2008-05-22Mupper Head
 Hi, recently found that smoking crack cocaine improves my traing performance..

It helps focus my mind and chill me out..

I have some tokes before I get in my car and drive to gym..
then I sit in the carpark and smoke some more

then I go and lift, whilst off my tits

one time, I'd been up all night at a rave, and I drove to the gym to do my workout..

I had a good session, but when I came round I realsied I'd accidently walked into a furnature store, and had been moving all the tables around, the old man there had called the police!

I thought I was at the f**king gym! ha..
Rich O
London
England
 
2008-05-10travis
 I am a small bencher ( 123 pound class) I have benched 120 pounds and would like to go heavier.Any suggestion on training or the type of cycle I shouls use.

Travis Lilly
2008-03-25Raymond Ashton
 I 've reached 300lb max bench and now i want to increase my bench to 340lb can you give me some pointers on getting past the 300lb mark.
2008-03-25Raymond Ashton
 I 've reached 300lb max bench and now i want to increase my bench to 340lb can you give me some pointers on getting past the 300lb mark.
2008-03-13dbcooper
 I am 37 years old and am stuck at 585 lb. raw bench. Any suggestions as to how I could get to 625 lbs.
2008-03-11John Merry
 Our football team is holding 225 and 185 lbs. maximum rep testing. Any ideas on an 8 week program for someone who can do 3 sets of 6 reps with 225 already...but would like to increase maximum reps.
2007-09-30DINAMO.APPIN
 HI ED COAN,IM HAPPY TO TALK TO YOU,AND ONE SOMETHING I HAVE TO ASK YOU,PLS I LIVE IN NAURU AND IM 25 YRS,PLS ED COAN CAN YOU SHOW ME YOUR BEST BENCH PRESS PROGRAME,BECAUSE I WANT TO WIN THIS COMING COMPETITION HERE IN OUR ISLAND PLS I SEEK FOR YOUR EXPERIENCE,PLS RESPOND FOR MY REQUEST BECAUSE IM THE LOWEST POSITION IN OUR CLASS(75KG).
2007-09-01niles
 this workout takes way to long and only gives you a jump of 30 pounds. do my workout and you'll jump 15 pounds in 3 weeks.
take your current maximum on the bench (times) 90% and once a week perform (8 sets) of (1) repetition - Mondays.
Thursdays do 50% of your 1 rep maximum for 8 sets of 3 repetitions. also work your triceps 8 sets of skull crushers = moderate weight with superstrict form and only 15 seconds of rest between sets.
for a full copy of my workout and some of my secrets email me at.
iliftw8s@hotmail.com

doing this workout i jumped 70 lbs in just a few months!
2007-07-22 
 Alright heres how it goes. I'm 6ft tall and I weigh anywhere from 190 to 195. I maxed out on bench back in May at 235 but now I'm right around the 250-255 mark. My goal is to reach a 275 max by the time high school starts again in August. However lately I've had trouble making big gains. I was hopeing that you could give me a routine that could get me there and possibly farther..thanks
2007-07-02Wes
 Did ANY of you morons actually read the article? He lays out the entire program and you can figure it out for yourself if you use some of that grey matter upstairs.
2007-06-10Ricky
 Hey, I'm 16 years old and 150 lbs. I bench 275 RAW touch and go and I bench 305 with a shirt. Can you help me out with a routine because I've hit a wall with my progress and I just feel like I can't progress much more at my body weight.

Thanks,
Ricky
2007-04-04Wells Bibo
 Well, I have been lifting for about a year and a half, but only seriously for about 4 months with heavy weight. When I first started, i could already do 165 lbs. on the bench press without ever doing it before. I trained for about a year (not seriously) and brought it up to 245 lbs..

I am currently a junior in highschool and benching 290 raw, squating 355, and deadlifting around 405. My Ultimate goal is to lift in compatition at 195 pounds( I'm currently about 245 pounds but about 40-50 lbs overweight) and lift a total of 1,800 lbs. (400 on the benchpress, and 600 on deadlift and squat).

I want to know if you think i have the genetics to do it and, if so, would it be too much to ask for you to help me with a schedule to help me reach my lifting goals? If you could i would be very greatful.

Thank you for reading,
Wells Bibo
2007-03-26Andrew James Byrne
 Hello,
I am at age 50 yrs. bodybuilding for 2-yrs. Benching 315 max
Looking to bench 400+ any suggestions? Thanks.
2007-03-16John David
 Well im an 280lb. raw bencher and a 300lb easy bencher with shirt on. I want to get over 300 raw, perhaps a 315 raw max. Could you please help me out with a program to help me get there? Any help would be greatly appreciated!Thanks,
John
2007-03-13Bobby
 I have a 425lb raw bench. I refuse to use a shirt, or anything for that matter. I feel it's a crutch and leads to peoples bragging rights. I have two questions, is it necessary to use wraps and shirts in your routines. Also, I've been doing just flat bench to increase my weight-8 sets of 3. I do this method for my deads and squats too. My second question is, are there any alternative lifts to make my gains faster?
2007-02-03Steve
 I'm a junior in high school and i bench 330. My goal has always been to break my school record which is 415. Does an 85 pound gain in about 16 months seem realistic? If so, do you have any suggestions?
2007-01-17ARMY Ranger Mark
 I would like your help on a routine to help me benchpress more than 340lbs,that is what I'am doing now, if you could break down a 12 week program for me I would love to use it while I'am in Afghanistan. Thank you!!!
2006-12-11Fred
 I just competed in a bench press comp and benched 345lbs raw on my third attempt. I have another comp in May and would like to raise my bench to 375 by then. Could you give me a routine that will work?
2006-09-18David
 I've been lifting for about three years. when I first started I wasn't even capable of benching 135 once. With the help of negative sets under my fathers guidence I've reached a max single bench of 275 pounds, I've been stuck at this wight for months though and am experiencing pain in my wrists. Any suggestions?
2006-06-22brian
 i benched press 350 pounds before with a shirt and my max with out a shirt is 290 almost 300.I would like to raw bench 335 can u give me a routine to do it. By the way I have trained with Lou lavarro and now I am at Brian schawbs gym.
2006-06-07kyle blake
 hi just turnd 16 june 5-06 and when i was 15 my max bench was 240 and now it is 245 and i would really like it if some one could give me some tips on how i can get 250 pounds thankz you
2006-05-18irshad
 HI SIR.
CAN YOU PLEASE GIVE A GOOD SCHDULE FOR CHEST ROUTINE.

I NEED TO MAKE A SIZE . I WANT TO BLAST A CHEST AND I WANT
TO INCREASE A WEIGHT.

HOW MAN TIMES I WANT TO DO A CHEST WORKOUT.

HOW MANY SETS AND REPS I WANT TO DO AND HOW MANY WEEKS I WANT TO DO THIS WORKOUT......

I AM WATING FOR YOUR REPLAY

THANKS
YOUR
IRSHAD
2006-02-13cooper
 i am training to become a powerlifter and need to build up more mass n stregnth especially in chest. i am currently benching 230 and would like to get on another routine....any suggestions?
2006-01-12Dan
 I can bench 225 2 times. I want to build up to 315. Any ideas? I can do 4 sets of 4 reps of 205.
2006-01-05cory
 I have plateaued at 450lb. bench Im 34 yrs old am I too old to reach the 500lb. mark?
2005-12-28John
 Well..what are some lifts that help you tone your chest instead of increase the strenght of it?
2005-03-27Rogers
 

I'AM IN THE ARMY AND I HAVE A 425LBS. BENCHPRESS WITH SHIRT. A 365LBS. BENCHPRESS WITHOUT A SHIRT. (HELP ME WITH A WORK OUT TO GET 450LBS).

 


Leave a comment or suggestion for this page:

(Never Shown - Optional)
 

Visits!