Ed Coan's Bench Press Routine from The Iron Dungeon
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
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:"