The Intelligent & Relentless Pursuit of Muscle™

Atlas Speaks
An Interview with Ed Coan


When you go to the gym tomorrow, I want you to head to the squat rack and load it up with twenty 45 pound plates. That's right, put ten on each side. Now just stand back and look at it and try not to pee your pants. Guess what? Ed Coan has squatted about 50 pounds more than that. Over the next week, see how much you can squat for a single rep. Then do the same with the bench press and deadlift. Add those numbers up. If you can squat 500, deadlift 450, and bench 300, well, you're only at about the halfway point to equaling Ed Coan's total. Scary, huh?

There are many legendary names in the world of powerlifting, names that almost stop traffic when they're uttered. Of current competitors in this field, few have the cachet of Ed Coan. Coan holds more than 100 official and unofficial world records in the squat, bench press and deadlift. At a bodyweight of 240 pounds, Coan has totaled nearly 2500 in competition, and plans to break that barrier this year in a meet. Break down 2500 pounds into three lifts and think about it. That's some mind numbing weight getting tossed around.

In real life, Ed Coan proves to be quite a regular guy, with no ego problems, a sense of humor and a real straightforward, shoot-from-the-hip attitude. Ed recently took time to speak to Testosterone.
 

Testosterone: Are you, pound for pound, the strongest man alive?

T: What do you think about guys like Greg Kovacs? His handlers like to tout him as one of the world's strongest men, yet I don't think he competes in powerlifting or strongman competitions.

T: Yeah, the guy supposedly weighed 240 before he ever picked up a weight.

T: Why are you a powerlifter, as opposed to an Olympic lifter or a bodybuilder?

T: But you're not that short. What are you, five-foot six?

T: How long have you been a competitive powerlifter?

T: So you continued on as a powerlifter and moved up into the 181 class. What were your lifts there?

T: Many high school kids still do that today. Now, these are pretty unusual weights for anyone, much less a teenager. Did you understand that you were different; did this feel magical to you?

T: Did you know anything about nutrition and proper training then?

T: Did you compete in other sports in school?

T: What notable competitive lifts took place along the way?

T: My shoulder hurts just hearing these numbers! December of '99 you had a 2463 total and you recently attempted 2500. What happened?

T: Have you done it in the gym?

T: Take me through a typical week of your workouts.

T: Do you do lunges?

T: Leg extensions?

T: Do you ever do box squats?

T: What about chains and bands?

T: You're old school, huh?

T: Back to your weekly program. Monday you squat?.

T: Low reps?

T: That's a big workout.

T: Do you do anything for your traps?

T: Do you work out over the weekend?

T: Do you use straps on anything?

T: What's "real heavy" for you?

T: Something that really jumps out at me is that you're very much into periodization. Give it to me in a nutshell; why is periodization critical?

T: Is technique important in powerlifting or do you just heave the damn weight up there?

T: What do you do on your off days? Do you do any cardio?

T: Do you have your workouts all planned out ahead of time?

T: You're five foot six; what do you weigh these days?

T: You're not tracking your calories, grams of this and that, etc?

T: Do you use many supplements?

T: Do you use anabolics?

T: I wouldn't think so either, but it's a topic people are fascinated by.

T: Is this type of assistance something you employ in the off season or during the competitive months?

T: Are you going into that meet?

T: Now, you're 38 years old. I've read that powerlifters don't peak until they're in their 40s.

T: So are you in your prime?

T: Genetics verses intelligent training. What's your take on that topic?

T: What king of genetic profile makes for a good powerlifter?

T: What do you think of the supplement industry today?

T: Do powerlifters use creatine?

T: What's the deal with all these different powerlifting associations?

T: Were you kicked out of some organization once?

T: The potential for tampering was overwhelming!

T: Let's play word association. I'll throw some names at you and you tell me what comes to mind. Don Reinhout.

T: OD Wilson.

T: The World's Strongest Man Contests. Do you watch them?

T: Bill Kazimer.

T: Louie Simmons.

T: Ian King.

T: Is there anything in the world of powerlifting or weight training that's really got you pissed off these days?

T: Do you know Anthony Clark? Why does he bench with a reverse grip?

T: We get a lot of questions from athletes involved in sports with weight classes. They want to know how to "make weight." Some of them resort to some risky behaviors. Got any tips in that area?

T: But doesn't Lasix make you feel weak and physically drained?

T: Tell me about Quad's Gym.

T: Sounds good. Listen, thanks for the interview, Ed. Good luck with 2500!


When we left Ed he was headed off to a Henry Rollins concert. Rollins learned of Coan when he was interviewing Dennis Rodman for MTV and saw a picture of Coan up on the wall. Rollins contacted him and has been a huge fan of Coan and powerlifting ever since, even hooking him up with tickets when he comes to town for a show.

Learn more about Ed Coan by reading Marty Gallagher's new biography of him, entitled Ed Coan? The Man, The Myth, The Method. Ed also has a series of three training videotapes, detailing the squat, the bench and the deadlift. Watch Coan squat 975, deadlift 901, bench 575, even do a 400 pound behind-the-neck press. Each tape is about 50 minutes long. Both the book and videos can be purchased through Coan Quest, 745 North Torrence Ave., Calumet City, IL 60409. Call 708-862-9779 or visit QuadsGym.com for more info.


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