By Ed Coan

I have spent the last 40 years being obsessed about building maximal strength, this lead me to win practically every single powerlifting contest once I reached national level. This lead to winning World championships and doing over 70 World records.  Without sounding like a grumpy old man, here are my top 3 observations on the pathetic current state of strength coaching.

1. Coaches don’t know how to deadlift. At the Powerlifting Excellence seminars, students booked private lessons with me. One woman improved her P.R. from 110 to 127.5 kilos after 45 minutes of coaching, one soldier went from 150 to 200 kg, and another one went from 150 to 175 kg. Why? They had horrendous technique. The main thing is that I showed them how to set up the start position properly, so that the body can work as one unit instead of improperly timed segmental movements.

2. The new generation overtrains grossly. You can’t do it all, choose what brings the most bang for your buck. Your approach should be one bullet, one kill. To quote from the The Last Samurai : too many minds!

3. Social media is destroying strength building processes. One of the powerlifting adages I followed to have a lengthy career, is that you only have so many maxes in you. Maxing every day to feed your ego, and posting it every day, will keep you weak. Do you think that you benching 100 kg with your partner doing 60 kg of it in upright rows impresses anybody? The ones who like your post are even dorkier. Once you get to 96% of a national record, then you deserve a post, until then get off social media and train with intensity. Your lift progressions will thank you for it.

The best way to improve in strength development is to look for the small changes we can make on the things we do often.

Instead of looking for a new cool way to recruit the popliteus or even the cremasteric muscles, why not simply get a mentor to learn the basic correctly?

Yours in strength,

Ed Coan


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