Watch a Younger Ed Coan Total 1,021kg With a Torn Bicep

Who is the greatest powerlifter of all time? We wouldn’t claim to be able to answer such a question, but if you Google “greatest powerlifter of all time” — seriously — Ed Coan is the first result.

As someone who has set over 71 world records in powerlifting, there’s certainly a case to be made for Coan being the GOAT. He came first in the USPF Senior National Championships seven times between 1988 and 1995, first in the IPF World Championships six times between 1984 and 1995, and he came first twice in the USPF Mountaineer Cup in 2000 and 2001.

In 1996, Coan tested positive for doping at the IPF Men’s Open World Championships in Salzburg, Austria, and what would have been a first place finish in the event was removed from the results.

This being the third time he failed an IPF doping test — the first two times in 1985 and 1989 — he received a lifetime ban in the International Powerlifting Federation. His best result in a drug-tested international contest was 2,282 pounds (1,035 kilograms) in the 100 kg weight class at the 1994 IPF Senior World Championships.

After his ban, he continued competing in other federations, and the footage we wanted to highlight today is of Coan competing at the 2001 USPF Mountaineer Cup at age 38, where he squatted 975 pounds (442.2 kilograms), benched 567 pounds (257.2 kilograms), and deadlifted 710 pounds (322 kilograms) with a torn bicep.

“I just did an opening deadlift of 710 because I tore my bicep three weeks ago and I didn’t want to get hurt any more,” he explains. “Which was probably the smartest thing I’ve ever done.”

His all-time heaviest lifts are a single ply squat of 1,019 pounds, single ply bench press of 584 pounds, and a deadlift of 901 pounds at 100kg (220 pounds) bodyweight — the deadlift was performed at the 1991 USPF Senior National Championships and by today’s standards was a raw lift, as Coan was wearing only a singlet and a belt.

Earlier this year, Juggernaut Strength Training Systems named Coan’s performance at the 1991 USPF Senior Nationals as the third most impressive feat of strength of all time. You can watch his 959-pound squat and his 901-pound deadlift from the event in the clip below.

We’ve barely scratched the surface of all the incredible lifts performed by this legendary — but controversial — lifter. But we’ll leave you with one more rare clip that recently surfaced on Instagram: Coan squatting 950 pounds for a double.

That’s some serious leg day inspiration.

Featured image via @powerpowerlifter1 on Instagram.


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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.