Ed Coan Deadlift Routine

Ed coan is one of the best powerlifters of all-time and is renowned for his deadlift strength. He currently holds four raw world record deadlifts in four different weight classes dating back as late as 1984. In fact he set over seventy world records and became the lightest man in history to total over 1090kg (2400 lbs). This is one of the many routines he created and used to solidify himself as a champion and one of the strongest men in history.



Ed Coans deadlift routine has added anywhere from 20 to 50 pounds to the bars of many weightlifters. It is one of the most successfully used programs in the weightlifting community and is even commonly used by bodybuilders to add back thickness. The program is ten weeks long and uses a lot of assistance work and speed deadlifts to force an adaptive response to the volume and intensity. After week 6 when the volume is decreased on the assistance exercises your body will have adapted and you will have increased/extra energy to focus on deadlifting. Ed Coan did this purposely to be prepared to lift with a fatigued back in a meet after squatting.

Ed Coan did not create this program with a novice lifter in mind, and you should only use this program if you are an intermediate level lifter or above. Beginners will not do well and will just overtrain or hurt themselves. They would be better suited sticking to a linear progression program such as starting strength.

deadlift chart

The Routine


The first thing you need to do is find your current deadlift max, which if you don’t know can be found using this one rep max calculator. Once you have your 1RM (one rep max) you need to determine what you would like your projected max (your max after completing the program) to be. Anywhere from 20-40 pounds will suffice, but 30 is the recommended poundage and what most lifters use. Now that you have your projected max you will plug it into the programming below and find the weight you will be using on all of the deadlifts and assistance work. For example say my projected max is 435 pounds. Since the first week for deadlift worksets is 75%, I will take 435 and multiply it by .75. That comes out to 326.25 lbs and we will round it to 325 lbs since not many (if any) people have half pound plates.

Deadlift Programming

Note:(Do your regular warmups prior to doing the work sets or speed sets.)

Week Work Sets Speed Sets
1 (75%)x 2 reps (60%)8 sets x 3 reps (90 sec rest b/w sets)
2 (80%)x 2 reps (65%)8 sets x 3 reps (90 sec rest b/w sets)
3 (85%)x 2 reps (70%)6 sets x 3 reps (90-120 sec rest b/w sets)
4 (90%)x 2 reps (75%)5 sets x 3 reps (90-120 sec rest b/w sets)
5 (80%)3 sets x 3 reps (65%)3 sets x 3 reps (120 sec rest b/w sets)
6 (85%)x 2 reps (70%)3 sets x 3 reps (120 sec rest b/w sets)
7 (90%)x 2 reps (75%)3 sets x 3 reps (120 sec rest b/w sets)
8 (95%)x 2 reps (70%)3 sets x 3 reps (120 sec rest b/w sets)
9 (97.5%)x 1 rep (70%)2 sets x 3 reps (Rest as needed)
10 (100%)x 1 rep (60%)2 sets x 3 reps (Rest as needed)

Assistance Work

WEEKS 1-4: Work through the following exercises in a circuit format. Resting 90 seconds between each exercise (DO NOT SUPER SET). Do 8 reps and rest 2-3 minutes between the end of the circuit and beginning of the circuit again. Do this 3 times for a total of 3×8 reps on each exercise.

Exercise Rep count Rest Interval
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 8 reps 90 seconds
Bent Over Rows 8 reps 90 seconds
Underhand Grip Lat Pulldowns 8 reps 90 seconds
Arched Back Good Mornings 8 reps 2-3 minutes


WEEKS 5-6: You will do the following exercises below for 3 sets of 5.

WEEKS 7-8: You will only do 2 sets of 5 with the exercises listed below.

WEEK 9: You will only do 2 sets of 5 with stiff legged deadlifts.

Note:(DO NOT CIRCUIT, Do one exercise finish all your sets and move on to next exercise. Rest 90-120 sec between sets.)

Exercise Rep count Rest Interval
Power Shrugs 5 reps 90-120 seconds
Stiff Leg Deadlifts 5 reps 90-120 seconds
Bent Over Rows 5 reps 90-120 seconds
Underhand Grip Lat Pulldowns 5 reps 90-120 seconds
Good Mornings 5 reps 90-120 seconds


In the table below you will see what percentage to use on Power Shrugs ONLY. These go along with the other assistance work and they start at week 5. You should do them after your speed deadlifts and before any other assistance work because of the fact you will be handling heavier weight with the power shrugs.

Week Exercise Work sets
5 Power Shrugs (60% of current): 3×5
6 Power Shrugs (65% of current): 3×5
7 Power Shrugs (70% of current): 2×5
8 Power Shrugs (75% of current): 2×5
9 Power Shrugs (75% of current): 2×5


If that is to overwhelming for you to calculate you can instantly get all of your programming here. As far any troubleshooting is concerned if you fail a week just keep pushing through and see if you improve the next week. A lot of lifters fail there projected numbers (especially week eight) and end up improving the next workout. If however you fail two weeks in a row, you may want to consider dropping this program and moving onto to something that suits your training capacity. If your form is lacking you can check out the video below from an old ed coan training series. The video is entitled “The Deadlift” and goes through much more than just technique and discusses some his personal training philosophies.

Ed Coan The Deadlift



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34 comments… read them below or add one

Darren

Nice to see this program laid out like this. Think you guys will tackle any of the Russian programs like this in the future? I’d love to see a clear-cut explanation of the Sheiko or Smolov routines rather than scrounging around for information on them in the forums.

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barbell5

Yes we will be covering every routine eventually. I’m just glad to know we’re helping out fellow lifters.

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Johnelle

Definitely looking forward to a Sheiko layout myself.

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Rick

Very nice layout of the routine. Well done

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Carl

“The assistance work” What weights am i supposed to use there? It doesnt say any percentage or anything.

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Carl

And i raher be stupid than get my back hurt so ill ask this to. its one time per week your supposed to do this right? And its no problem complementing it with chest, leg, shoulder training etc?

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barbell5

There has never been an exact percentage for the assistance work, it’s just some lighter circuit training. If I had to give a percentage I’d say around 60% would be fine. Yes it’s once per week and it’s fine to do upper body work and squat.

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Alex

Very nice programm, I’d say, thank you, I just have one question. Should I deadlift once a week in this program? Cause it’s not clear for me.

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Mike

How abouts straps and belts? Would anybody reccommend using them for deadlifting in this routine?

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Mathias

I have used belt from around 90-95% of 1RM and it works perfect!

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Fritz

Yeah, just use as needed. I typically don’t use a belt for 5 rep sets as it helps strengthen the core more, but to each his own. Straps are also as needed. I used to use them, then switched off, then back on because I was losing my grip. It really throws me off now, so I don’t like them. But if you need them in order to lift this, go for it.

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joe

I am using this routine right now except i cut out 2 sets of dead lifts and i feel great afterwards.

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Ed Coan

Nice to see an actual real breakdown of my deadlift routine here! Nice post!

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Mathias L

Mr. Coan,

I just want to thank you for the best deadlift-program!
Both my deadlift and my squat had been stalled for the last 12 month.
Your program changed it all…
I went from 1x175kg – 205kg (most cetainly having 210kg in me) in one 10-week cycle.
This made my squat go from 145kg-165kg too!

Thank you again for the best plateau-blasting program ever!

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Joe

Awesome routine but I have a question.
How many days a week should I do a workout?

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barbell5

Just once a week, you can work other body-parts throughout the week. Keep in mind not to go all out though you’ll need your rest to get the most out of this routine.

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KYLE

Could someone explain to me how the “speed sets” work for the deadlifts?

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barbell5

Speed sets are meant to be done with lighter weight and are for working on form and explosiveness.

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KYLE

How many worksets do you do, i dont think it says

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Craig

What is the difference in the list of exercises between the “arched back good morning” and the “goodmorning”?

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Willy

This is an amazing workout !! Have improved my lift by 40 pounds. Went up from 340 to 380 at a body weight of 215 pounds. Its not much but this workout has surely helped me to break my plateau.

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wiktor

So i im doing my workout sests with speed sets ones a week ?

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Patrick

I can’t wait to try…I’m at 535lbs raw at 225 lbs…I’d like to deadlift 600 lbs one day…I feel a few of these a year might get me there soon ( within a year)

Now…Do I do the work sets before or after the speed sets????

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anders

is workset deadlifts “touch and go”

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Matt P

Do the work sets, speed sets and assistance work all in one routine? That seems like alot of work in the assistance sometime throughout the week?

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Tom

I honestly love this website, keep up the great articles and advice. Going to try this out no doubt.

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Jack

Do we do the speed sets first or the working sets?

thanks

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Luis

Is it a good idea to train back again the same week with a hypertrophy style workout?

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Chris Nicolai

So you really only do one work set besides week 5?

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DL

HIT 405 THIS MONTH. I’ve been doing this program plus rack pulls on a separate day of the week. Basiacally three-4days rest then rack pulls, 3 days rest and follow the program as outlined. Added 85lbs to my DL – Love it.

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Faz

402.5 @ 108.8 – he is one tough mudder

I really want to be told what percentage to do for accessory work. 60% seems good but I will not attempt a 107.5 kg good morning.

And does anyone know any tips on how to speed up recovery time?

awesome site… thank you : )

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shorty

wemt from 210kg to 240kg
!!!!!
awesome

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Fritz

So the power shrug percentages at the bottom. Is that a whole extra part, or is that just the % scheme to go with the power shrugs in the chart above that?

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Danny

About to finish this program. Any recommendations for a new one? Or should I just start this one over?

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