Here's an article from 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.
Training the Bench: Ed's approach to upper body strength looks like this:
Bench Press (Conventional): After warm-up - 2 work sets.
Bench Press (Narrow grip): No warm-up - 2 work sets (60 pounds less).
Incline Bench Press: No warm-up - 2 work sets (50 pounds less).
Points to ponder: So for example...If Coan performs 2 sets of 5 reps with 500 lbs in the conventional bench press, he would then perform 2 sets of 5 reps with 440 lbs in the narrow grip bench press and finish with 2 sets of 5 reps with 410 lbs in the 45 degree incline bench press.
He feels that his competition style benches serve as sufficient warmup for his narrow grips which in turn allow him to incline without any warm-up. Coan performs a total of 6 work sets. Not very many when you think about it.
Press Behind The Neck: After warm-up - 2 work sets.
Front Lateral Raise: After warm-up - 2 work sets of 10 - 12 reps
Side Lateral Raise: 2 sets of 10 - 12 reps
Bent Over Lateral Raise: 2 sets of 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.
Light Bench Press: No warm-up - 2 sets of 8 - 10 reps.
Light Dumbbell Flyes: No warm-up - 2 sets of 8 - 10 reps.
Tricep Pushdowns: 3 sets of 8 - 10 reps
Dips: 1 set of 8 - 10 reps
Preacher Curls: 2 sets of 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 is concentrating on different repetition ranges at different times over the course of the training cycle. Here are his cycling repetition guidelines:
Weeks 1 - 2: 10 rep sets
Weeks 3 - 4: 8 rep sets
Weeks 5 - 8: 5 rep sets
Weeks 9 - 10: 3 rep sets
Weeks 11 - 12: 2 rep sets
Week 13: 1 rep set
Week 14: 1 rep set
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:
Week 1: 190 lbs - 2 sets of 10 reps
Week 2: 190 lbs - 2 sets of 10 reps
Week 3: 200 lbs - 2 sets of 8 reps
Week 4: 210 lbs - 2 sets of 8 reps
Week 5: 220 lbs - 2 sets of 5 reps
Week 6: 230 lbs - 2 sets of 5 reps
Week 7: 240 lbs - 2 sets of 5 reps
Week 8: 250 lbs - 2 sets of 3 reps
Week 9: 260 lbs - 2 sets of 3 reps
Week 10: 270 lbs - 2 sets of 2 reps
Week 11: 280 lbs - 2 sets of 2 reps
Week 12: 300 lbs for 1 rep
If you wish to try out Ed Coan's Bench Press Strength Training Program, click here to see an interactive chart where you can submit your current 1 rep max on the flat bench press and the table chart will automatically calculate all your lifts from weeks 1 to week 12 and give you a new 1 rep max to shoot for. Pretty cool! All you have to do is print off and follow the chart on a weekly basis.