Chicago Tribune: “Lifter Puts His Power Behind Commitment” with Dr. James Stoxen DC and Ed Coan


Chicago Tribune: “Lifter Puts His Power Behind Commitment” with Dr. James Stoxen DC and Ed Coan
by Linda Young
July 28, 1986

To read the original article, click here

Ed Coan,” greatest powerlifter in the history of the sport”

He had barely reached his 16th birthday, but Ed Coan’s mind was made up. He was going to become a body builder. That decision, however, was made before Coan entered his first contest.

“I was dwarfed by everybody,”said the 22-year-old Evergreen Park resident, whose first contest was also his last.  “It was pretty funny. Cancel the body building.”

Nevertheless, Coan liked the effects that regular, disciplined weight work had on his body. Instead of Olympic-style weightlifting, which requires a series of movements and consists of two kinds of lifts, he decided to try powerlifting, which has three types of lifts.

It was a wise choice. Shortly thereafter, Coan hoisted the first-place trophy at the 1980 novice state meet at Lane Tech High School.

Now, eight years after reporting to Brother Rice`s wrestling team as a 4- foot-11-inch, 98-pound freshman, Coan has chiseled 215 pounds of muscle onto a 5-7 frame. He also has collected 17 world records, including five set and reset in the 220-pound class during the Senior National Powerlifting Championships last month in Dayton.

“Nothing really propelled me to start doing it,” said Coan.  “I just started lifting weights the summer after my freshman year, and I kind of liked it. It took me about a year to get serious about it.”

Coan started his record run by shattering the 220-pound weight class squat record, lifting 881 pounds (22 more than the previous mark).

Ed Coan with Dr James Stoxen DC 1986

“That freaked everybody out. There was mass hysteria over that one”, said Jim Stoxen, a chiropractor who works with Coan. “On his second lift, Coan raised the record to 903 and pushed it to 920 on his final attempt.”

His 523 bench press topped the nearest competitor by 50 pounds and rewrote that record.

Coan then broke his own 843-pound dead lift record with an 865 effort, but he couldn`t quite lock an 881 lift. His totals for nine lifts topped his nearest competitor by 275 pounds.

Coan, who won his first senior national title in the 181-pound class in 1984 and added a second at 198 last year, divides his four-day-a-week workouts between a nearby gym and a friends’ garage in Joliet.

“I can concentrate a lot better than if I have things like girls in leotards walking around,” Coan said, laughing.

When he competes, it is Coan who draws the attention. “When he goes to meets, all the people want to see is Ed Coan, said Stoxen. “He’s just phenomenal.”

“Ed’s the best ever”,said senior nationals meet director Larry Pacifico.  “His build is perfectly suited for powerlifting. He’s got short legs and long arms which are perfect for squat and dead lifting.”

Coan’s feats come from his own training, diet, vitamin supplements and dedicated study of muscle magazines. He has never had a full-time coach.

Coan`s next goal is to lift more than 2,400 pounds at the world championships in November. Only a handful of super heavy-weights have achieved that milestone.

“He’s keyed and geared in the direction 100 percent. Nothing distracts him whatsoever,”said Pacifico. “I do believe Ed will post the highest total of any man, including super heavy-weights, before he’s finished. Many lifters peak around 28-33. If that’s true, Ed’s not near his potential.”

So far, Coan–whose income comes from conducting seminars and exhibitions, sales from a training video and a nutritional supplement endorsement, shows no signs of burnout. If anything, his desire to be the best is stronger than ever.

“If I can stay in one piece, I don`t know how much higher I can go,” Coan said.

“If you don’t place limits on yourself, there’s really no limits to how far you can go.”



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