Powerlifter Larry “Wheels” Williams has been candid about his recent decision to stop taking steroids and now regularly posts update videos about his progress. One of the goals of this decision is to test how much he can lift without the drugs he says he’s been taking for a decade.
Wheels is now starting to prep for a mock powerlifting meet on TRT (testosterone replacement therapy). Wheels has been undergoing TRT since coming off steroids because he says that his body can no longer produce testosterone on its own. Wheels previously stated that he’s looking to take 175 milligrams per week, which he said is on “the higher side of being a natural, healthy male in his prime.”
The powerlifter posted a video update on his mock meet prep on Sept. 20, 2022, which showed him taking safety bar squats for a ride at Strong Gym HQ in Dubai. You can check out his workout for yourself below:
Editor’s Note: BarBend does not intend to make a moral or ethical statement regarding the athlete’s actions. This article reports on the information laid out by the athlete(s). BarBend is not a medical resource and does not endorse the recreational use of performance-enhancing drugs.
Mock Powerlifting Meet Prep
Wheels kicked off a 12-week strength training protocol focused on powerlifting. He plans to peak for a mock meet just as he says he would when he used to compete while using PEDs (performance-enhancing drugs).
At the time the video was filmed, he says that his weight was currently fluctuating between 117 kilograms (257 pounds) and 119 kilograms (262 pounds). He’s noticeably leaner than he’s been previously when he says his weight was between 121 kilograms (267 pounds) and 124 kilograms (273 pounds).
Regardless of body weight, Wheels is no stranger to going hard to prepare for powerlifting meets.
According to Open Powerlifting, his raw personal best total of 1,075 kilograms (2,370 pounds) in 2020 gave him the third best total in the world for the 140-kilogram weight class. During that same Xtreme Powerlifting Coalition meet at the 2020 Arnold Sports Festival, Wheels hit a 292.5-kilogram (645-pound) bench press that secured him the all-time raw world record for the 140-kilogram class.
Safety Squat Bar Squats
The safety squat bar distributes the load in a pattern more similar to a front squat, which places more emphasis on your core and quads. It also places your shoulder in a more comfortable position compared to the standard back squat. Since you’ll be fighting to maintain an upright torso, Wheels says that this is an important tool for building a stronger, pain-free low bar squat.
If you have any upper body inflammation… the safety squat bar squat is the best tool to still squat.
His plan for the day included building up to three sets of five reps to kick off his program. He plans to increase both his intensity and volume to progressively overload as he gets deeper into his training.
Wheels warmed up thoroughly with ample ramp-up sets before heading into the meat of his workout. He started with a warm-up set with the empty bar (not shown) and then was filmed warming up with one plate on each side. Wheels strapped on a weightlifting belt for his second filmed warm-up set, with two plates per side.
The third featured ramp-up set was with three plates, noted as 111.6 kilograms (336.1 pounds) since the safety squat bar weighs more than a traditional barbell (around 65 pounds or 30 kilograms). He then performed one rep with his working weight of 193.3 kilograms (426.1 pounds).
Never skip your warm-up.
Wheels estimates that what you can do with a SSB is around 80 percent or less of what you can hit with a low bar squat. He says that his best SSB squat in knee wraps was about 800 pounds, whereas he’s squatted 950 with a straight bar with chains.
In this training session, Wheels worked up to three sets of five at 426.1 pounds (193.3 kilograms), which he performed in wraps. He says that his strength feels good, but his lungs didn’t feel great, citing a need to work on his conditioning as he gets back into his training.
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He followed these sets with a 224.5-kilogram (495-pound) AMRAP (as many reps as possible). He hit 15 reps before telling the camera that SSB squats felt a bit foreign to him since he hasn’t done them for months. His conditioning wasn’t where it could have been, he said, so he didn’t want to work all the way to failure, opting to stop two or three reps short instead.
Wheels capped his session with work on a glute-ham developer (GHD), but didn’t specify how many sets and reps he did.
Wheels’ Journey on TRT
On Sept. 7, 2022, the powerlifter took his post-steroid strength for a spin in the gym, testing his new squat and bench press strength. He noticed in those sessions that he didn’t get as significant a pump as he used to, but said he was “really, really ecstatic with [his] numbers.”
In his Sept. 20 video, he reported feeling just as strong as he had when he was on 500 milligrams of testosterone. He reported that he will be getting his bloodwork done in the coming week after posting his video, so we’ll see what updates he’ll have then.
Featured Image: @larrywheels / Instagram