The famous Binous Gym in Dubai was at max capacity when powerlifter Larry Wheels and Nigerian strongman Jerome Pever aka “FIP,” met up for a bench press training session uploaded to Wheels’ YouTube channel with over two million subscribers on April 25, 2022.
Wheels is preparing to compete at Middle East’s Strongest Man from Aug. 27-28, 2022, while FIP will take on the upcoming Emirates Strongest Man a week from when the video was filmed. While the bench press is not an event in competitive strongman competition, the following workout was not intended as competition-specific preparation but rather a full push session. Watch the entire workout via the video below:
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Wheels currently holds the raw bench press (full power) world record of 292.5 kilograms (645 pounds) in the 308 pounds weight category, according to Open Powerlifting. However, the 27-year-old multi-sport athlete achieved a personal best 675-pound bench press during training in 2019.
Pever claims his heaviest bench press is 270 kilograms (605 pounds) in the video. Per Strongman Archives, Pever competed in his first competitive strongman contest at the 2021 Middle East’s Strongest Man to a 15th-place finish. Wheels took a back seat for the workout and let “FIP” lead the chest routine.
Barbell Bench Press
Pever usually starts his chest training with heavy barbell bench presses, lifting as much as possible for the first exercise. Although, for this session, the Nigerian strongman backed off the weight to 220 kilograms (485 pounds).
The duo made light work of 100 kilograms (220.5 pounds) for six reps before increasing the load to 120 kilograms (264.6 pounds) and banging out a seemingly effortless three repetitions. Both athletes confessed to not having bench pressed in over a month during the session, which makes sense as their current strongman preps do not require them to be strong in that lift.
For strength training…less is more. When you’re bodybuilding I think it’s the opposite.
The two strength behemoths added more weight to the bar and performed one repetition with 140 kilograms (308.7 pounds) to prepare for heavier subsequent sets.
I just cared about getting stronger and one way to do that is by lifting explosively, less time under tension the better.
Wheels explained that his strongman coach Mark Boyd wants him to perform every movement with explosive speed, which is a crucial component of progressing in the big lifts. He’s not trained this way since competing as a full-time powerlifter.
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Wheels wrapped his elbows before jumping up in weight for his following sets. He gave some advice on how to use lifting gear such as elbow wraps and wrist wraps for maximum support. The sets that followed were 160 kilograms (352.7 pounds), 180 kilograms (396.8 pounds) weight and 200 kilograms (440.9 pounds).
Things were heating up. Wheels laid under the bar on the weight bench and took 220 kilograms (485 pounds) for eight reps. Pever managed five reps using a thumbless grip for all his sets. Wheels then did another set with the same weight, but this time for five reps, although it looked as if he could have pushed a few more. Pever did four reps on his following set and three for his last. Wheels matched his second set with five reps to conclude the bench press.
Incline Dumbbell Press
It’s safe to say you can always expect some crazy antics to go down when Larry Wheels is present. He and Pever tried a unique approach with the incline dumbbell press and something we’ve seen Wheels do before, which is to stack one dumbbell on top of the other.
Wheels attempted a set with 50-kilogram dumbbells and 22.5-kilogram weights on top. However, one side was falling, which caused him to bail the weights. Pever had better luck, completing six reps with the same weight — only one set was shown in the video.
Incline Machine Press & Cable High to Low Flye
Wheels and Pever moved over to the machine incline press to train the upper chest. The goal for this exercise was to max out using full reps and utilize partials to blast the pecs. They each performed four total sets.
I find you’re really working your upper chest most effectively when your elbows are flared and you have a wide grip.
What better exercise to finish off the chest with than some cable flyes. Wheels and Pever did a high-to-low variation to emphasize the lower pecs and get a deep stretch and contraction in the chest. Cables are arguably better than dumbbells for this exercise as there’s constant tension through the full range of motion. Two sets were shown in the video.
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Larry Wheels and FIP’s Chest Workout
Below are the exercises listed in the same order performed during the training session. Due to the video editing, the exact number of sets and reps for each movement is unclear.
- Barbell Bench Press
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Incline Machine Press
- Cable High to Low Flye
While neither athlete attempted any max lifts during their bench press session, Wheels and Pever still moved some impressive weight. The two strength athletes are now preparing for two different strongman shows. From what was said after their workout, perhaps a late shakeup to the roster might see them go head-to-head at Middle East’s Strongest Man competition in August.
Featured image: @larrywheels on Instagram