Powerlifter Larry Wheels Suffers Quad Injury During Heavy Training Squat

The apparent 18-plate load on the barbell aggravated what Wheels believes to be an existing injury.

Hitting personal records in the gym is no easy feat, particularly when squatting over 900 pounds. Powerlifter Larry “Wheels” Williams has been on an absolute tear in the gym, hitting titanic squats like his 430.9-kilogram (950-pound) raw PR with chains and his 375.1-kilogram (827-pound) raw triple. Unfortunately, his latest lift came with a different kind of tear — one that “ripped [his] quad in half,” according to the caption of his Sept. 16, 2021, Instagram post that features a video of the injury.

Wheels bodyweight at the time of the lift was 285 pounds. It appears there were nine 20-kilogram (44.1-pound) blue Eleiko weight plates on each sleeve of the barbell. Judging from the video, that is the same number of plates as his PR, meaning the squat was somewhere in the range of 900 pounds. Check out the lift in the video below. Williams completes the eccentric portion of the squat before suffering the quad injury halfway to the top:


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The injury appears to happen suddenly during the concentric portion of the lift, causing Williams to dump the weight. He remains standing as his two spotters steady the weight caught by the suspension straps

BarBend reached out to Williams on Instagram to learn if something went wrong during the lift. Williams says that the injury actually wasn’t new; it just wasn’t known.

“I [had] a small tear that I thought may have been scar tissue a few days before this lift,” Williams wrote to BarBend. “It ended up being an actual tear in the muscle. Everything felt great until it happened.”

There was no sign during warm-ups that Williams had suffered a quad tear in his previous training session.

Larry Wheels — Powerlifting Records

Williams currently holds two raw world records in the 140-kilogram weight class for the bench press and total, according to Open Powerlifting:

  • Bench Press — 292.5 kilograms (644.9 pounds)
  • Total — 1,075 kilograms (2,370 pounds)

It is not clear when Wheels’ injury occurred versus when the video of it was posted. He was scheduled to compete at the Revolution Powerlifting Syndicate (RPS) Long Island Insurextion in Farmingdale, NY on Sept. 11, 2021, but it is unclear if he competed. Williams is not listed on the RPS results page for that event.

Williams told BarBend that he received medical attention for his quad injury, which his doctor diagnosed as an “intramuscular tear, tendon attached.” Williams estimates that his recovery will last approximately 10 to 14 days before the quad is healed enough to load it again.

Feature image: @larrywheels on Instagram