Regularly called the world’s strongest bodybuilder, Larry Wheels is an athletic phenomenon whose story and advice never fail to inspire.
This year I hit a 900lb deadlift, a 650lb bench, 440lb overhead squat and an 850lb squat. So, my strength is definitely at an all-time high. I attribute that to careful programing and keeping the frequency low. I only deadlift twice a month, I squat once a week and I bench once a week. By including triples (3×3 reps) and sets of five reps all the way up to my bodybuilding shows, it actually creates a linear progression even when I’m dropping carbs. This means I’m always getting stronger. For cardio during the off-seasons for both sports I do lots of AMRAPS and sets of 20 reps so my heart rate is very high. I only do cardio such as walking or doing the elliptical when I’m about 2-3 weeks out from my show. My advice to people who want to get into the powerlifting game is that YouTube can be a great teacher. It’s how I learned when I didn’t have a coach, it taught me the proper technique I needed.
My diet is mostly ground beef, white rice and carrots. I keep it very simple. Right now it is what my coach recommends because when you’re eating the same foods day in and day out, you get better at digesting them and you can handle more of them. During the off-seasons for bodybuilding and powerlifting you have to force feed yourself so it’s important to have food that is healthy, high in protein and carbs and is easy to digest. My supplements haven’t changed, I stick to MHP’s pre-workout, intra-workout and a post-workout. And that stays the same for both sports because these products comprehensively cover all my needs.
There are certain things that give me a confidence boost when I step into the gym or on the powerlifting platform. I write a check list. Am I getting eight hours sleep a night? Am I eating enough? Am I following the program? If I can tick all these things off I know I shouldn’t hit a wall or plateau. Ever since I’ve had this check list, I’ve had a linear progression with my strength and muscle gains and have stayed injury-free. When I started working with an experienced powerlifting coach to teach me how to do these lifts correctly and safely that has made my healing so much faster. On top of that, I have a physical therapist to work with on a regular basis to diagnose any problems and to make sure my body is moving as optimally as possible. It’s an investment and helps me stay competitive. They’ll see things in you that you can’t. Working with professionals has helped me stay injury-free and be at my best.
I feel like I owe it to the lifting community to live up to my potential. I realize I have a gift and it just wouldn’t feel right to let it go to waste. When I first started powerlifting I had my coach tell me I was talented and at first it was hard to believe as I’d just stepped onto the scene. As of this year I realized that to hit my maximum potential I had to do both powerlifting and bodybuilding. This helped me get my physique into the best shape it can be in and I’m now aiming for a world record in powerlifting and to get my pro card in bodybuilding. I’m doing this because I know it’s within my reach and it feels like it would be a waste not to pursue these achievements. I’m the guy who can be successful at both and show people that you don’t have to be one or the other. You can be successful on multiple paths.