The Larry Wheels Squat Program!


Larry Wheels has one of the strongest squats in the world. He uses a unique training style that lets him break personal records year after year.

If you want to bring your squat back to life then this article is for you!

Introduction 

  • Part 1: Larry Wheels’ Training Split
  • Part 2: Larry Wheels’ Squat Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will show you how Larry Wheels organizes his squat workouts during his powerlifting training cycles and during his offseason phase.

Larry Wheels is an unbelievable squatter. He has squatted 810 pounds in competition and as much as 952 pounds in the gym with chains.

Here is a great video of Larry’s incredible 952 pound gym squat with chains:

Larry Wheels 952 Pound Squat

What an incredible lift! 

Larry Wheels separates his training into 2 different phases. Larry spends a few months after his powerlifting competitions training like a bodybuilder.

He trains with higher volume workouts using a traditional bodybuilding bro-split and focuses on building muscle mass while maintaining a good base level of strength.

Here is the training split that Larry uses in his offseason phase:

The Larry Wheels Bodybuilding Split

  • Day 1: Chest 
  • Day 2: Back
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Shoulders
  • Day 5: Legs
  • Day 6: Arms
  • Day 7: Off

This is the same type of split that most professional bodybuilders use when they are preparing for their bodybuilding competitions.

Larry switches gears and starts training like a powerlifter about 3 months before his powerlifting competitions.

During his peaking phase he trains 4 days per week with 2 bench press days and 2 squat / deadlift days. Check it out:

The Larry Wheels Powerlifting Split

  • Monday: Bench Press
  • Wednesday: Squat
  • Friday: Bench Assistance
  • Saturday: Deadlift

This is a simple training split that many powerlifters like Matt Koczaleski have used to break powerlifting world records. 

Let’s start by looking at Larry’s powerlifting-style squat workouts. Larry uses a simple linear periodization program to peak for his powerlifting meets.

He starts out lifting weights in the 5-8 rep range and slowly lets his reps drop as he gets closer to his meet.

In the last month before his competition Larry is performing heavy singles, doubles and triples to peak his strength. Larry also likes to use different training tools like bands and chains to really overload his central nervous system in the last few weeks before his competitions.

Here is a relatively heavy squat workout that Larry performed in the middle of his powerlifting training cycle. Check it out:

Larry Wheels Squat Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Back squat, 1 set of 2 reps
  • Exercise #2: Glute ham raise, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #3: Planks, 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #4: Hanging leg raise, 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this workout Larry squats 800 pounds for 2 reps. He makes it look so easy!

After his heavy squats Larry performs a variety of accessory exercises for his lower body including glute ham raises, planks and hanging leg raises.

Larry says that he doesn’t perform a whole lot of assistance work during his powerlifting workouts. Instead he trains heavy on the main lift, performs some light assistance work and goes home.

Larry uses higher-volume workouts in his offseason squat workouts to build muscle but during his powerlifting workouts he keeps things simple so he can recover faster.

In recent years Larry has started using bands and chains on the squat to really overload his lockout strength. Here is a heavy squat workout where Larry used chains. Check it out:

Larry Wheels Squat Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Speed squat with chains, 5 sets of 3 reps
  • Exercise #2: Squat with chains, 3 sets of 2 reps
  • Exercise #3: Lying leg curl, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #4: Leg extension, 3 sets of 8-12 reps
  • Exercise #5: Hanging leg raise, 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

For this workout Larry performed several speed sets with chains, followed by a few heavier sets with extra weight.

Chains are a fantastic tool for building strength on the squat. When you squat down the chains fall on the floor which makes the bar feel lighter. Then when you stand back up with the bar the chains come up off the ground and make the bar feel heavier.

In other words chains make the top half of the exercise just as hard or even harder than the bottom half!

The chains also force you to accelerate the bar as fast as possible which is great for recruiting more muscle fibers and building explosive strength.

When Larry is just 1-2 weeks out from his competition he likes to use reverse bands on the squat to really overload his central nervous system. Check it out:

Larry Wheels Squat Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Reverse band squat, 1 set of 1 reps
  • Exercise #2: Planks, 3 sets to failure
  • Exercise #3: Glute ham raise, 3 sets of 8-12 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

The reverse bands are literally pulling up on the bar as you perform the squat. Larry says that they take about 50 pounds off the bar in the bottom position.

The reverse bands are a powerful way to overload your lockout strength and your central nervous system right before a competition. Larry says it is a big confidence boost when you can stand up with a weight that is heavier than what you are squatting in competition.

If you are paying attention then you may have noticed that Larry loves to perform planks in his squat workouts. In fact they are his favorite ab exercise! Check it out:

“I’m doing planks to work my bracing for as hard as I can for as long as I can. And I definitely feel the difference when I’m getting under a big weight.

I can definitely brace my core harder. And when you’re lifting a big weight, this is what keeps everything stable. This is where your power comes from.”

If you are struggling to stay tight during a heavy set of squats then you may want to throw planks into your routine like Larry Wheels.

I mentioned earlier that Larry spends half the year training like a powerlifter and half the year training like a bodybuilder. It’s true! During his bodybuilding workouts Larry performs several different exercises per body part with higher reps and shorter rest periods.

Larry sometimes squats during his offseason leg workouts. However, he rarely squats super heavy. Instead he focuses on getting a great pump and fatiguing as many muscle fibers as possible.

Here is one of Larry Wheels’ offseason leg workouts where he performed squats after pre-exhausting his legs with leg extensions. Check it out:

Bonus: Larry Wheels Offseason Squat Workout

  • Exercise A1: Leg extension, 3 sets of 20-30 reps, no rest
  • Exercise A2: Goblet squat (heels narrow / elevated), 3 set of 8-12 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • Exercise B1: Back squat, 3 sets of 15 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • Exercise C1: 45 degree leg press, 3 sets of 10-20 reps, 2 minutes rest
  • Exercise D1: Seated leg curl, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, no rest
  • Exercise D2: Walking lunges, 3 sets of 8-12 reps, 2 minutes rest

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a brutal leg workout! Many other bodybuilders like Branch Warren, Stan Efferding and Dorian Yates got their best results with pre-exhausting their legs with leg extensions before moving onto back squats.

If you struggle to feel your quads working during your bodybuilding workouts then this is definitely something worth trying.

Conclusion

Larry Wheels is one smart powerlifter. He alternates between his powerlifting peaking phase where he performs heavy deadlifts in the 1-8 rep range and his bodybuilding offseason where he avoids heavy deadlifts in favor of high-volume bodybuilding workouts.

This strategy lets Larry get bigger and stronger year-round without suffering injuries. Many powerlifting legends before him like Ed Coan and Stan Efferding have used a similar strategy.

If you are looking for a new deadlift program then I highly recommend you copy Larry Wheels’ workouts. Who knows – maybe you’ll be knocking on the door of a 900-pound squat in the future!

Here is a great quote by Arnold Schwarzenegger to pump you up even more:

“You have to create a goal for yourself, whatever that may be, a short term goal and long term goal, you have to go after that.  And if you do not see if, and if you do not believe it, who else will?”

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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