Powerlifter, strongman, and current arm-wrestling competitor Larry Williams, a.k.a. “Larry Wheels” posted a video on his Instagram account featuring himself performing a unique lift — the seated barbell curl.
Williams mentioned in the caption that he lifted 111 kilograms (245 pounds) in the video. He performed four reps with the weight on an EZ-Curl barbell, and as Wheels has been known for in the past, he mentions it is a personal record. Check out the set in the video below, courtesy of his Instagram page:
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What is the Seated Barbell Curl?
The seated barbell curl involves the lifter sitting on a chair or the end of a bench. The barbell, or EZ-Curl barbell in Williams’ case, rests on the person’s lap with their hands holding the barbell outside with a grip wider than their thighs. The lifter contracts their biceps to curl the weight up as one would a normal curl, without using momentum. After squeezing the biceps, the weight is lowered back to the lap in a slow and controlled fashion.
The lifter can either curl the weight again immediately to maximize tension, or the weight can remain completely paused on the lap before another rep is performed. This helps the lifter maximize speed and power from the bottom of the movement. Seated barbell curls are different from dumbbell or machine curls because the biceps aren’t stretched at the bottom of the movement. The barbell is restricted by the legs, keeping the arms in a bent position. The seated position also restricts the lifter’s ability to generate momentum with the legs when starting the movement.
Bodybuilders like the seated barbell curl as it allows them to use more weight to train the biceps than doing dumbbell curls, thanks in large part ot the reduced range of motion. This exercise has been made popular by Wheelchair bodybuilding competitors in recent years.
Powerlifters that perform the strict curl in competition use the seated barbell curl as an accessory movement to help improve their strength in the top half of the lift. Some lifters consider this area a sticking point. The seated barbell curl is to the biceps what the floor press is to the chest and triceps.
Wheels doesn’t state his reasoning for using the exercise, but his Instagram post from Oct. 11, 2021 indicates that his current sport of choice might be why. In the post below, he’s seen lifting 90 kilograms (198 pounds) for five reps. In the caption, he referenced pursuing “armwrestling glory.”
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Armwrestlers use the seated barbell curl to maximize their strength with the elbows bent, which can help the competitor prevent being taken down and generate momentum against the opponent. Armwrestlers never use a straight arm in competition, so the top half of the movement is all that competitors in this sport traditionally focus on.
Using the EZ-Curl bar could be Wheels’ choice both professionally and personally. Performing curls with a fully supinated grip wouldn’t serve him very well in a match because the arm is not supposed to be in that position. Wheels suffered a biceps tear in 2019 while lifting Atlas Stones during his strongman training.
Wheels’ first major arm-wrestling competition was in May of 2021 at the “King of the Table” event he helped promote. It was a losing effort against Aleksandr “Schoolboy” Beziazykov (a.k.a. Toproll). Toproll defeated Wheels 6-0. At “King of the Table 2” on Dec. 11, 2021, Wheels took on fellow powerlifter Brandon Allen. Allen won the best-of-six series, 4-2.
As for when Wheels is set to compete in an armwrestling match next, he hasn’t said. However, if his training is any indication, fans may not need to wait too long.
Featured Videos: @larrywheels on Instagram