Akim “The Freak” Williams won his pro card by winning the 2013 North American superheavyweight and overall titles. In his first two years as a pro he did six contests with placings fluctuating between 11th and 3rd. The knock was he had all the bodyparts – and then some – but failed to take contest ready condition onto the stage. That all changed in August last year when he showed up in his best shape ever to win the 2016 Tampa Pro, relegating the impressive Alexis Rivera-Rolon to second place. However he went forward to his first Olympia just a few weeks later and in not replicating his Tampa form was placed 15th
With his full muscle bellies, size, shape and thickness and 265 contest pounds stacked on his 5’10: frame Akim Williams is one of the freakiest hombres lurching (when you have his dimensions you lurch) around the IFBB pro ranks. Now we wait to see if at this weekend’s New bodrum escort York he will re-light the Tamps flame and give his outrageous mass the teak finish it needs.
Now 33, Akim spent the first 13 years of his life on the island nation of Grenada, off the coast of Venezuela. To give you an idea, it’s roughly the same size as either Detroit or Philadelphia, but with just a fraction of the population of either city at just 110,000 citizens. Eventually the family moved to Brooklyn, New York, and our subject s escort bodrum training at 22 eleven years ago weighing 147 pounds. He’s not your stereotypical musclehead as when he started his gym efforts he was earning his degree in computer science at the Brooklyn campus of Long bodrum escort Island University. Given such educational credentials his training (as you will see shortly) is analytical and well thought out.
THE DIESEL CONNECTION AND OUTGROWING TWO WEIGHT CLASSES
In those early days of training at his school gym he came under the influence of IFBB Pro Leon Brown, a former NPC Junior USA and Masters USA champion, perhaps best known for the time he lived in Los Angeles and was Arnold’s training partner. It was also Leon who was responsible for Akim meeting Juan Morel. Since Williams had only trained at his school’s gym thus far, Leon decided to take him to a real gym where he would see other bodybuilders, Synergy Fitness in Manhattan. Akim and Juan hit if off right away. “Juan was already a national-level guy and I was just starting out at the regional level, but he saw how strong I was and how hard I trained, just like him.”
Over the next few years, Akim grew and grew. Having been a borderline light-heavy/heavy, he added 25 pounds of quality muscle training with Juan and started competing at the top of the heavies.
Akim’s first experiences at the national level were humbling ones, taking fourth at the 2011 Junior Nationals and falling just out of the top 10 a couple of months later at the North Americans. “I’d only done a few small shows prior to that, and I was used to winning,” he explains. “Now I saw that there were guys out there much better than me, and I had a lot of work to do. I knew I needed to be bigger.”
Although he was told he was too short to be a good super heavyweight, Akim decided that’s what his body needed to be. He started forcing himself to eat more, no easy feat given his lackluster appetite (even today, his off-season calories only range from 3,000 to 4,000; laughably low for a hard-training off –season man of 285 pounds). And of course, he trained heavier and heavier.
Akim has deadlifted 800 pounds and squatted 765 for three reps, as well as hit 685 for six on squats. Low reps are something most bodybuilders shy away from, but Akim embraced them in his growing years. “A coach back at my college gym told me lower reps are what builds thick, dense muscle mass, and it made sense to me,” he says. “Look at guys like Ronnie, Dorian and Kai— they all trained very heavy and they had a different look because of it.”
How low do his reps go? For most of the basic free-weight exercises at that time, he stuck to the three to six rep range. Only in the last couple of years has he started incorporating higher reps, mainly at the urging of Juan.
Along with his arms, which tape out at 23½ inches in the off-season, legs are Akim’s freakiest body part. His quads are thick and sweeping, and they actually look even crazier from the side, carved out with deep chasm-like separations that fan outward from his hip. When he flexes those quads in a front pose, rows and rows of cross-striations run across the vastus medialis and lateralis like zippers (reminiscent of that other Brooklyn beast, Kai). His hams are hanging crescents of beef. His leg routine is surprisingly simple, but like I always say, seeing a list of exercises, sets and reps on paper doesn’t tell you anything about the form and intensity. Akim prides himself on maximizing both factors at every workout. Here we outline the five mainstays of his crazy leg development.
1) Lying Leg Curls
Akim begins his leg workout with hamstrings for two reasons. For one thing, he was told early on that most bodybuilders put too much priority on their quads, leading to an imbalance in both development and strength between the two opposing muscle groups of the thighs. “And it’s also just a safer way to approach leg training,” he explains. “Working hams first gets the lower body warmed up and the joints starting to lubricate so that the quad work that follows will be smoother and more productive.” Generally, his entire hamstring workout is five sets of lying leg curls for 20 reps, making a conscious effort to squeeze the hams at the top of every rep.
2) Leg Extensions
Leg extensions are done twice in Akim’s leg workout. After leg curls, he uses them to warm up the quads and knee joints, using a constant-motion rep tempo with no pause at the top or bottom. Later on, after his squats and leg presses, Williams returns to extensions and goes a bit heavier to isolate the quadriceps. In both cases, he performs the movement one leg at a time (though he did them the standard way for this shoot). “Any time you are using both limbs at the same time, you risk one side dominating and taking stress away from the other limb, and you wind up with asymmetry issues,” he points out. “Balance is key in bodybuilding. People do notice if one arm or leg is bigger than the other one!”
Akim loves to squat, and squat heavy. This is a man who works up to six 45s a side every time he trains legs, working up to it very gradually, of course. And perhaps the most impressive aspect of his heavy squats is that he does not use a belt or knee wraps, two staples for most men who pile on all those plates. “For one thing, I feel they restrict your body’s movement,” he notes. “And when you rely on all that supportive gear, your own tendons and ligaments never get any stronger. I honestly feel you are in more danger of injury in the long run using those things.” As you can see in the photos, Akim does not do half-reps. He squats ass to grass. And just to give him some extra credit, this was the day after a contest and those are real weights on the bar!
4) Leg Press
After squats, Akim uses two different types of leg presses in two different ways. First is the standard angled leg press you see here. There he will do three to four sets of 30-40 reps, a fairly new change to his routine courtesy of oft-times training partner Juan Morel. “I had never really tried reps that high before, but Juan was getting good results and had me try it,” he says. “The pump and burn were insane. Since I am already going pretty heavy and lower on reps with squats, this gives my legs a totally different type of stimulation.”
From the angled leg press, Akim moves to the vertical leg press. As if this machine isn’t scary enough lying on your back with the weight directly over you, Akim does them one leg at a time. “I feel it more in my teardrop that way, and that’s an area I really want to stand out. A lot of guys have legs that are huge up top near the hip, but not so impressive down around the knee. You look at Ramy, Branch or Kai, and their teardrops are practically hanging off their knees.” Williams also feels his hamstrings being activated on the vertical leg press, which is important since he doesn’t do a whole lot exclusively for them.
5) Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
For most of the year, Akim doesn’t do stiff-legs. “Usually I will do them closer to a show to help improve my hamstring separation,” he tells us. Note that he maintains a slight bend in his knees, making these what are more often referred to as Romanian deadlifts.
Polishing the Massive Diamond
Akim has a great training partner in Juan Morel, and the support of the entire East Coast bodybuilding family behind him. “Steve Weinberger has been especially helpful over the last few years, and I love training at Bev and Steve’s gym every Saturday— I still feel like a kid in a candy store every time I train there.”
Akim is just a youngster barely starting out. What we saw last year from this growing mass monster is but a glimpse of the polished professional to come. Once he does cut and polish that massive diamond, look out! Dallas has been warned.
Akim’s Training Split
Monday: Chest and triceps
Tuesday: Back and biceps
Thursday: Chest and triceps
Friday: Back and biceps
Typical Leg Routine
Lying Leg Curls 5 x 20
Leg Extensions (as warm-up) 4-5 x 20 each leg
Sets: 405 x 10-20, 495 x 10-12, 585 x 7-8
Leg Press 3-4 x 30-40
One-Leg Vertical Leg Press 5 x 10-12 per leg
Single Leg Extensions 5 x 15-20 per leg
To see how Akim fared at the New York Pro this coming Saturday, May 20, stay tuned to musculardevelopment.com. Look forward to more articles, interviews and videos as we ramp up our coverage of the 2017 New York Pro. Then over the weekend there will the usual on site video interviews, reports, contest wrap-ups and play-by-play commentary in real time. Stay tuned for unrivalled coverage.