Hadi Choopan Squatting 7 Plates. WHY?!

by Christian Duque

When 2022 Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan posted training footage purportedly just days out from the 2024 Arnold Classic squatting what seemed to be seven 45lb plates on each side it sent shockwaves throughout the fitness industry. While there was some conversation as to whether the plates were for 45’s or 25’s most pundits agreed they were in fact 45’s.

It should also be noted that The Persian Wolf was doing squats in a Smith machine; however, the extreme poundage raised many eyebrows throughout the fitness industry. Hardcore lifters were equally impressed as much as they were horrified. Fans were stunned that the former Mr. Olympia was hitting it that hard so close to the stage. And some media outlets actually took the extreme lifting as a sign that Choopan, who lost the 2023 Olympia to Derek Lunsford, was very serious about his 2024 Arnold Classic prep.

Apparently, training like an idiot in 2024, is a sign that you took your contest prep seriously. Has anyone considered how badly he could have injured himself? And for what? He’s a physique-based athlete. Did he not learn anything from Ronnie Coleman? The guy can’t even walk. Was it worth it?

I love ya Ronnie but his only regret is that he didn’t lift heavier. I mean to each their own but what if Coleman trained less like a nut and more like Jay Cutler or Phil Heath? Who’s to say he wouldn’t have won nine or ten – or more Sandows!! Anyways, I digress. I guess we’ll never know how the future could’ve been for Ronnie, but I’d say Hadi isn’t 100% in the clear just yet.

The fact is The Persian Wolf’s stock has dropped significantly since he lost the Olympia. I’d like to say that everyone is expecting him to win the Arnold Classic in just hours. I mean as this article goes to press we may know who wins the Arnold. That all depends on when this gets published in time, but the heart of the article doesn’t really have so much to do with where he places, rather, with what he’s willing to do to remain in the conversation.

The fact of the matter is that while Hadi has been the favorite for many people to win the Arnold, his lack of social media interaction has come to haunt him. Even though he’s putting significantly more emphasis on his social status now than when he was Mr. Olympia he just lacks that people-factor to achieve the connectedness of guys like James Hollingshead, Samson Dauda, or Akim Williams. It’s not that Hadi doesn’t have a good personality or that he doesn’t lead an interesting life, but people just don’t click with him that well on IG, Tiktok, or YouTube. They like to see him train and they like to see him compete, but beyond that, there isn’t much.

For example, if we were to have a trivia game and I was to ask you questions about Hunter, Samson, Martin, anyone, chances are the fans would know. When it comes to Hadi it’s a totally different story. There isn’t that much out there about him and when he does do live videos it’s mostly with an aide who picks the questions for him and/or interprets.

There’s also a different dynamic when it comes to Persia, the Middle East, and northern Africa. These are the regions where Choopan enjoys the most support, but there the questions are different. People are a lot more respectful and almost formal. I can’t speak to the Lives the champ has done in the last few months because I haven’t tuned in, but for the ones I have seen, the questions he answers are pretty boring. He usually talks a little, sips whatever Evogen product is nearby, and talks to whoever he’s with in person. The interactions between The Persian Wolf and the thousands who come through the chat seem very robotic. That’s just one example out of many.

In person, Hadi is a little bit more personable, but he’s just not an extrovert. He’s not someone I’d call loud and boisterous. We can tell he’s in touch with his emotions, maybe more than most guys. I mean one telltale example of that is when he stormed off stage at the 2023 Mr. Olympia. Even though he congratulated Derek and took several photos with the other guys in the Top 6, he ultimately stormed off the stage.

It didn’t matter that Brandon tried to stop him, that Derek looked stunned, or that maybe Bob said something. He was over the whole thing and had to exit. That may be bad sportsmanship and maybe some other things, but it also shows us a man who is very much dominated by his heart. He couldn’t stand there and see someone else hoist the Sandow and be crowned the best in the world.

It’s one thing when you’re battling and battling and always taking 2nd or 3rd. I’ve heard that some guys sort of subconsciously accept that reality. It becomes easier to process being a top guy, even if not the guy. But once you win, losing becomes next to impossible to process. It’s almost like some kind of PTSD these guys go through.

At that point, some guys opt for retirement, but it’s those who then make it their life’s pursuit to regain the title that become obsessive. And for all you history majors out there, only one man who’s lost the Mr. Olympia has ever won it back. That man was not Ronnie, it was not Phil, and it may not be Hadi. Only Jay Cutler was able to do it. Ramy couldn’t. Dexter couldn’t. Frank Zane and Samir couldn’t, either. Brandon hasn’t been able to. The math and the history are not conducive to that endeavor.

So back to Hadi, March 2024, and the fact that while the math and history aren’t on his side to winning back the Olympia, he’s days out from the Arnold Classic and he puts out a video on his social media squatting seven plates on each side. We know it’s dangerous, we know it serves no purpose to stress the muscle this much on restricted calories, and we also know that it’s current because HE put it out. This wasn’t someone else saying “look what this genius is doing.”

The guy put it out himself and did Nick’s Strength And Power cover it? Of course he did. Did all the other outlets cover it? You know it. But here’s the big question, would they have been talking about Hadi just for his physique or just because of how excited they were as he went into the second biggest bodybuilding show in the world? Well, let’s look at what I’ve written thus far Arnold-wise.

To date, I’ve written about Brandao, Williams, Samson, Hollingshead but no Hadi. I always say Hadi is a favorite to win, but if I was truly excited by him, why haven’t I written an article about him? My one and only Hadi article leading into the ASC is about him squatting seven plates on each side. If his goal was to be in the conversation, then he succeeded.

What about when he was Mr. Olympia? When I wrote about him it was because he fired warning shots on the competition. Back then, he needed to lash out at up-and-coming guys just to remind the press he was Mr. Olympia. No Mr. O should ever have to do that, but he did. I think that this little training stunt by The Persian Wolf shows us how desperate he is to be talked about.

The guy could have torn hams, quads, he could have had another major injury by doing this. And for what? Just to get some attention from a bunch of YouTubers and a John Fetterman lookalike writing an article? (That John Fetterman look alike would be, in case y’all weren’t following along. LOL).

As sad as it is to say, it’s even more sad to write, but what other purpose could he have had training this irresponsibly, on video, and just days out from a contest that will hopefully be the place where he redeems himself?

Again, taking 2nd at the Olympia is hardly a bad placing, but when you were expecting to successfully defend your title, taking runner-up really feels like 1st place loser. I hope Hadi wins in Columbus, but whether he wins or doesn’t, I don’t see him reclaiming the Olympia title. Only time will tell though. Do you think the squat feat was nothing more than a shameless attention grab? Or do you think this is just how The Persian Wolf trains during peak week?

What say you?