The off-season is an optimal time for a bodybuilder to build strength and size, and the 212 Olympia champion Derek Lunsford is well aware of that.
After his 2021 Olympia win, the Indiana native has become a household name in bodybuilding circles and is an inspiration to millions. He debuted at the 2018 Olympia and shocked fans and experts by placing runner-up to Flex Lewis. At the 2019 Olympia, he again finished runner-up, but this time behind Kamal Elgargni. However, he could only secure a humble fourth-place finish at the 2020 Olympia.
Lunsford turned around his physique and returned to the 2021 Olympia with an unbeatable package to finally secure the gold.
He’s yet to begin his 2022 Olympia prep and is currently focusing on building strength and improving mobility.
It has been an extremely busy off-season for the 212 Olympia champion. Lunsford guest posed at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro as a replacement for Big Ramy, who couldn’t make it to the show due to unknown reasons.
Thanks to his newfound size, Lunsford went head to head with some of the freakiest physiques in the Men’s Open division, including Brandon Curry, Hunter Labrada, and Nick Walker.
Hany Rambod, his coach, states that he is having difficulty making weight for the 212 division. As of now, Rambod says the team is considering moving into the Men’s Open division down the road.
On July 26, 2022, Lunsford took his viewers through a monster chest routine on his YouTube channel as he worked to improve his pecs for the 2022 Olympia.
Derek Lunsford’s chest routine
- Incline machine press (warmup): 2 sets
- Incline dumbbell press: 3 sets
- Plate-loaded incline chest fly
- Cable chest fly (arms parallel to the floor): 2 sets
- Chest dips: 3 sets
- Cable chest fly (arms pointing towards the floor): 2 sets
- Machine chest press: 2 sets
- Leg raise: 3 sets
- Propel ab slider: 2 sets
1) Incline machine chest press (warm-up)
Derek Lunsford commenced his chest workout with two warm-up sets on the exercise.
“I’m just going to do these two sets to get the blood flowing. Just to get a deep stretch in my chest and prepare myself before I go and do the dumbbell presses. This is just purely a warm-up. This isn’t an exercise I count. I just want to make sure I’m warmed up before I move on and actually kill this workout.”
2) Incline dumbbell press
After wrapping up the warm-up, the bodybuilder moved to his first working set of the chest routine, focusing on heavier weights and lower reps.
“I’m trying to keep the reps 10 to 12 right now. I have a bad habit of doing like 12 to 15. I’m really trying to make sure that if I want to gain strength, I got to knock the reps down a little bit… Even though it’s only 70 pounds, just 12 reps.”
He started the exercise with 70 pounds and went up to 150 pounds, doing an extraordinary 18 reps on the final set.
3) Plate-loaded incline chest fly
Lunsford turned his attention towards the machine chest fly, where he continued to focus on volume.
4) Cable chest fly (arms parallel to the floor)
After pumping the pectoral muscles with the plate-loaded chest fly, Lunsford moved to the cable variation of the exercise.
“What we want to do here is we want to keep the cables high, about shoulder height, or maybe a little above, and we’re going to keep the elbows high, the arms high, and hit the upper chest. A little different angle than what we just did on the plate loaded fly.”
5) Chest dips
The next exercise on his chest workout routine was the dips. The difference between triceps and chest dips is the upper body position. Leaning forward slightly focuses on the chest, and keeping the torso straight focuses on the triceps.
“You got to do one set facing that way [towards the machine] and then the next set facing this way [the opposite side]. You got to alternate. Just trust me.”
“Sometimes, exercise like these, I go a little too fast. I really gotta slow it down. Felt good.”
6) Cable chest fly (arms pointing towards the floor)
“Let’s go finish up with another fly like a decline fly to hit the lower pec. Let’s do that and take it one exercise at a time. I may do some sort of a flat press, whether a push-up or some sort of flat press, but we’ll see.”
7) Machine chest press
He finished the chest workout with multiple sets on the machine chest press.
“I’m trying to get as big of a stretch I can get in this to like I said, this is about building strength and size. So, if you don’t have a good range of motion [ROM] or flexibility, then I would recommend you guys really make that a priority in your training too. If you’re going to grow and you start building size, density, and strength, you’re going to get really tight really quick. You don’t want to be muscle-bound. You want to be able to move the best you can.”
8) Leg raise
After finishing the chest workout, Lunsford performed a few sets of leg raises.
“I’m kind of like stretching here, opening up my chest, and on the way down, I’m crunching, and at the same time, I’m bringing my legs up. It’s one of my favorite ab exercises.”
9) Propel ab slider
His final exercise for the abs routine was the ab slider. “It’s no joke. I like this one too,” said the 212 champ as he wrapped up his workout.
You can watch the video here:
What’s next for Derek Lunsford?
Lunsford will soon begin his preparations for the 2022 Olympia, scheduled for Dec. 15-18 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Derek Lunsford could join plenty of Olympia contenders in Men’s Open if he makes the switch. The future looks bright for Lunsford, regardless of which path he chooses.