Derek Lunsford is busy putting in work as the 2023 Olympia prep has finally started. After spending the off-season making necessary gains, he now works hard to bring the best version of himself to the Olympia stage in November.
Lunsford is an American IFBB Pro bodybuilder that competes in the Men’s Open division. The 30-year-old competed in the 212 division for the vast majority of his career so far and made his pro bodybuilding debut at the 2017 Tampa Pro with an impressive win. He only kept rising in each one of his appearances. Lunsford eventually managed to dethrone former champ Shaun Clarida at the 2021 Olympia and became the 212 Olympia champion. He seemed like a champion primed to dominate the division much like Flex Lewis back in the day.
However, Derek Lunsford was slowly growing out of his 212 physique. At the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro guest posing, Lunsford showed up with a massive physique that looked comparable to the Open division bodybuilders like Nick Walker and Hunter Labrada.
Amid speculations about his future moves, Olympia management accepted Lunsford’s request for a direct invitation to compete in the Open division. The former 212 Olympia champion registered an outstanding performance in his Men’s Open debut at the 2022 Olympia and finished second behind Hadi Choopan. Derek Lunsford is now dedicating his time to improve enough to dethrone Choopan at the 2023 Olympia.
Recently, Lunsford partnered with IFBB Pro bodybuilder Joan Pradells for an arms workout and posted the video of this session on YouTube. The video was shot before Lunsford’s competition prep started. So let’s check out how the former champ pumped weights in the gym.
Derek Lunsford goes through an arms workout
Cable Triceps Kickbacks
Lunsford and Pradells started the training session with this triceps builder to warm-up. They did a couple of warm-up sets and followed them up with two working sets. In addition to stimulating the triceps, kickbacks are a great way to warm up elbows. It is a crucial joint in most of the arms movements. As a result, warming the elbows up is essential for effortless movements and also to avoid injuries.
Crossover Cable Triceps Extensions
Full elbow flexion and stability in the shoulder joint are prerequisites for triceps isolation. However, most triceps exercises, when performed with both arms, considerably limit the range of motion of the elbow and strip it of full flexion. Crossover cable triceps extensions is one unique exercise that offers both of these benefits for optimal triceps growth. The duo took to this exercise next for stimulating the triceps further and pushed through a few arduous sets. While explaining his method to get the most out of each set, Lunsford said:
“I just went as many as I could. So did like 12 (with both arms) then I did three on one arm and three on the other arm… Once I knew I couldn’t lock it out fully a couple of times… that’s when I was like I can’t…”
Smith Machine Close Grip Incline Bench Press
Although Bench press primarily targets the pectoral muscles, it is a compound movement that helps build upper body pushing muscles including triceps. Performing this exercise with a close grip puts more emphasis on the triceps.
Lunsford and Pradells performed a close grip incline bench press on the Smith machine next. The bar on the Smith machine moves along a fixed trajectory that significantly reduces the need to control weights. This reduces the chance of injury and also enables an individual to focus more on the target muscles.
The training partners pushed through a few heavy sets of the exercise and went on to do the final triceps movement next.
Horizontal Cable Triceps Extensions
Working the muscle from different angles helps emphasize different parts of it. This enables complete growth without imbalances. Lunsford took to the horizontal cable triceps extensions next. While the movement is similar to the cross-body cable triceps extensions, the arm moves away from the body at a shoulder level in this variation. Lunsford and Pradells performed a few sets of this exercise unilaterally to work the triceps further and shifted their focus on working the biceps next.
The duo took to this most basic and effective bicep isolation exercise to start the bicep work. After doing a few sets with incrementally heavier dumbbells, Lunsford and Pradells took to hammer curls next.
Crossbody Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Similar to the standard hammer curls, the crossbody variation works the biceps brachii, brachialis and brachioradialis muscles in the arm. However, the crossbody form puts more emphasis on the long head of the biceps compared to the standard version.
Lunsford and his training partner moved weights for some solid sets of cross-body hammer curls next to build the forearms and biceps before moving on to the next exercise.
Prone Incline EZ Bar Curls
Also known as spider curl, this exercise is very unique from most biceps exercises in terms of set-up. However, it is an effective bicep builder that also works the forearm muscles.
It can also be performed with a straight bar but an EZ bar enables more natural wrist movement. Lunsford and Pradells performed a few grueling sets of prone incline biceps curls next and took to the final exercise of the day.
Cable Biceps Curls
Cable machines put the muscles under tension throughout the range of motion. As a result, they are more effective in inducing hypertrophy which is the primary goal of professional bodybuilders.
Overall, the workout included:
- Cable Triceps Kickbacks
- Crossover Cable Triceps Extensions
- Smith Machine Close Grip Incline Bench Press
- Horizontal Cable Triceps Extensions
- Dumbbell Curls
- Crossbody Dumbbell Hammer Curls
- Prone Incline EZ Bar Curls
- Cable Biceps Curls
The former champ compares his current off-season progress and competition prep with the previous year
Lunsford stated that he had to travel a lot this off-season. Most bodybuilders would prefer being at home during this time to follow a diet and training routine without lapse. However, the former 212 Olympia champ feels he has still made good progress.
“Believe me when I tell you I’m in a much better starting point this year than last year because right before I started my prep last year, I got sick.”
According to Lunsford, he was infected with a serious skin infection that caused him to lose a lot of weight. Additionally, the uncertainty about the division kept him guessing for a long time. But these factors are no longer impacting Lunsford’s plan of action. As a result, he is able to manage far better progress. At the time of this video’s recording, Lunsford weighed 260 lbs.
Lunsford is hoping to be ‘on point’ at the 2023 Olympia
Lunsford shed light on the problems he faced heading into the 2022 Olympia. As revealed by him, Lunsford’s body was not responding the right way a couple of weeks before the show. His coach Hany Rambod thought it was in Derek’s best interest to pull out.
“But I told him, ‘No man! I have to do the show. I can’t pull out from the Olympia. It’s just not in me.’ I kind of went back to my wrestling mindset where I can’t not do something… I have to finish what I started. I can’t do it. I have to do this and so we did it,” Lunsford said.
Lunsford might not be at a hundred percent heading into the show. But as we all know by now, he brought a worthy physique to the stage. As better as he looked at the show, Lunsford was not sure how he would be placed.
“I thought okay, if I come in looking good, I can be in the top three. I consider that Ramy was the reigning champion from the year before. I thought he would, on paper, come back and be top three and I figured Hadi would also be top three. What would happen in the top three? I didn’t know. So I was thinking maybe third…” He admitted.
Things are way better now and the former 212 Olympia champ is hoping to come in on point at the 2023 Olympia. Given that he is physically in a far better position compared to the last year, the former 212 Olympia champ definitely has the chance to dethrone Hadi Choopan.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Derek Lunsford’s personal YouTube channel: