Derek Lunsford recently tackled a quad-dominant leg day in the gym to get ready for the 2023 Olympia. Lunsford missed the Mr. Olympia title by a narrow margin in 2022 and has all the motivation he needs to elevate his game to the next level.
American professional bodybuilder Derek Lunsford is a top contender in the IFBB Pro League. He has competed in the 212 division for the majority of his career but made the switch to Men’s Open division in 2022. Experts consider him as the future Mr. Olympia and rightfully so! The 30-year-old won the 212 Olympia title in 2021 and was expected to reign supreme over the division for the foreseeable future. However, his physique had outgrown the division by this time and moving up in weight became an eventuality.
Lunsford is considerably smaller than some of the mass monsters. He compensates this disadvantage with attributes like shape, symmetry, conditioning and proportions. Fans witnessed the strength of these attributes when Lunsford dominated the stage en route to the runner-up finish behind Hadi Choopan at the 2022 Mr. Olympia.
Although he missed the Mr. Olympia title by a slight margin, experts predicted that the 30-year-old could beat Choopan with improved chest and quads. He is capable of becoming the first ever two-division Olympia champion in the history of the sport and needless to say, the former 212 Olympia champion is working hard to achieve this goal.
Lunsford has looked absolutely massive and impressive in his recent physique updates. Although most experts agree that Lunsford will be in the top two of the 2023 Olympia rankings, he is leaving no stone unturned in terms of training and diet to get in the best shape of his life.
Derek Lunsford goes through a leg workout
8.5 weeks out of the 2023 Olympia, Derek Lunsford tackled a heavy quad-dominant leg workout in the gym and posted its video on his YouTube channel. Interestingly, this was the exact same workout that the former 212 Olympia champion did during his 2022 Olympia prep and it was the top training session of the prep in terms of weight, reps and exercise selection. He tried the training session a few weeks ago as well and was able to match the previous year’s performance.
During this session, Lunsford outdid his own performance from the previous week, outlining the strength and muscle gain that occurred. He did not put himself under the So without further delay, let’s take a closer look at the detailed account of this training session.
Lunsford started the leg workout with this quad isolation exercise. Leg extensions emphasize the rectus femoris head of the quadriceps which is relatively difficult to activate with compound exercises. The former 212 Olympia champion performed four sets of the exercise and concluded with a drop set.
This squat variation served as the first major compound exercise of the day. Although it works all the major muscles like quads, hamstrings and glutes, the primary focus remains on quads.
Lunsford started with 135 lbs weight and worked his way up to the top set of 405 lbs for ten reps. Having outdone his work in the previous quad session, the former 212 Olympia champion said in excitement:
“Man, I was so excited coming in today to do this. I didn’t know if I could or would but I knew, two weeks ago I did eight reps and it was tough eight reps. That was a solid ten before the pre-exhaust that we did before, which was the same and I knew that felt lighter and easier than that last time I did it also! So yeah, I’m getting stronger as I’m getting shredded and my motivation’s just going higher. I want this, bad!” Lunsford stated.
He wrapped up the exercise after a back-off set of 315 lbs for 15 reps and advanced over to another quad-dominant compound exercise.
This movement followed the front squats as Derek Lunsford cranked out a few solid sets to load the quads further. He hasn’t been doing pendulum squats for a long time as he felt knee pain using most of the machines. However, the one he uses now has done wonders for quad development.
“I love this exercise. I feel like this machine, specifically, I can just really push my feet with the platform and my butt to the pad. That really drives those quads, man! No pain in the knees. This is a really good one and I typically don’t start with this exercise. I’ll put it at least 3rd or 4th in my workout, somewhere towards the middle or the end just so that I can do some other stuff first but you can put it in the beginning and go heavy,” Lunsford stated.
The top Men’s Open competitor got three working sets of pendulum squats under his belt and did a drop set to cap the exercise.
Single Leg Press
The former 212 Olympia champion had a strong urge to load heavy weights on the leg press machine but held himself back. He performed the exercise unilaterally to focus on the movement. While explaining the importance of unilateral movements in removing strength imbalances, Lunsford stated:
“I can do some unilateral work making sure that both legs are evened up, you know. If you have one side that’s lagging versus the other, you can keep the strength about the same, keep the size and conditioning the same by doing a few extra reps on your less dominant side. I’ve done this over the last couple of years and I actually feel like both of my legs are quite symmetrical now.”
The 30-year-old reiterated the importance of doing unilateral exercises irrespective of strength imbalances and stressed upon getting the right amount of work that neither keeps you under stimulated nor burns you out. He performed three sets of leg presses unilaterally using incrementally heavier weights before taking on a hamstrings exercise next.
Standing Leg Curls
Standing leg curls can be broadly termed as the ‘preacher curls for hamstrings’. The quads are firmly pressed against the pad during this exercise. This forces the hamstrings to pull the weight unassisted, resulting in better strength and muscle gain. Lunsford performed three sets of exercise to stimulate the hamstrings and called it a day in the gym.
Overall, the workout consisted of following exercises:
- Leg Extensions – 4 sets – 2,3,4 and 5 plates for 15, 10, 10 and 10 reps; Drop set – 6 plates for 20 reps then drop with 3 plates for 15 reps
- Front Squats – 4 working sets – 135, 225, 315 and 365 lbs for 12, 10,6 and 4 reps; top set of 405 lbs for 10 reps; back-off set of 315 lbs for 15 reps
- Pendulum Squats – 3 working sets – 2, 4 and 5 plates for 12, 12, and 12 reps; Drop set – 6 plates for 9 reps then drop with 4 plates for 6 reps
- Single Leg Press – 3 straight sets – 4, 6, and 8 plates for 12, 12, and 12 reps
- Standing Leg Curls – 3 sets of 15 reps
Derek Lunsford and his wife will welcome a baby in the months to come. This, in addition to the right amount of training has put him in a very positive spot physically and mentally. However, he is aware of the challenges that lay ahead and is targeting every bit of energy in getting ready for the 2023 Olympia.
You can watch the full workout video below, courtesy of Derek Lunsford’s personal YouTube channel: