Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford is working towards his goal of winning the Mr. Olympia title. At the same time, he is pushing his friends and teammates in the gym and helps them prepare for competitions. Lunsford is an IFBB Pro bodybuilder that has competed in the 212 division of the IFBB Pro League. The 29-year-old realized the dream of winning the most prestigious bodybuilding competition in the world when he defeated former champion Shaun Clarida to win the 212 Olympia title in 2021.
Lunsford was expected to defend it at the 2022 Olympia but the winds of change started flowing when he guest posed alongside Men’s Open competitors Nick Walker, Brandon Curry, and Hunter Labrada at the 2022 Pittsburgh Pro. Lunsford looked comparable in size with the Open division bodybuilders at the show and his coach Hany Rambod, as well as Olympia president Dan Solomon, raised concerns over his ability to make weight for the 212 division going forward.
Amid the uncertainty and speculation, the Olympia management accepted Lunsford’s request and gave him a special invitation to compete in the Men’s Open division at the 2022 Olympia. Bodybuilding experts like Chris Aceto predicted that Lunsford had the potential to shake up the division and do unbelievably well at the show.
The former 212 Olympia champion proved the hype around his name was real when he dominated the stage alongside Hadi Choopan and Nick Walker. Lunsford walked away with a runner-up finish at the 2022 Olympia and missed the title by a narrow margin. However, Lunsford’s efforts were widely appreciated and veteran bodybuilder Milos Sarcev opined that Lunsford had the most extreme V-taper on stage.
In recent weeks, bodybuilders Lee Priest and Iain Valliere questioned the 212 division’s relevance. Lunsford shared his thoughts on the matter with some strong arguments. Derek Lunsford returned to the gym with a chest workout back in January after the 2022 Olympia and holidays. Recently, he shared a hamstrings-focused leg workout in a YouTube video. So without further delay, let’s take a closer look at the detailed account of this session.
Derek Lunsford goes through a hamstring focussed leg workout
Derek Lunsford’s training partner and friend Jacob Isaiah is preparing for the St. Louis Pro show and Midwest championships that will take place in May. The show is thirteen weeks away and the purpose of this training session was to help Jacob prepare for the show.
Lying Leg Curls
The team started the training session with the lying leg curls to isolate the hamstrings and warm up the knee joints. Since knees are used in almost every lower body movement, it is of utmost importance to properly warm them up in the beginning of the session to avoid training related injuries. Lying leg curls and its different variations are an effective way to warm up the knee joints without putting a lot of stress on them. Therefore leg curls are a must-do exercise to begin the lower body training sessions.
Lunsford and company performed five sets and finished the exercise with a drop set. Lunsford shared a tip to get the most out of a drop set and stated:
“If you want to do a drop set, do at least 15 (reps)… in total. Try to get maybe… 8 to 12 (reps) on the first one and then finish off 15 to 20 total after that.”
After forcing the blood to flow into the hamstrings with the lying leg curls, Lunsford moved on to the next one.
Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts
Lying leg curls give a great squeeze to the hamstrings and Lunsford stated that his muscles were tight after doing the exercise. Therefore he next took to this movement to induce a little bit of stretch in the hamstrings muscles.
“I want to do a stretching movement. So stiff leg deadlift (with) barbell. I’m not gonna go heavy. No need to go heavy, especially right away. So we’ll probably keep it between one and two plates and go really nice and slow and controlled… Keeping the tension in the hamstrings at all times,” Lunsford stated.
Lunsford and company cranked out a few sets of this exercise. He cautioned that stiff leg deadlifts are way more likely to cause an injury than other exercises. As a result, he did not force his partner Jacob to go too heavy with the weights.
“You can honestly keep this very light and still get a lot out of this exercise. Keep that in mind,” Lunsford added.
Front Squats Machine
After the first two isolation movements, Lunsford took to this compound movement and performed a few sets on the plate-loaded machine. Usually, Lunsford prefers doing belt squats as the first compound exercise but switched to the plate-loaded front squat machine for this session.
Seated Leg Curls
This hamstring isolation exercise followed next. While every variation of leg curls is effective in building the hamstrings, the seated leg curls edge past the lying leg curls as they enable a greater range of motion.
Lunsford explained the preferred technique, rep range, and range of motion to Jacob after the first set. He said:
“For the first couple of sets, I just want you to feel that out. It’s like a standard tempo where I don’t want you to go real fast. I don’t want any pauses or anything like that. But the very last set, I drop the weight back down and I did like five reps. I went real slow and held it at the bottom. I did five like that and I did five a little bit faster and then I tried to do another five a little slower.”
The duo performed some solid sets of this exercise and jumped into the next one.
Lunsford took to this quad isolation movement next and got a few sets under his belt. Although it was a hamstrings focused workout, Lunsford sprinkled this quad movement in the training session.
Hip Adduction Machine
The former 212 Olympia champion wrapped up the leg training session with a few sets of this exercise. This movement works the adductor group of muscles which are responsible for the adduction (bringing the legs together). After doing a few sets of the movement, Lunsford called it a day in the gym.
“I feel like crap but I love it. I feel like I am blessed to be here… The nineteen hour drive was worth it,” Jacob Isaiah stated at the end of the workout.
Overall, the workout included:
- Lying Leg Curls
- Barbell Stiff Leg Deadlifts
- Front Squats Machine
- Seated Leg Curls
- Leg Extensions
- Hip Adduction Machine
Derek Lunsford looked absolutely shredded and stage ready in his recent physique update. While there were speculations about him potentially competing at the show, Lunsford declared his decision already and also shot down the claims of him being ‘afraid’ of competing against Nick Walker. although Lunsford’s dominant stage presence allowed him to secure a runner-up finish at the 2022 Olympia, bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler opined that he can beat the reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan if he brings a fuller chest.
Lunsford has accepted the challenge and he is working toward the goal as he feels that he is ‘just one step away’ from the Mr. Olympia title. Lunsford is giving special attention to his chest, arms, and quads. If he continues to work with the same intensity, no one can deny Derek Lunsford the top spot at the 2023 Olympia.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Derek Lunsford’s personal YouTube channel: