Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford is ramping up his off-season training to get bigger and better. Lunsford is an American professional bodybuilder that competes in the IFBB Pro League Men’s Open division. However, he has competed in the 212 division for most of his career. The 29-year-old won the 212 Olympia crown at the 2021 Olympia by defeating Shaun Clarida. He was expected to defend the title at the 2022 Olympia, but upon receiving the special invitation to compete in the Men’s Open division, Lunsford switched divisions.
Many experts predicted that Lunsford could shake up the Open division, but no one could predict exactly how far the former 212 competitor could go against the big boys. Lunsford dominated the stage along with Hadi Choopan and Nick Walker from the prejudging to finals and walked away with a runner-up finish.
Bodybuilding veterans lauded Lunsford for the physique he brought to the stage and the insane v-taper. Lunsford feels he can and will get better and win the Mr. Olympia title. Bodybuilding legend Jay Cutler analyzed Lunsford’s physique after the show and stated that Lunsford could bring Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan down in 2023 if he improves his chest and quads. The 29-year-old has started working in that direction and recently went through a quad-focused leg workout. The video of this workout was posted on Derek Lunsford’s YouTube channel. So without further delay, let’s look at the detailed account of Lunsford’s leg training session.
Derek Lunsford goes through a crushing leg workout
At the beginning of the video, Lunsford explained the purpose of this workout and which muscle group he wanted to emphasize more than the others. He explained:
“We’re gonna focus on hitting that outer sweep. We’re trying to grow this outer sweep here of the quad to make the legs look even rounder, bigger, and fuller. But I like to make sure I hit every muscle within the thigh that includes hamstrings, glutes, and adductors…”
Hip Adduction and Abduction on the Machine
Lunsford started the training session with three sets each of hip adduction and abduction on the machine to warm up the hip joint and muscles. Adductor muscles help adduct — bring together the legs, whereas abductor muscles help move the legs away from each other. Both exercises work these specific muscles.
While shedding light on the different techniques for doing these exercises, Lunsford stated:
“Sitting forward versus sitting back is gonna hit a different part of the glutes. So I’m trying to do a little bit of both just to get some blood flow in my hips, in my glutes. I am not just trying to isolate one or the other; I’m trying to do both here.”
Lunsford warmed up with three sets, each of hip adduction and hip abduction, on the machine and spoke at length about the benefits of these warm-up sets.
“I’m trying to move my legs, my knees, and everything as much as I can. So when we go into doing the squatting movement, I’m more loosened up, and my mind-muscle connection is better. Everything’s ready to go. Prevents injury, you’re gonna get stronger in lifts, and you’re gonna get a bigger pump,” Lunsford stated.
With that, Derek Lunsford jumped into a quad movement next.
One of the most effective quad isolation movements, leg extensions are also great for warming up the knee joints. However, they can be a little harsh on the knees if not done with the right weight and technique. Lunsford pushed through a few sets of this isolation movement and took to the next exercise.
Heel-Elevated Smith Machine Squat
After filling the target muscles with blood, it was time to challenge the lower body with a heavy compound movement. Lunsford chose the Smith machine squat for this. To put more emphasis on the quads, the 29-year-old placed a foot wedge under his heels. He started the exercise with a few warm-up sets with increasingly heavier yet moderate weights and said:
“I feel like every set is getting better. I don’t want to say easier, but every set, every rep is getting better… That’s because I warmed up good. I took my time and didn’t try to rush into heavy weights. I worked the weight up in increments that I knew I was comfortable with.”
The former Olympia 212 winner felt it wise to bump the weight to 365 pounds for the next set and focus on controlling the weight. He moved on to the next exercise, following a few more sets of this compound movement.
Lunsford performed the hack squat next and performed every set within a 12 to 20-rep range. He performed a few reps in each set in a slow and controlled manner and switched to doing fast movements for the remaining reps. Derek usually does four to five sets of hack squats on a leg day. However, he chose to do three sets in this session.
“I felt that every single one of those sets that I did was a solid set. So I would say that the first one was a little too easy, but at least two good working sets here,” Lunsford stated.
Lunsford fired up the quads further with the leg press. Although he did the exercise unilaterally, the technique had a little twist. Lunsford used an iso-lateral leg press machine, which has two separate pushing platforms. Lunsford did the leg press with one leg, and instead of allowing the second leg to rest, he held the weight up with it to keep the muscles under tension for longer. He performed three sets or a total of 40 reps per leg and shifted his focus to the hamstrings.
Lying Leg Curl
Lunsford performed a few sets of lying leg curls next to stimulate the hamstrings. This exercise served as the finisher of his leg training session.
Derek Lunsford Quad-Focused Leg Workout
Overall, the workout included:
- Hip Abduction Machine: 3 sets
- Hip Adduction Machine: 3 sets
- Leg Extension
- Smith Machine Squat: 3 warm-up sets and 1-2 working sets
- Hack Squat: 3 sets
- Single-Leg Press: 3 sets
- Lying Leg Curl
Lunsford revealed the changes he has made to his training in recent weeks, especially regarding rest and recovery. He stated:
“If I’m being honest, the rest periods today were much longer than they usually are. The last few weeks, I have given my body some much needed rest. So I’ve taken some extra rest days throughout the week.”
On other days, Lunsford has done light pump work in the gym and trained intensely only for about two days.
“So now I’m mentally ready again for ramping up my training,” he added.
Lunsford is happy with his physique and is waiting for his blood work results. He is positive that all the indicators are right where they need to be. The former Olympia 212 champion came dangerously close to winning the Mr. Olympia title in 2022. If he continues to track the progress and make necessary adjustments, his chances of securing the win in 2023 will skyrocket.
You can watch the full workout video below, courtesy of Derek Lunsford’s YouTube channel: