Derek Lunsford’s 2023 Olympia prep is entering its final stage and he is leaving no stone unturned to dethrone Hadi Choopan on Nov. 5. Five weeks out of the competition, Lunsford went through an intense pull-day workout and posted the video on his YouTube channel.
Derek Lunsford is an American IFBB Pro bodybuilder that has competed in the 212 division for the majority of his career. After making steady progress through the initial years of his career, Lunsford dethroned Shaun Clarida to become the 212 Olympia champion in 2021. However, his physique had outgrown the division by this time. The Olympia management accepted his request for a special invitation to compete in the Men’s Open division and Lunsford made the much-anticipated divisional debut at the 2022 Olympia.
He dominated the stage along with Hadi Choopan and Nick Walker en route to a runner-up finish. Lunsford’s rise to the top defied the conventional notions about the importance of size in the Men’s Open division. He now trains to become the first-ever two-division Olympia champion in history.
Most experts believe that Hadi Choopan, Nick Walker and Derek Lunsford will once again be competing for the top three spots at the 2023 Olympia. However, Lunsford has not been complacent about his chances and the recent physique updates are a testimony to the same.
Derek Lunsford’s Pull-Day Workout
Derek Lunsford recently went through a pull-day workout as a part of his 2023 Olympia prep. He is currently dieting down and the primary goal of his workouts is to isolate the muscles rather than going too heavy. Additionally, Lunsford has changed the exercise sequence from his previous workouts. So without further delay, let’s see how the former 212 champion trained his back and biceps five weeks out of the 2023 Olympia.
Close Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown
Lunsford started the training session by focusing more on the lower lats and got a good stimulus before taking up heavier movements. He took to the close neutral grip lat pulldown first and cranked out a few good sets.
The arms are closer to the body while performing close grip lat pulldown. This engages the biceps to a greater degree and also directs the focus to the lower part of the lats. The former 212 Olympia champion then jumped into another Lat-focused movement next.
Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
This variation of lat pulldown engages all the muscles that traditional pull-ups engage. However, it demands significantly less physical strength compared to the pull-up. Latissimus dorsi is the primary target muscle group of the exercise but it engages the biceps and forearms as well. Lunsford executed some good sets of wide-grip lat pulldowns next and moved on to a horizontal pulling movement.
Hammer Strength Reverse Grip Low Rows
While vertical pulls like lat pulldowns and pull-ups are excellent for building a wide back, horizontal pulls like seated rows impart thickness to the back. Lunsford performed the reverse grip low rows on a Hammer Strength machine next to stimulate those lower lats further. After annihilating some solid sets, he advanced over to an effective back builder.
Bent Over Barbell Rows
Very few back exercises come close to barbell rows in terms of strength and muscle-building benefits. This compound movement stimulates almost all the upper body posterior chain muscles and helps with complete back development. Lunsford got some heavy sets of the exercise under his belt before taking up the next one.
This deadlift variation focuses on the upper half of the movement as the weight is lifted from the rack instead of the floor. The range of motion during rack pull is significantly shorter than the traditional deadlift but it can do wonders for size gain. Lunsford normally performs this exercise as the second or third on a back day. However, he is keeping it more towards the end in the current training routine.
“I’m not able to go quite as heavy as I could have if I would’ve put this like second or third in the workout. But that’s not the point. I can still lift a good amount of weight, feel strong,” Lunsford said.
While speaking about its benefits for back development, the 30-year-old stated:
“I love these because it lights up everything in the back! Everything from the lower lats to the upper traps, the mid traps, rear delts, rhomboids… Everything! This is a great exercise to hit the entire back and to build the strength too. To keep your strength up…”
Lunsford further added that the results of rack pulls translate well to the hamstrings and glutes. He annihilated some massive sets of the exercise with slow and controlled motion and took to the final back exercise of the day.
Chest Supported T-Bar Rows
There are several amazing rowing exercises that can do wonders for your back. But if you have to choose one rowing exercise to do for the rest of your life, T-bar row would be the right choice.
This exercise works the lats, rhomboids, traps, posterior deltoids, forearms as well as biceps. It also involves lower body muscles like glutes and hamstrings indirectly. This makes it one of the most effective back builders.
Lunsford performed a few solid sets of the exercise and shifted his focus to biceps next.
Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Derek Lunsford wrapped up the training session with dumbbell hammer curls. This exercise works the biceps brachii, brachialis and the Brachioradialis muscles in the arms and helps add girth to the forearms and biceps. The workout reached its conclusion with some heavy sets of exercises.
Overall, the workout consisted of following exercises:
- Close Neutral Grip Lat Pulldown
- Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
- Hammer Strength Reverse Grip Low Rows
- Bent Over Barbell Rows
- Rack Pulls
- Chest Supported T-Bar Rows
- Dumbbell Hammer Curls
Derek Lunsford has four workouts left for each body part before the 2023 Olympia takes place. He is putting in the last bit of work to become the first two-division Olympia champion. All we need to do is wait and watch if he achieves the goal this year.
Watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Derek Lunsford’s personal YouTube channel: