Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan and his fierce competitive rival Derek Lunsford recently teamed up for an FST-7 chest workout under their coach Hany Rambod’s guidance.
Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan are two of the most elite competitors in the world of bodybuilding. USA’s own Lunsford is the former 212 Olympia champion that made a switch to the Men’s Open division in 2022. Meanwhile, Choopan is also a former 212 competitor but made the switch a few years before.
After a series of podium finishes, Hadi Choopan won the coveted Mr. Olympia trophy at the 2022 Olympia. Lunsford, who dominated the stage along with Choopan in his divisional debut, was the close second. Together, the former 212 competitors changed the general perception about size being the most important factor for winning the competitions in the Men’s Open division.
Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan both train under famed bodybuilding coach Hany Rambod. After being in his home country of Iran for the majority of his competition prep, Choopan has arrived in the USA where he will finish the last phase of the prep.
Less than three weeks out of the 2023 Olympia, Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford joined hands to train under Hany Rambod’s watchful eye. The video of this session was posted on Evogen Nutrition’s official YouTube channel. So without further delay, let’s take a closer look at the detailed account of this training session.
Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan go through the FST-7 chest workout
Hany Rambod brought Lunsford and Choopan together for this workout with a very clear and specific goal. He explained:
“(We’re here) to be able to get not only an amazing workout in but to be able to assess where everyone’s at. Because this is going to be an absolute dog fight this year. Not just with our gentlemen here, my athletes; but everybody out there. Much, much respect! Everybody’s levelling up!”
Although Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan are fierce competitors on stage, they share a cordial relationship with each other. Lunsford feels that the love for bodybuilding is a common factor that binds them together and says:
“As far as the competition is concerned, we’ll leave it for the day of the show. But all in all, we’re brothers in iron.”
“I’m happy to train with him. You’ve got to respect the champion whether it’s him. Hopefully I’ll walk away with the title this year. That’s my goal. He’s here to defend it. But at the end of the day, you’ve got to respect the champion.”
With that, the incredible team of Coach Rambod and his star pupils jumped right into the intense FST-7 chest workout.
Machine Incline Chest Press
Incline pressing movements put the upper pecs / clavicular head of the pectoralis major muscles on the forefront. Additionally, they work the anterior deltoids and triceps which makes them a complete upper body pushing exercise. Lunsford and Choopan commenced the workout enthusiastically with Incline Chest Press on the Panatta chest press machine and performed four sets each.
Machine Incline Power Press
Lunsford and Choopan next pushed through a few sets of machine incline power presses to get a really good squeeze in the pectoral muscles.
Machine Incline Flyes
The duo shifted their focus on flying movements next and cranked out solid sets on a plate-loaded machine. Pressing exercises are best for building the pushing strength, But flyes are excellent for developing the adduction strength and adding more detail to the muscles. The bodybuilder duo tackled four sets of the exercise before taking on another pressing exercise.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Machines are a great way to build muscles and an excellent physique by default. However, free weight movements have their own unique benefit as they engage different stabilizing muscles and help build functional strength.
Hany Rambod guided Choopan and Lunsford through an incline dumbbell press next. However, the angle of the bench was lesser than the usual 45-degree to direct the focus more on the pecs. The training partners went a little heavy in terms of weight even if they were less than three weeks out of the show at the time of recording this video. But they changed it up and went with moderate weights with the next exercise.
Machine Flat Chest Press
Rambod used a special piece of equipment for this exercise. Unlike barbell press or other machine variations of bench press, the bar on the machine features a niche at the center. This enables the person to lower the weights beyond the usual range of motion, providing a great stretch in the pectoral muscles at the end of the eccentric phase.
Rambod’s pupils took their turns at the machine and cranked out four solid sets to stimulate the pectorals further.
Machine Decline Flyes
Similar to decline presses, decline flyes target the lower pecs. Hadi Choopan and Derek Lunsford performed decline flyes on the panatta plate-loaded machine next and advanced over to the next exercise.
Dip Press Machine
This served as the final pressing exercise of the day. While bodyweight dips are also a great variation, professional bodybuilders prefer using the machine dip press for regulating the resistance.
Lunsford and Choopan tackled a few sets of dip press on a Panatta plate-loaded machine and jumped into the final exercise of the day.
Dips are widely considered a tricep exercise. Hani Rambod stated the importance of dips for building chest and said:
“Many of you don’t know; one of the most underrated exercises for the chest is dips. Many of you will use dips for triceps but you don’t acknowledge the fact that dips are great for your chest. What’s got to be different is you’ve got to lean forward. When you lean forward, you’re going to activate much more chest. If you’re upright, you’re going to activate your triceps. So don’t stop doing dips.”
Standing Cable Flyes
The bodybuilder duo wrapped up the training session by adding the last bit of stimulus to the chest muscles with standing cable flyes/cable crossover. Apart from being a good pump-inducing exercise, cable flyes are one of the most effective exercises for pectoral muscle activation.
Overall, the workout consisted of following exercises:
|Machine Incline Chest Press||4||8 to 15|
|Incline Power Press Machine||4||8 to 15|
|Machine Incline Flyes||4||8 to 15|
|Incline Dumbbell Press||4||8 to 15|
|Machine Flat Chest Press||4||8 to 15|
|Machine Decline Flyes||4||8 to 15|
|Dip Press Machine||4||12 to 15|
|Standing Cable Flyes||4||12 to 15|
Hany Rambod sheds light on difference between Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan’s training methods
Chest is one area where experts think Derek Lunsford needs to improve to beat Hadi Choopan. Lunsford used to train heavily with less volume. To develop his chest further, Coach Rambod suggested making some changes to his training method. Lunsford shed light on this and said:
“That connection is so much better this year. It’s crazy. Once you told me in the off-season to slow it down, back off the weight a little bit, slow it down and control it, I actually started connecting with the muscle then I started adding more weight. Now I feel really strong and connected with the muscle. So yeah, big difference.”
Coach Rambod added:
“There’s a major training style difference. Derek’s used to doing much less volume in general. Hadi is doing a ton of volume. So he goes in and does four, five sets. He’ll do like eight exercises because he’s just doing that. It’s like we’ve got to force him sometimes to cut back. So definitely different. What’s really better? It really depends on where your body’s at. Sometimes you evolve as you end up doing more shows.”
Rambod drew attention to the fact that Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan have competed at 14 and 40 shows respectively and said:
“What it boils down to is as you mature, you’re gonna have to listen to your body and decide on what is working best for you.”
Hany Rambod speaks about common chest workout mistakes
The internet is crawling with people that claim to be experts of bodybuilding and dish out advice that can do more damage than benefits. But who can give the best advice other than a coach who has a proven track record of helping competitors build Olympia-worthy physiques?
During the chest workout, Hany Rambod shed light on some of the most common mistakes that stop people from achieving their fitness and bodybuilding goals. According to the famed coach, there are the most common chest training mistakes:
Mistake No. 1
“Most athletes try to push too much with their shoulders. Make sure you pin those shoulders back, squeeze with your chest and that’s going to get maximum flexion in the chest. So it makes your chest bigger.”
Mistake No. 2
“Weak triceps – if you have weak triceps, your triceps are always going to give out much faster than your chest. So therefore, you’re not going to get maximum growth.”
Mistake No. 3
“Making sure that you’re bringing the bar right across your chest or the dumbbells right across your chest.” If you go up a little too high, you’re going to hit too much shoulders. If you go down a little bit too low, you’re going to throw up the biomechanics. So make sure – right across that path.”
While speaking about specific exercises, Hany Rambod stated that most people get standing cable flyes wrong. He said:
“One common mistake is that you guys tend to use the same positioning each and every time. Change up the position of the pulley. Go high, go midpoint, go low. When you do the low, bring it up. What you want to do is you want to create variation so that your chest does not get used to the same exercises week to week, chest workout to chest workout. When you give variation, you’ll get muscle.”
Most experts in the bodybuilding industry are backing Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan to repeat as the top two competitors at the 2023 Olympia. Both men have looked phenomenal in their recent physique updates. However, hungry contenders like Nick Walker, Samson Dauda, and Andrew Jacked have also been making rapid improvements to stake claim at the Mr.Olympia title. It will be interesting to see how things play out on November 5.
Watch the full FST-7 workout video below, courtesy of Evogen Nutrition’s official YouTube channel: