A few weeks after starting the competition prep for 2023 Olympia, Derek Lunsford partnered with his 212 division predecessor Flex Lewis for an intense chest workout. The duo discussed bodybuilding training and diet over the course of the workout and shared their wisdom. The video of this session was posted on Derek Lunsford’s personal YouTube channel.
Derek Lunsford is the former 212 Olympia champion. He won the title at 2021 Olympia by defeating Shaun Clarida but did not stay in the division to become dominant champion. Instead, the 30-year-old made the transition to the Men’s Open division in 2022 and secured a runner-up finish at the 2022 Olympia behind Hadi Choopan. Lunsford is backed by many experts as the favorite heading into 2023 Olympia. However, everyone agrees that he needs to make improvements in certain areas to be able to edge past reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan.
Meanwhile, Flex Lewis is the most dominant champion in the history of the 212 division. He holds the record for winning seven consecutive 212 Olympia titles from 2012 to 2018 Olympia. While fans were eager to see him take on the Men’s Open division, Lewis decided to call it a career amidst rumors of his Open debut. He is enjoying the retired life and continues working on himself in the gym to get ‘bigger, stronger and faster’.
Derek Lunsford is getting ready for the 2023 Olympia and his competition prep started a few weeks ago. He also shared his full day of eating and supplement stack recently with his followers. His predecessor Flex Lewis sees similarities between Lunsford and former 2-division UFC champion Conor McGregor. ‘The Welsh Dragon’ tells Lunsford that he has the potential to become the first-ever two division Olympia champion.
Derek Lunsford and Flex Lewis go through a chest workout
Derek Lunsford and Flex Lewis partnered for a chest workout as Lunsford is inching towards his goal of becoming a double champ. So let’s take a deep dive into the detailed account of this session and see how Lunsford is preparing to become the next Mr. Olympia.
Derek Lunsford and Flex Lewis started the workout with a cable crossover. Many people perceive this isolation exercise as another pump-inducing movement that can be a great finisher. However, cable crossover is far more than that. According to an ACE-sponsored study, this exercise ranks third in terms of pectoral muscle activation, just below bench press and pec deck flyes.
As a result, cable crossover is one of the best chest builders out there. The bodybuilder duo started out with a few warm-up sets of cable crossover and followed them up with some heavy working sets.
Seated Machine Chest Press
After getting a sufficient warm-up with cable crossover, the training partners took to seated machine chest presses on a plate-loaded machine. This exercise is a great alternative to bench press. It requires minimum set-up and can significantly reduce the risk of injury associated with free weight compound exercise. Being a compound movement, machine chest press activates anterior deltoid as well as triceps along with pectoral muscles.
Lewis and Lunsford cranked out some heavy sets of the exercise to get a good pump and took to another pressing movement next.
Machine Incline Chest Press
It is not possible to work a specific part of muscles through exercise modification. However, you can definitely put more emphasis on different parts of the muscles by modifying the form and position. Incline chest press emphasizes the clavicular head of the pectoral muscles or the upper pecs. It is a muscle group that many people struggle to develop. Therefore it is advisable to include incline pressing movements in the chest routine.
Lunsford and Lewis got a few good sets of machine incline chest press under their belts and took to the final exercise of the day.
Machine Incline Chest Flyes
While pressing movements improve the pushing strength of the upper body, flyes help build the adduction strength. Therefore it is essential to incorporate both types of movements in the training routine for complete chest development. Lunsford and Lewis capped the chest workout with a few solid sets of incline chest flyes on a plate-loaded machine and wrapped up the training session.
Overall, the workout included:
Flex Lewis discusses changes in competition prep and off-season training
While going through the workout, Derek Lunsford inquired Flex Lewis about how his training volume and frequency changed between off-season and competition prep at the peak of his career.
Lewis stated that the frequency of his workout changed from once a week to twice a week during competition prep. However, the number of exercises and number of reps per body part did not change much between off-season training and prep.
“But we would go at it and we would do five exercises. Sets wise, it was probably like, it all depends on the body part but like probably 20 to 26 sets.”
However, Lewis admitted that a consistent and systematic approach to training lacked when he was competing. Lunsford added that slowing things down a little bit in the off-season has helped him tremendously in recuperating.
Lunsford, who personally likes to back down a little bit during off-season, responded:
“Off-season, I’ve really found that whenever I kind of back off just a little bit here and there… You need to have hard and intense training sessions at least a couple of times a month… But I found out when I end up backing it off just a little bit, my body is more fresh and it ends up recovering, filling out and improving more.”
Derek Lunsford gives away the secret behind his narrow midsection
Lunsford and Lewis practiced posing during the workout. As Lunsford removed the t-shirt to flex the muscles in front of the mirror, Flex Lewis drew attention to the 30-year-old’s narrow midsection. Lunsford attributed it to his dietary preferences and stated:
“I actually think that you need to take a break from how many meals you’re eating. A lot of guys, they’re eating six or seven meals a day year round. That’s tons of protein I think you need to give your body a break. I think it’s okay that you back down the protein in the off-season a little bit… Especially when you have more calories like you have more carbs, you have more fats.”
Lunsford further added that he likes to restrict the protein intake to approximately 150 grams per day for weeks on end. This helps him give rest to the digestive system and allow the stomach to shrink down, giving the narrow look to the midsection.
While he does follow a strict five or six meals per day diet during competition prep, Lunsford feels he is much better off eating three nutrient dense meals.
Derek Lunsford’s transition to the Men’s Open division was met with a lot of optimism. While most experts had predicted the former 212 Olympia champion to shake up the division, no one could rightly predict how far he could go against the big boys. However, Lunsford is on the cusp of becoming the next Mr. Olympia if he does the right adjustments in the next sixteen weeks.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Derek Lunsford’s personal YouTube channel: