Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford hasn’t slowed down in the gym much after finishing second at the 2022 Mr. Olympia back in December — his debut in the Men’s Open division. His YouTube channel is packed with new workouts every week, where he walks subscribers through his latest routines, detailing how and why he trains the way he does.
In a video published on March 14, 2023, Lunsford gave pointers on how to attack chest day — more specifically, why he opts for the pec deck over cables or dumbbells for chest flyes. Watch the full workout below:
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Pec Deck Vs. Cable Flyes
Rather than going right into compound (multi-joint) movements like the bench press to start his chest training, Lunsford warms up with an isolation movement like flyes first. His primary isolation movement is the pec deck machine, which he says is superior to cable and dumbbell flyes because of how much it emphasizes the chest.
“I like to use the pec deck machine because it has a back support, and that will help me stabilize my torso as I’m squeezing my chest,” Lunsford says in the video. “I was putting more emphasis on the actual pec muscles rather than swinging with the cables or the free weights.”
[Related: 9 Dumbbell Flye Variations for a Bigger Chest and Stronger Presses]
Lunsford mentioned that the pec deck allows the scapula to “wrap” around the bench since it’s much narrower than a conventional weight bench. This enables a greater range of motion during the flye, further activating his pecs.
Accessory exercises like flyes are important as they have carryover to compound movements, such as the bench press. The benefit of doing them on a machine — whether on the pec deck or with cables — is that they isolate the chest muscles by removing the stabilizers as a limiting factor.
Lunsford’s Pec Deck Tips
While performing the pec deck flye, the 2021 212 Olympia champion shared some essential tips to activate the chest muscles fully:
“I’m really trying to push my back into the pad, so it really stabilizes my upper body as I push,” Lunsford says. “I’m not just pulling [the weight across my chest] using my biceps. My first thought is to push forward.”
By pushing the weight forward rather than pulling it across with his biceps, Lunsford activates the pec muscles to their fully contracted position. Lunsford recommends keeping the palms open when pressing the weight together to make the lift more challenging and allow mind-muscle connection to shorten the fibers of the pecs.
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Featured Image: Derek Lunsford on YouTube