Derek Lunsford’s special invite to compete in Men’s Open at the 2022 Mr. Olympia was a significant development. It upends the current 212 Olympia lineup — since Lunsford will no longer defend his 212 title from 2021 — and adds another potential top-five finisher to an already stacked Mr. O roster.
On Sept. 22, 2022, Lunsford posted one of his first official Men’s Open Olympia prep workout videos to his YouTube channel. Titled “Brutal Leg Day,” it certainly lives up to its billing. Check it out:
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Derek Lunsford’s Olympia Prep Leg Workout
Lunsford’s leg workout in this video focuses on eight exercises, emphasizing high intensity and reps. Here are the moves he hits, followed by a breakdown of each:
- Standing Leg Curl
- Lying Hamstring Curl
- Seated Leg Curl
- Adductor Machine
- Belt Squat
- Leg Press
- Pendulum Squat
- Leg Extension
Standing Leg Curl
Lunsford uses the standing leg curl machine as a warm-up to get the blood flowing to his hamstrings and loosen up the muscles for the heavier lifts later. Though the video doesn’t show entire sets, Lunsford mentions that he does a minimum of 25 reps per warm-up set.
Lying Hamstring Curl
Regarding the lying leg curl machine, Lunsford has a simple philosophy for success.
“You have to be locked in your position and engage with the muscle,” Lunsford says. “But it really just comes down to your effort.” He adds that while weight and reps matter, it’s all about how much you squeeze during each rep to maximize the time under tension for the muscle.
Seated Leg Curl
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The key is to place the thigh pad, so it touches just above the knee while the lower leg pad is just above the shoe on the back of the leg. Get full extension on the legs and ensure the toes are pointed straight ahead throughout the rep.
Lunsford doesn’t detail this part of his workout. Still, as Classic Physique champ Chris Bumstead explained in one of his leg workout videos, the adductor machine provides a solid warm-up before squatting as it helps loosen the muscles needed at the bottom of the move. Lunsford will need it for what’s coming next.
Belt Squat Leg Press
If every workout has a main event, these belt squats would be it for Lunsford. He runs through several sets on this machine, but the final one is noteworthy.
Lunsford begins this final crushing set with four 45-pound weight plates on each side for 20 reps. Immediately after, a plate is taken from each side for 12 more reps. Then another is dropped for 14. Lunsford reps out 16 more with one plate on each side and shuffles off for a break.
“That was one of the most brutal sets that I’ve had in a long time. Maybe ever,” Lunsford says after collapsing into a heap. “I’m gonna be hurting for days.”
Next is the leg press, another foundational machine for building up the quads and the hamstrings. Sets and reps aren’t available, but the video does show Lunsford repping out eight 45-pound plates on each side.
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The pendulum squat machine might look like a hack squat, but there’s a big difference. With the hack squat, the body moves in a straight line, whereas the back pad on a pendulum squat swings with the user and allows for more bias towards the quads.
Lunsford’s former 212 rival, Shaun Clarida, recently highlighted the pendulum squat in his leg workout video, saying the key is to get as much depth as possible to maximize the move.
Lunsford ends this brutal workout with sets on the leg extension machine. Lunsford doesn’t emphasize heavy weight; instead, the focus is on high reps and a robust and muscle-exhausting finish.
The news of Lunsford’s move to Men’s Open is still fresh, but it’s already caused a lot of chatter in the bodybuilding world. Most notably, the 1983 Mr. Olympia, Samir Bannout, said he thinks Lunsford has everything it takes to finish in the top five at the show.
We’ll see how Lunsford adapts to his new division when he steps on stage at the 2022 Olympia on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
Featured Image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram