Watch Derek Lunsford’s Approach to His Perfect Posing Routine

The Men’s Open competitor walked his followers through his posing practice and composition.

IFBB pro Derek Lunsford is widely regarded as one of the must-watch bodybuilders at the 2022 Olympia, as he may be a threat to two-time reigning Mr. Olympia champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay’s crown. Lunsford is the reigning 212 Olympia champion and received a special invitation to make his Men’s Open Olympia debut in 2022.

In a YouTube video published on Oct. 20, 2022, Lunsford pulled back the curtain on his planned Olympia posing routine at M140 Gym in Tampa, FL. The video also covered he creates his posing routines that effectively display his massive physique with balanced proportions.

I might be a little too big to do some of the poses. I am so excited about this routine…gonna be awesome.

Watch Lunsford’s posing in the video below: 

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The vlog opened with Lunsford at a tanning salon — a necessity for some lighter-complected bodybuilders as they get closer to the show, so they have a base tan. Lunsford briefly explained that he slowly goes up in the amount of time he tans per day so as not to burn. He only tans for shows rather than year-round, as evidence suggests tanning beds are unhealthy for the skin. (1)(2)(3)

Posing Coach Feedback

Lunsford met with his posing coach, IFBB pro Women’s Physique competitor Rachel Daniels, to discuss and critique Lunsford’s Olympia posing routine. Lunsford was concerned about some poses hurting his knees but wanted to display his physique fully.

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Daniels assured Lunsford in his first posing practice that he was already performing his routine well. Fine-tuning details and the flow from pose to pose through every pose is the target.

It is going to be a big statement to the whole league that posing isn’t dead, and the big guys don’t have any excuse.

Lunsford’s shoulders elevate the quality of his posing. Daniels seemed surprised that she could create a more classic posing routine with a much larger athlete like Lunsford. A custom posing routine designed for Lunsford is a significant confidence boost for him.

I am actually having fun with it

Daniels explained that it can be nerve-racking for most competitors to put in so much work in the gym and dieting and still potentially miss the mark because of their posing.

Any Olympian should have no potential left on the table, posing…included.

Lunsford doesn’t want to have avoidable regrets post-Olympia. He aims to produce the best posing routine possible to look back in the future, knowing he delivered his best.

Lunsford’s Posing Routine & Style

Lunsford expressed to Daniels two main concerns with his routine: smoothness of transitions and timing.

The musicality, the tempo, the rhythm, and the timing that’s all going to come with the confidence of practicing.

Daniels assured Lunsford there is plenty of time, and he is effectively halfway to a stage-ready routine with nine weeks until the 2022 Olympia weekend. She suggested playing the song throughout the day to grow more comfortable with the rhythm.

Play [the song] when you’re driving, when you’re practicing — that will help with the timing. It’s like muscle memory.

When Daniels creates posing routines, she fits them to their style, designing for how they pose while leaving space for interpretation and improvements.

I am like a storyteller trying to tell their story.

Daniels’ song choice ignites the process — Lunsford’s story revolves around it, and he recognized the conscious effort to personalize it.

You didn’t put a posing routine together for you, you put a posing routine together for me.

Lunsford and Daniels proceeded to flow through Lunsford’s routine, making adjustments as needed. Daniels has longed to build posing routines for “the big boys,” believing it’s possible to display one’s body appropriately, no matter their size.

Larger Bodybuilders Posing

Daniels dislikes that many Open and 212 bodybuilders’ posing routines in the current day are unlike those of the Golden Era. She believes, to some degree, it is a lost art. 

A lot of people say it’s because they are too big now, they just can’t do it.

Daniels called that notion out as she worked with three-time Mr. Olympia runner-up Kai Greene, who would spend countless hours with her to master his routine.

Lunsford has the entire routine in his head and needs to match the poses to the music. Daniels explained that once the anxiety from anticipation disappears, Lunsford can have more fun showing off his style and confidence.

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There is an excellent benefit to Lunsford hammering down his routine early. As he gets deeper into his prep, he won’t have to worry about choreography and can rely somewhat on autopilot. Lunsford and Daniels will meet up again as the Olympia approaches to finalize any remaining details of the routine before.

Looking Ahead

Lunsford’s move to the Men’s Open division is still relatively 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.

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.


  1. Laughter, M. R., Anderson, J. B., Aguilera, M. N., Sadeghpour, M., & Pugliano-Mauro, M. (2021). Indoor tanning: Evidence surrounding advertised health claims. Clinics in dermatology39(5), 865–872.
  2. Woo, D. K., & Eide, M. J. (2010). Tanning beds, skin cancer, and vitamin D: An examination of the scientific evidence and public health implications. Dermatologic therapy23(1), 61–71.
  3. Schulman, J. M., & Fisher, D. E. (2009). Indoor ultraviolet tanning and skin cancer: health risks and opportunities. Current opinion in oncology21(2), 144–149.

Featured Image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram