Derek Lunsford Trains Delts and Calves Before Demolishing a “Clean” Cheat Meal

IFBB Pro Lunsford shares his top training tips for delts, calves, and how to enjoy a “clean” cheat meal.

212 Olympia champion Derek Lunsford headed to the gym for a calf and delt workout. He shared his training session in a video posted to his Youtube channel on June 29th, 2022. Lunsford is preparing to compete at the 2022 Olympia, scheduled for Dec 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.

Lunsford will attempt to defend his 212 Olympia title from the likes of former 212 Olympia champions Kamal Elgargni and Shaun Clarida, the latter being dethroned by Lundsford in 2021. Check out the full video below, followed by the full workout details:

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Donkey Calf Raise Machine

The workout began with calves which Lunsford fired off with some bent-over donkey calf raises to warm up his calves and get some blood in the bulk of the muscle. Lundsford works up to 300 pounds on the exercise through five sets. Donkey calf raises are an old-school exercise from the Golden era of bodybuilding that involves bending over during a calf raise to train the muscles in the fully stretched position. They are great for adding thickness to the calf muscle when performed in a slow and controlled manner.

What is Lunsford’s secret to growing calves? He is a firm believer in tempo — slow, controlled reps, fully stretching the muscle, and focusing on a full range of motion.

Seated Calf Raises & Standing Smith Calf Raises on Plates

The second movement Lunsford trains is the seated calf raises to hit the soleus portion of the calf, a portion Lundsford has in surplus. He works his way up to two 45-pound weight plates and maintains complete control and tempo of every rep on his four sets.

It doesn’t take a lot of weight.

The third and final calf exercise was standing calf raises standing on weight plates in the Smith machine. Derek completes the exercise standing on plates to put more emphasis on the stretch.

That is all it takes; three exercises to build Olympia-level calves. The most critical aspects are consistency, control, tempo, and range of motion — all of which can carry over to any workout or exercise for muscle growth.


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A post shared by Derek Lunsford (@dereklunsford_)

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Standing Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises

Lundsford begins his delt portion of the workout with standing side dumbbell lateral raises to warm up the muscle and avoid injury.

I can’t just go right into heavy weight, even though I am amped up and ready to go.

Standing dumbbell lateral raises are the bread and butter of building capped 3D delts that give silhouettes on stage a wow factor. Most shoulder programs would be improved by adding them. Lundsford powers through several sets, getting wider and wider by the minute.

Seated Shoulder Press Nautilus Machine

Lunsford follows his lateral raises with seated Nautilus shoulder presses to target the front delt and add thickness to the entirety of the shoulder. The advantage of machines instead of free weight variations is tension can be kept on the muscle the entire movement — more tension results in more muscular stimulation leading to more muscular development.

Standing Overhead Y Cable Raises

Lunsford’s final delt exercise targets the rear delt and portions of the upper back as well. Lunsford uses two long cable handles (also known as D-handles) instead of a rope to feel the movement more in the rear delt. When etching detail into smaller muscles, feeling the muscle work is essential to ensure larger muscle groups aren’t compensating some of the load as fatigue sets in.

D-handles allow for a more free range of motion and more hand-placement variations. As Lunsford fatigues with one grip, he can switch it and knock out a couple more reps instead of burning out too early. Rear delts appreciate extended sets as more time under tension can lead to a better pump.


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Derek Lunsford’s Calf & Delt Workout

We’ve included the exercises in the same order performed during Derek Lunsford’s workout. Due to the video editing, we could not provide the exact number of sets and reps for each movement. 

  • Standing Donkey Calf Raises
  • Seated Calf Raises 
  • Standing Smith Calf Raises
  • Standing Dumbbell Side Lateral Raises
  • Seated Nautilus Shoulder Press
  • Standing Overhead Y Cable Raises

Post-Workout Cheat Meal

Lunsford proceeded to Le Mirage, a favorite Persian restaurant, for a “clean” cheat meal. Lunsford discusses how Persian cuisine is the perfect bodybuilding food:

It’s guilt free. It’s the perfect bodybuilding food. It’s like a cheat meal but not really, because it’s clean.

Even though the restaurant is not compromising flavor for its customer’s meals, Lunsford calls the cheat “clean,” presumably because his dish is lean grilled proteins, charred veggies, and rice. Assuming Lunsford maintains his portion sizes, the meal isn’t too far off what he might prep at home, barring the removal of some oils while cooking. Lundsford takes a dose of Evogen’s “Evolog,” a nutrient partitioning agent, to absorb the meal better.

Lunsford seems to have struck a good balance with his training and diet, allowing him to stay consistent in his off-season and pack on mass before starting his prep for the 2022 Olympia. If he successfully defends his title in Las Vegas, he will be the first 212 bodybuilder to win at least two consecutive Olympias since Flex Lewis.

Featured image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram