Samir Bannout Says Derek Lunsford Can Crack the Top 5 at the 2022 Mr. Olympia

The 1983 Mr. Olympia winner has thoughts on where the 2021 212 champ will end up.

On September 15, 2022, news broke that 2021’s 212 Olympia champion Derek Lunsford received a special invite to compete in the Open Bodybuilding division at the 2022 Olympia. This move, while expected, still caused a ripple effect throughout the sport.

Now, not only will Lunsford not defend his 212 title in Las Vegas this December, but he’s joining an already packed field of competitors vying for the Mr. Olympia crown. On the September 20th episode of The Muscle Maturity Podcast, Samir Bannout, the 1983 Mr. Olympia, gave his thoughts on how Lunsford will fare at the show.

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Bannout on Derek Lunsford

During a conversation about the current Olympia lineup, the show’s co-host, Nick Trigili, asked Bannout where he thinks Lunsford will place this year. And it turns out that the former Mr. O is high on Lunsford’s chances.

I think Derek has the tools to be in the top five [and] maybe higher,” Bannout says. But he’s also quick to point out that he still needs to work on his posing.


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[Related: Bodybuilder Derek Lunsford Shares His Mass-Building Diet to Prepare for the 2022 Olympia]

“Derek is incredible, but [I see] major flaws in his posing,” says Bannout, who mostly has issues with the way Lunsford sets his feet and calves during his routine.

Co-host Trigili agrees, saying, “I think the back poses, for sure, need a lot of work. His foot placement; I hate it. His legs [are too far apart].”

Bannout also mentions that Lunsford needs to concentrate on getting “super sliced” come showtime.

“​​Once these guys get super big, they’re not getting that […] gnarly-looking muscularity because there’s more volume in the muscles, there’s more roundness,” Bannout says. “[When] you’re looking at them from close up, [you] don’t see every fiber and detail.”

The Art of the Pose

On the flip side of Lunsford, Bannout had nothing but praise for Hunter Labrada’s posing during the show. While he says someone like Nick Walker may outsize Labrada, Labrada “will do the right poses” on stage, allowing his routine to flow.

Bannout also mentions that Labrada’s dad — former Mr. Universe (1985), Lee Labrada — was “one of the best in the business at posing,” which he says could be invaluable to Hunter during prep. According to Hunter’s Instagram page, he and his dad craft his posing routine together, right down to the music. And it’s something they both take seriously.

“While there isn’t a scored posing round at the [Olympia], that doesn’t mean you can’t make a meaningful impression with your posing, and I intend to do that and then some,” Hunter Labrada writes in his Instagram caption.


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Hunter Labrada took fourth place at the 2021 Mr. Olympia. And while Bannout didn’t give a concrete prediction on his placing in 2022, both Trigili and co-host John Hansen believe he’ll finish in the top five or six.

More 2022 Olympia Predictions

Want to know what some of the other top names in the industry think will happen at the 2022 Mr. Olympia? Here are more predictions:

Featured Image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram