Simply over one month into 2023, anybody with a set of eyeballs and entry to social media can see that Derek Lunsford’s New Yr’s resolutions should have included by no means becoming comfortably into a wise automobile and having to show barely when strolling by means of doorways. On the very least, it was to pack even more muscle onto his frame and he’s off to a sizzling begin.
In 2022, the 212 Olympia winner moved up a weight class and entered the Males’s Open division of the Olympia. Lunsford positioned second to Hadi Choopan, solidifying himself as a possible prime canine in bodybuilding’s premier division whereas producing heaps of hype headed into 2023.
On Feb. 7, 2023, Lunsford posted a full leg day session to his YouTube channel. The fitness center that Lunsford was in wasn’t named, however the video confirmed followers what a bigger, well-fed Derek can do with out the limitation of a 212-pound weight cap looming on the finish of the 12 months.
Lunsford’s Leg Exercise
To evaluate the exercise’s focus, bodybuilding coaching is about stimulating the goal muscle(s) to spark muscle growth (aka hypertrophy). What workouts you carry out isn’t essentially as essential as progressively doing extra work every time you step foot into the fitness center — most frequently within the type of loading extra weight, performing extra reps, or each.
Because of this, it’s commonplace to see bodybuilders range their routines barely from exercise to exercise. On the elite stage, particulars are all the things. For instance, if an athlete is making an attempt to deliver up their hamstrings, they could add extra hinging movements in comparison with squatting workouts. This explicit exercise was a hamstring-dominant leg day, and Lunsford carried out a number of hamstring-focused actions to prioritize the muscle group.
Right here’s a take a look at the lower body exercises Lunsford and his coaching companions carried out, together with ideas for how one can get essentially the most out of the identical motion.
Mendacity Leg Curl
Why Do it: Curling weight from a inclined place ensures that almost all of the stress is positioned in your hamstrings — the muscle you’re making an attempt to focus on. It’s additionally comparatively simple to carry out, making a terrific selection for trainees of any expertise stage.
How one can Do it: Lie face down on the machine. Set the pad to sit down simply above your heels and guarantee you could full the motion with a full vary of movement. Seize a deal with in every hand, brace your core, and curl the pad as near your butt as snug. Decrease the load slowly (attempt counting to 3) earlier than initiating the subsequent rep.
Lunsford Says: “It’s a really humbling machine,” Lunsford notes within the video “You do not want a whole lot of weight.”
Why Do it: A detailed cousin to the deadlift, the stiff-leg model has the lifter full a standard deadlift with a shorter vary of movement and with much less of a bend of their knees. This type tweak locations extra stress on the hamstrings. The stiff-leg deadlift additionally engages the decrease again as you frequently hinge up and down with out placing the load down.
How one can Do it: Load a barbell with much less weight than you’d use for a conventional deadlift. Arrange along with your regular stance whereas bending your legs barely, after which carry the barbell off the bottom. Maintain your core tight and decrease the bar to the center of your shins. Carry out gradual and managed repetitions.
Lunsford Says: “Now that now we have blood again there, and it’s type of tight, I need to do a stretching motion. … That is an train that you simply’re far more more likely to tear a muscle in comparison with different ones,” Lunsford notes. “We’re actually pumped up within the hamstrings from what we did a minute a go [lying leg curls] … we’re making an attempt to open up the muscle fibers by stretching the muscle.”
Why Do it: This machine version of the squat can assist you develop your quadriceps. The profit that comes with that is that you simply don’t need to be involved with stabilizing the load as you’ll a barbell, which permits extra focus in your legs and fewer in your supportive core or again muscular tissues.
How one can Do it: Every squat machine may have its personal producer’s directions based mostly on the precise design, which it is best to comply with. The last word objective is to really feel secure with the load, decrease your self as far down towards the ground as you safely can, so you’re feeling the stretch within the prime of your thighs. Utilizing drive by means of your ft, push your self again as much as the standing place.
Lunsford Says: Lunsford defined that he usually performs belt squats as an alternative, however he opted to carry out this motion as a substitution. He prompt alternating rep velocity with this train. “5 gradual, 5 quick, 5 gradual, 5 quick.”
Seated Leg Curl
Why Do it: The benefit to doing a seated model of the leg curl is that your hips are bent, which may cut back activation of your glutes and aid you isolate the hamstrings. This motion could be performed with one leg or each concurrently.
How one can Do it: When you’re secured within the seat and have adjusted the thigh pad and ankle pad (above your knees and simply above your ankles, respectively), bend your knees and contract your hamstrings to drive the footpad down. Your legs ought to a minimum of break 90-degrees (pointed towards the ground) on the backside — if mobility permits, curl your ft beneath the seat close to your glutes. Slowly return the load to the prolonged place and repeat.
Lunsford Says: “At this level, all of the arduous stuff is finished,” Lunsford defined. “You’re going to push your self, however the ones which might be actually going to tax the CNS [central nervous system], the place you actually need to dig deep and pull out these couple further reps, these gained’t be so taxing on you. This further stuff is a bonus so that you can simply get higher. Each rep, each set, you’re enhancing.”
Why Do it: The leg extension provides the same profit to the seated leg curl, besides that it isolates the quadriceps as an alternative of the hamstrings. It may be used for warming-up the knees in addition to constructing the quad muscular tissues.
How one can Do it: When you’re seated with the leg extension pad on the prime of your ankles, press your legs in opposition to the pad to straighten your legs. Proceed lifting till you’re feeling a full contraction within the prime of the thighs. Slowly return to the beginning place and repeat.
Lunsford Says: The main focus at this stage was extra about reaching high-quality contractions moderately than utilizing essentially the most weight and performing most reps. “Simply commonplace tempo, commonplace rep velocity, simply straight units.” he mentioned.
Why Do it: Most variations of this machine work will let you carry out each workouts in the identical station. The adduction will goal the interior thighs whereas the kidnapping will assist develop the outer portion of the realm.
How one can Do it: When you’re seated, decide which motion you want to begin with. Adduction requires you to press the pads in in the direction of the middle whereas abduction name so that you can press them out.
Maintain your legs bent always and slowly management the load. There must be no jerking or explosive actions. Maintain every contraction and stretched place for a quick second earlier than resuming the subsequent rep.
Lunsford Says: He shared no particular ideas on these explicit workouts, however you’ll be able to see his gradual and calculated actions all through the units. The machine’s stability allowed him to maintain his arms involved with the working muscular tissues, additional enhancing his mind-muscle connection for a stronger contraction.
Right here’s a common information to the complete exercise:
- Mendacity Leg Curl: 5 x 15, adopted by 1 drop set of 15 or extra whole reps
- Stiff-Legged Deadlift: 3 x 10-15
- Machine Squat: 4 x 15
- Seated Leg Curl: 3 x 15
- Leg Extension: 3 x 15-20
- Abductor/Adductor Machine: 3 x 10
The Subsequent Step for Lunsford
By incomes second place within the 2022 Mr. Olympia, Lunsford is one among six athletes presently certified to compete within the 2023 version. On the time of this text’s publication, different confirmed opponents embrace 2023 Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan, 2020-2021 champion Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, 2019 Mr. Olympia Brandon Curry, Nick Walker who positioned third on the 2022 Olympia after profitable the 2021 Arnold Classic, and newcomer Brett Wilkins who will make his Olympia stage debut in 2023.
Lunsford isn’t anticipated to compete once more till he returns to the Olympia stage, Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, FL, the place he’ll hope to enhance on his 2022 runner-up standing. After hypothesis that he could compete as one of many entrants within the 2023 Arnold Classic, March 2-5, Lunsford revealed that he had no intentions of getting into that contest.
Lunsford seems to be totally centered on changing into the primary bodybuilder to win each a 212 Olympia and a Mr. Olympia title. If he maintains the depth and drive demonstrated by means of this intense leg exercise, it would simply develop into a actuality.
Featured Picture: Derek Lunsford / YouTube