After conquering his division at the 2021 Olympia, 212 Mr. O Derek Lunsford has shifted his focus to a bigger (literally) goal. On the weekend of Dec. 16, Lunsford will travel to Las Vegas, NV, and compete in the Men’s Open division for the Mr. Olympia title — which is considered the ultimate achievement in bodybuilding.

The American bodybuilder is already considered big for his previous division. Still, he’ll have to size up to ensure he isn’t dwarfed by the likes of 2020-21 Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay, who weighed nearly 340 pounds in his offseason.

Throughout his prep, Lunsford has been sharing highlights of his training. On Nov. 7, 2022, the Indiana native posted a video of himself training shoulders on his YouTube channel. The day the video was filmed wasn’t shared, but it can be seen in its entirety below.

During the offseason — which, for IFBB Pro League bodybuilders of the highest level, runs from the end of the Olympia until 16 weeks prior — rumors began circulating that Lunsford would opt-in to the Mr. Olympia if given the chance.

And then, in September 2022, Mr. Olympia and Lunsford announced on Instagram that he would receive an invite for the show. Another former 212 Olympia, Shaun Clarida (2020), is qualified for the Men’s Open division at the 2022 Olympia. Though, it’s not yet confirmed which division he’ll be competing in.

If Lunsford won the 2022 Mr. Olympia, he’d be the first man to win two Olympia titles in two different divisions.

Lunsford’s Shoulder Workout

Here’s Lunsford’s workout in full, followed by a breakdown of each movement he used.

Train Like Lunsford

  • Seated Lateral Raise Machine: 5 x 12 + 12 forced reps
  • Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise: 3 x 10-12
  • Smith Machine Shoulder Press: 4 x 10-12
  • Dumbbell Front Raise: 3 x 10-12
  • Rear Lateral Raise: 3 x 10-12
  • Reverse Pec-Deck: 3 x 10-12
  • Face Pull: 3 x 10-12

Seated Lateral Raise Machine

Lunsford’s first exercise was the seated lateral raise machine to target the side delts. After his first set, he mentioned taking a few sets to get warmed up. 

“It takes me several sets to get my muscles livened up.”

Only two of his sets were shown in its entirety, and he performed 12 reps in one and 12 plus forced reps in another. He was seen using the machine for five sets. After the fourth and fifth sets, he could be seen hitting poses to analyze his progress.

Dumbbell Lateral Raise

The second exercise was another lateral raise, but this time with dumbbells. The current, but not defending, Olympia 212 winner is focusing on width with these exercises. He opted to use the seated version to enforce proper form and use less weight. In between sets of 10-12 reps, he could be seen talking to another Olympia 212 winner — 2019 champion Kamal Elgargni.

For his third set, Lunsford started seated, then stood up to get a few extra reps without having to lower the weight. 

Smith Machine Shoulder Press

The third movement for this session was the Smith machine shoulder press, which emphasizes the front delts. He started with one 45-pound plate on each side of the bar, then two, then three plates per side for two sets. Lunsford explained why he stuck with the same weight for the last two sets.

“I don’t feel like I need to set any PR’s…Today, I don’t feel like that’s necessary or even a good idea to be honest.”

Dumbbell Front Raise

Lunsford then performed another front delt movement. He did dumbbell front raises by bringing both dumbbells up and in front of him simultaneously. He kept the range of motion to shoulder level to focus on the shoulders instead of the traps. He explained that his motion helped target the upper chest as well.

He changed his motion on the third set to mimic a “Y” formation to focus on the delts a little differently. 

Rear Delt Work

Lunsford and his training partner stayed in the same place for the next exercise, but they changed the focus to the rear delts.

After three sets of that exercise, they changed to the reverse pec-deck machine, where they performed three sets as well. Lunsford had only planned on doing two movements for the rear delts, but he chose to add face pulls to make it three exercises for that area.


The 2017 NPC USA champion added biceps to the agenda on this day, and he chose cable curls to work with. He hit additional poses in between his three sets. This was the conclusion of the training session.

Lunsford will be looking to dethrone defending Mr. Olympia Mamdouh “Big Ramy” Elssbiay to become the 17th man to win bodybuilding’s biggest title in December. If he wins, he will be the first man to win the Olympia in two different divisions. If you want to try a similar version of Lunsford’s workout, you can follow the sample routine above. Olympia qualification not guaranteed.

Featured Image: Derek Lunsford on YouTube