Rising IFBB Pro League Star, Derek Lunsford

The shoulder workout that landed him in the top 5 in his first 212 Olympia.



ACTION: Stand holding a pair of light dumbbells at your sides (palms facing in) with your elbows and knees slightly bent. Maintaining only a slight bend in your elbows, raise the dumbbells up and out to the sides by contracting your deltoids. When your arms reach parallel with the floor, pause for a count, then slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position.

LUNSFORD'S TIP: “As you lift the dumbbells up, lead with your elbows. And at the top, stop when your arms are parallel with the floor. If you go higher than that, you start using the traps. If you’re trying to incorporate your traps, that’s fine. But for me, I’m trying to work straight delts with this exercise.”


ACTION: Sit on a low-back seat or an adjustable bench (set to an upright position) holding a pair of dumbbells. Lift the dumbbells, and begin with them just outside your shoulders, palms facing forward. Press the dumbbells straight up by contracting your delts and extending your elbows until the weights are overhead with your arms just short of locked out. Slowly lower the dumbbells back to the start position.

LUNSFORD'S TIP: “I really make sure to maintain constant tension on the delts the entire time on these by not locking out the elbows at the top (which would use the triceps mainly). And coming down, you don’t necessarily need to lower the dumbbells all the way—just to where your upper arms are parallel with the floor, same as with lateral raises.”


ACTION: Attach a long straight bar to a low pulley cable. Stand facing the stack, and grasp the bar with a shoulder-width, overhand grip. Begin with your arms extended toward the floor and your knees slightly bent. Contract your deltoids and bend your elbows to pull the bar up to chest level. Hold for a count at the top, then slowly return to the start position. 

LUNSFORD'S TIP: “I like to take a wide grip on upright rows to really target the middle delt and make it pop. When doing cable upright rows, you can use a lat pulldown bar to achieve that wider hand placement. If I’m using a barbell, I’ll put my middle finger or ring finger in the groove between the grips. Going this wide might feel uncomfortable at first, but as you start to perform the exercise, it feels really natural.”


ACTION: Stand facing a lat pulldown machine with a rope (not a bar) attached to the cable. Grasp the rope with both hands, palms facing downward. Start by leaning back slightly and your arms extended in front of your face. Pull the rope toward your forehead, leading with your elbows so they point out to the sides. Pull your hands apart as much as the rope will allow. When your hands reach your head, squeeze the contraction hard in your rear delts and upper back, then return to the start position.

LUNSFORD'S TIP: “I do face-pulls to hit my rear delts, but you’re going to hit some traps with it, too. There’s no getting around that. To hit the rear delts more, focus on pulling your hands apart on each rep as much as the rope will allow, which will sort of simulate a rear-delt flye.”


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