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My Training Evolution Heading Into the New Year

Many people have noticed the way I’ve evolved in my training philosophy over the last several years. In the beginning of my bodybuilding journey, as I just began learning about bodybuilding, I would simply YouTube IFBB Professional bodybuilders who I admired and watch the way they train in the gym. I wouldn’t just pick out the exercises and mimic their workouts, I would observe everything about their training. Considering there are four main ways to stimulate a muscle, I would take notice of not just the exercise, but also the weight they used, reps per set, tempo (or speed) of the reps, and the distance (range of motion) of the exercise. Each of these played a huge role in the way I would go to the gym and train that day. If you’re curious to do the same, type in “Derek Lunsford back workout” on YouTube and you’ll see a ton of videos of me training back. You may also stumble upon other IFBB Pro bodybuilders training back too. That’s a great start if you’re not sure what to do in the gym.

I lived and trained in Indiana for many years where I was limited in the number of gyms, equipment, and atmosphere at the gyms. I’m not knocking bodybuilding in Indiana and the Midwest—we are on the rise—but my entire training changed instantly when I moved to Florida and began training with a former IFBB Pro bodybuilder. During the one year of training this style, I learned an enormous amount about biomechanics and exercise execution. Since some of the training philosophies went against some of my beliefs, I chose to take what I had learned and implement what I thought worked well for me and throw out what didn’t. Had I not been disciplined and listened to my guidance 100%, I may have missed some of things that now benefit me and I may have also kept doing some of the things that could have held me back.

The training style during this time had a much slower tempo and lighter weight, but much more strict form on each exercise. The repetitions had to be executed perfectly. This helped me improve my mind to muscle connection and understand how to stimulate the proper muscles in each exercise.

Since practicing these techniques, I’ve somewhat meshed the two styles together. I believe there is great benefit to both styles of training. Only believing in one exact philosophy to training and always stimulating your muscle (and entire body) the same exact way will eventually hold a person back from making maximum progress. Remember, the four main ways to stimulate muscle are through changes in weight/resistance, repetitions, tempo/speed, and distance/range of motion. Changing any of these variables in training will ultimately lead you to progress, if you are giving 100% effort, and ignoring any one of them could hinder your progress. If you always change the exercise or the reps and tempo, but never allow yourself to lift heavy and intense, then I believe there’s a big piece missing in your training.

You need to lift heavy on the days you feel strong when warming up. Even if it’s supposed to be a “deload” day or a higher rep day, still go heavy and intense. Don’t wait for the “perfect” day to push the weights up. How are you ever going to get stronger if you don’t slap some weight on a bar and move it as many times as you can? The problem with going by how you feel is that there will be many days you think you’re weak or tired so you don’t push yourself.Very few people know when backing off is better than pushing harder. To most people that means giving less effort. To me it means I’m still going to fuck up the weights. Giving 100% effort every single day is a fail proof way to see results.

I have a new attitude heading into the new year—enough of this soft, everybody-pat-each-other-on-the-back mentality. I’m competing and training to dominate. I’ve been soft to my competitors in the past. The Olympia title is the most prestigious title in all of Professional bodybuilding. If you don’t think I’m hungrier than ever and want to murder the weights every single day, you’ve got another thing coming. I don’t just have the desire to win; I’m training every damn day to crush my competitors’ spirit. My former wrestling/warrior mentality that got me to where I am is about to be taken to another level. It’s time to take everything I’ve learned and experienced and put it into action. It’s about to be game over for anyone challenging me on ANY bodybuilding stage.

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