PR Alert: Derek Lunsford Hack Squats 900 Pounds for 12 Reps

The reigning Mr. Olympia champion Derek Lunsford is working hard in the gym, striving for new personal records (PR) each week as he trains for his first title defense at the 2024 Olympia (Oct. 10-13) in Las Vegas, NV.

On May 24, 2024, Lunsford published a video on his YouTube channel sharing his intense lower body workout designed to maximize strength and muscle growth during his bulking phase. “I’m currently the strongest I have ever been, and the chest and legs are where I have seen the most strength and performance improvement,” said Lunsford. 

Derek Lunsford’s Off-Season Leg Workout

Here is a summary of the training session:

Leg Extensions

Lying Leg Curl

Hack Squat

Vertical Leg Press

Standing Calf Raises

Check it out below:

[Related: A Guide to the Best Pre-Workouts, Tested and RD Approved]

Leg Extensions & Lying Leg Curl

Lunsford opens with leg extensions to bias the quads. He employs isometric holds in the fully shortened position to warm his joints, increase the blood flow to the target muscles, and deepen his mind-muscle connection. He performs slow, controlled reps with a peak contraction pause to maximize the time under tension (TUT) and muscle growth. (1)

Maintaining the same form cues from the previous exercise, Lunsford paused at the top of his range of motion (ROM) during leg curls to maximize hamstring fiber stimulation. He kept his shoulders and hips aligned.

Hack Squat

On the hack squats, Lunsford aims for maximum knee flexion during eccentrics for a deep quad stretch. He fully extends his knees at the top for a sharp contraction. 

Lunsford added a resistance band to the top of the hack squat machine to tweak its resistance profile. The band eases tension during the eccentrics, which helps him get out of the hole more easily.

The 31-year-old begins the hack squat with three 45-pound weight plates per side, increasing it to five for his second set. With knee sleeves for support, he progresses to seven plates per side on the third set and nine on the fourth.

In the top set, Lunsford performs 12 reps with 10 plates on each side, surpassing his previous PR of 10 reps with the same weight.

Vertical Leg Press

Lundsford used the FST-7 (Fascia Stretch Training 7) protocol for the vertical leg press, a method designed to promote muscle growth by expanding and restructuring the fascia. (2)

FST-7 comprises seven working sets of eight to 12 reps on the final exercise of a workout to thoroughly fatigue the muscles and maximize blood flow for an extreme muscle pump. This targeted muscle stress stimulates hypertrophy and improves fascial elasticity, which can enhance muscle definition. 

Lunsford employed slow eccentrics on the vertical leg press to achieve a deep quad, hamstring, and adductor stretch, optimizing muscle growth. He performed seven sets of the exercise with 30-second rest intervals between each. 

The Indiana native kept his feet on the machine’s platform throughout the seven sets. This inverted position, a form of blood-flow restriction resistance training (BFRRE), can potentially intensify lactic acid build-up, resulting in a significant muscle pump and enhancing muscle size and strength gains. (3)

Standing Calf Raises

Lunsford concluded the workout with standing calf raises to bias the gastrocnemius muscle. He employed slow eccentrics and held the peak contraction to stimulate muscle growth. As he approached mechanical failure, he switched to a faster rep cadence to maximize training volume.


Wilk M, Zajac A, Tufano JJ. The Influence of Movement Tempo During Resistance Training on Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy Responses: A Review. Sports Med. 2021;51(8):1629-1650. doi:10.1007/s40279-021-01465-2

Chris and Frederick (2020) Does fascia stretch?: 10: Fascia, function, and medical applications, Taylor & Francis. Available at: (Accessed: 27 May 2024).

Bjørnsen, T., Wernbom, M., Paulsen, G., Berntsen, S., Brankovic, R., Stålesen, H., Sundnes, J., & Raastad, T. (2021). Frequent blood flow restricted training not to failure and to failure induces similar gains in myonuclei and muscle mass. Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports, 31(7), 1420–1439.

Featured image: @dereklunsford_ on Instagram

The post PR Alert: Derek Lunsford Hack Squats 900 Pounds for 12 Reps appeared first on BarBend.


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