Bodybuilder Chris Bumstead Leaves No Weight Unlifted With Punishing Leg Workout
As one of bodybuilding’s biggest superstars, Bumstead used this demanding leg routine to ease back into his training.
It takes a lot of energy to win bodybuilding’s most prestigious competition once, let alone three consecutive times. For Chris “CBum” Bumstead — who is chasing his fourth straight Classic Physique Olympia title (2019-2021) — it’s essential to find moments for a mental break before pushing it again.
That seems to be the plan of the 27-year-old bodybuilder. Bumstead recently took a five-day training reprieve before jumping back in full steam ahead with a leg workout he shared over his YouTube channel on June 23, 2022.
With roughly 1.9 million subscribers on his YouTube channel, Bumstead doesn’t seem shy about sharing his training progress or insights into his thought process. Some of the more notable videos CBum has shared recently center on how he avoids burnout, one of his arm workouts, and a meal-by-meal walkthrough of a day’s worth of nutrition.
This latest leg workout follows Bumstead’s apparent pattern of meticulously documenting a potential journey to the top of the Classic Physique Olympia podium again.
Bumstead’s Brutal Leg Day
Before Bumstead begins the workout, he notes an important disclaimer. The bodybuilder says it’s been approximately two weeks since he last trained his legs. As a result, he wants to ease back in gradually. Nonetheless, the entire routine doesn’t appear any less challenging.
Sets and Reps: Warmup for an undisclosed time
While stepping slowly on a StairMaster machine — which Bumstead says helps warm up his knees — he explains where his health stands after his time away from the gym.
“I don’t know why, but taking time off should usually leave you feeling rested, but it leaves me feeling tired, tighter, and more broken than I was before,” Bumstead says. “But I’m sure it’s still good for my nervous system to take a break.”
Alternating Single-Leg Extension
Sets and Reps: 2 x 20-plus
In the first part of his weight training, Bumstead locks out some single-leg extensions, alternating sets on each leg. Before moving on, the bodybuilder elaborates that this part of his workout isn’t about exhaustive weight.
That’s a lot of cardio … I hit 23 on the first set, 21 on the second, just trying to get a lot of volume.
Hip Adduction Machine
Sets and Reps: Undisclosed
As he prepares to hit the back squat, Bumstead maintains he likes to first loosen his hips up on the hip adduction (or moving a body part toward the middle of the body) machine. He says the hip movement “helps you get deep into the squat.”
Research affirms Bumstead’s sentiments as one study confirmed that tighter and often, in turn, weaker hips led to less stability and muscle activation during a deep back squat rep. (1)
Smith Machine Back Squat
Sets and Reps: 2 x 11-12
Once he warms up his hips, Bumstead shifts to a couple of working back squat sets on a Smith Machine. The athlete notes he prefers a close stance in this instance — where the feet are shoulder-width apart or even narrower — because it allows him to achieve more depth.
“I was trying to do almost like a front squat closed stance to really emphasize my quads,” Bumstead says while slightly breathless. “So second set was just high volume, closed stance, trying to burn my quads.”
Alternating Single-Leg Leg Press
Sets and Reps: 2 x 7-10
After finishing his primary compound movement of the day, Bumstead does single-leg leg presses, alternating sets on each leg. According to the bodybuilder, he mainly enjoys the single-leg leg press because it allows him to maintain a balance in strength in both legs.
“… I can get a little bit more range of motion to prevent one from being lopsided,” Bumstead says. “Especially because I have a tight erector on my right side right now, which can cause me to favor my left leg. So, [I’m] avoiding that, by doing one leg at a time.”
Seated Calf Raise
Sets and Reps: 5 x 8-10
To finish his workout, Bumstead uses what appears to be left of his energy on some seated calf raises.
“Muscular endurance seems to drop quickly after taking time off,” Bumstead says after a calf-raise set. “But my knees hurt more at the beginning and hurt less now.”
Back in the Saddle
With Bumstead pushing himself back to his usual high capacity, it seems the bodybuilder didn’t miss a beat in his short time away from the gym. Judging by how seamless his leg workout appeared, a fourth consecutive Classic Physique Olympia title might soon come into the athlete’s purview.
The 2022 Mr. Olympia will take place on December 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
Si-Hyun, K., Oh-Yun, K., Kyue-Nam, P., In-Cheol, J., Jong-Hyuck, W. (2015) Lower Extremity Strength and the Range of Motion in Relation to Squat Depth. Journal of Human Kinetics. 2015 Mar; 45: 59–69.
Featured image: @cbum on Instagram