Chris Bumstead has an argument for being one of the more accomplished and recognizable faces in modern bodybuilding. Yet, despite his successful run, he isn’t satisfied. The three-time reigning Classic Physique Olympia champ (2019-2021) is pushing hard to make it four consecutive championships this December.
On Oct. 5, 2022, over his YouTube channel, Bumstead shared a comprehensive look at his recent training. This time, he focused on his legs. After already diagramming how he trains aspects of his body like arms and shoulders earlier in the off-season — the new clip is another detailed look at how one of bodybuilding’s superstars is preparing for the Olympia stage again.
[Related: How to Do the Standing Calf Raise for Complete Leg Development]
Here’s a complete rundown of Bumstead’s latest “killer leg day” before the 2022 Mr. Olympia commences on Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV.
Seated Leg Curl, Leg Extension, Hip Adduction
Bumstead treated the first part of his leg workout like a warm-up. He didn’t have a concrete number of repetitions or sets he wanted to reach. It was more about getting his lower body muscles prepared for the meat and potatoes of his training session. The leg curls and leg extension were for Bumstead’s hamstrings and quads, while a few sets on a hip adduction machine loosened up his adductor muscles along the inner midline of his thighs.
Mid-way through this warm-up series, Bumstead removed his shoes and trained in socks for the remainder of his workout. He has previously stated this leg day ritual helps him feel more stable during exercises and improves his mind-muscle connection.
For his first big movement of the day, Bumstead started with some hack squats. The athlete did an initial set without any plates attached to the machine to get a sense of the movement, and slowly added weight as he progressed. Bumstead’s final working set featured him completing nine reps with nine 45-pound plates on each side, followed by a “back-off set” using seven plates for 12 repetitions.
During a between-set rest period, Bumstead was approached by recently retired, seven-time 212 Olympia winner Flex Lewis. The coincidental meeting likely occurred because the training location, Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym in Syosset, NY, is known as “the East Coast Mecca of Bodybuilding” and regularly hosts a who’s who of bodybuilders and sports stars.
Bumstead shifted to the leg press machine, where he performed a few heavy sets of the movement unilaterally to give both of his legs equal attention. After his sets, he discussed the importance of listening to your body during a workout, especially when you’re having a high energy, high performance day.
“Sometimes you just have to ‘read the room,’” he said. “One day if you feel a lot stronger, if it feels too light, or feels too easy, don’t just do 10 reps to do 10 reps. Rack the weight. Put more weight on. ‘Buckle up for the ride.’ That’s the quote for this year.”
To center on his quads, Bumstead returned to the leg extension machine as a main lift, not simply a warm-up. While he did a few more challenging sets, Bumstead makes sure not to load too much weight so as to keep any potential punishment on his knees at a minimum.
Instead, he achieved a deep stretch in the bottom position of each rep and worked through a long range of motion for maximum work.
[Related: How to Do the Goblet Squat for Lower Body Size and Mobility]
Romanian Deadlift with Barbell
To shift focus on his glutes and hamstrings, Bumstead performed a few sets of a Romanian deadlift with a loaded barbell. The bodybuilder had two plates per side for sets of 12 as he worked through this part of his routine. Bumstead noted that his glutes and hamstrings were still fatigued from the single-leg press, making this relatively light weight more than enough.
As he neared the end of his workout, Bumstead implemented some sissy squats into his routine. The movement, which asks the quads to lift the majority of a person’s body weight, can help strengthen connective tissues and muscles in the knees and legs. Bumstead appropriately powered through some sets of sissy squats as best as he could before finally moving off of quad work.
Seated Leg Curl
Bumstead had everything come full circle for this workout when he finished with seated leg curls to give his hamstrings attention. After he “beat up” his legs with textbook-perfect repetitions here, the bodybuilder called it a day.
[Related: How to Do the Bulgarian Split Squat for Leg Size, Strength, and Mobility]
Bumstead will have to overcome a few noteworthy peers to win his fourth consecutive Classic Physique Olympia title. There’s former two-time champ Breon Ansley (2017-2018), whose reign ended with Bumstead’s first title in 2019, and Terrence Ruffin, an athlete who usually finishes around the top of the Classic Physique Olympia. Late riser Neil Currey might be someone to watch as a dark horse, too.
However, if this glimpse at Bumstead’s commitment to building powerful legs says anything, his impressive run in the Classic Physique division may well continue.
Featured image: Chris Bumstead on YouTube