Four-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead is in the early stages of his offseason as he prepares to compete for a fifth straight Classic Physique Olympia championship at the 2023 Olympia Weekend in Orlando, FL on Nov. 2-5, 2023.
Bumstead has been open about his training, as shown in a recent YouTube video documenting a leg workout he took on with Christian Guzman, Bumstead’s business partner and occasional training partner.
The title of the video — “This Leg Day Really Sucked” — apparently expressed Bumstead’s feelings about the workout but, in strength sports, if a workout “sucks,” it can be a good thing in the long-run.
The intense training session took place at the Revive Gym in Stuart, FL, and it kicked off with Bumstead walking on a stepmill while facing backward, to warm-up. Walking backward can help target everything in the upper thighs, especially the glutes, while reducing knee strain.
Bumstead began the lifting session with leg extensions, which are an effective way to isolate the quadriceps and warm-up the knees. You can also see that he isn’t wearing shoes, which is typical for the four-time champion. He has previously said that the unconventional habit helps him feel more stable on leg day and improves his mind-muscle connection.
At one point, the machine was loaded with a total of 134 kilograms (295 pounds) and Bumstead can be seen powering through 10 repetitions. Throughout the workout, Guzman followed Bumstead with his own sets.
How to Do It: Sit on a leg extension machine and place your legs behind the pad. Sit back on the seat and hold on to the handles. Lift the pad with your legs and flex your quads once your knees are close to the locked out position. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat.
The second movement of the day was the hack squat. Bumstead performed a long range of motion, dropping deep into the hole with each rep. This technique places even more stress on the quadriceps muscles. The bodybuilder worked in the 10 to 15-rep range, ending with 245 kilograms (540 pounds) for six repetitions before quickly reducing the weight to 163 kilograms (360 pounds) for a drop set and completing seven additional reps.
How to Do It: Place your feet evenly on the foot platform and place your shoulders underneath the support pads. Once you feel solid and stable in position, lift the sled by straightening your knees and unlock the safety handles. Go as deep as you safely can into the bottom position — ideally achieve your hips below your knees. Drive your feet into the footplate and push yourself back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps and return the handles to their original location to lock the machine back into place.
The third quad-focused movement was the leg press. Bumstead explained that he has shifting his focus to use a relatively wider stance than in the past, to target his adductors (inner thighs) and outer quadriceps muscles. Bumstead worked up to a top set with 367 kilograms (810 pounds) and performed 10 reps, followed by a drop set down to 285 kilograms (630 pounds) where he did 15 more reps. He then has more weight removed, down to 204 kilograms (450 pounds) and he goes to failure with 20 agonizing repetitions.
How to Do It: Sit with your back firmly against the pad. Place your feet evenly on the footplate and push it forward to release the safety handles and take control of the sled. Bend your knees and lower the footplate as deep as you comfortably can. Keep you feet flat and press the sled back to the starting position. Repeat for the desired reps. Lock he sled into place with the safety handles.
The next movement of the workout was the dumbbell walking lunge. Bumstead was on marked turf with a pair of dumbbells. He focused on taking large steps forward and lunged down as close to the floor as possible. He then returned to a standing position and took his next step with the opposite foot. Only one set is performed on camera, but Bumstead later said they did two. As a spectator might expect, he was showing clear signs of exhaustion at this point in the workout.
How to Do It: Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand tall. Take a step forward and lower your rear knee toward the floor, getting as low as you can. Push through your lead foot to return to a standing position and bring your back foot forward. Take your next step with the opposite foot and perform a repetition the same way. You’ve now done one rep for each leg. Repeat for the desired reps or distance you wish to complete.
Seated Calf Raise and Adductor Machine
The tail-end of the workout shifted the focus to the calves, specifically the soleus muscle. Bumstead performs a set of seated calf raises with one 20-kilogram (45-pound) plate. He then finishes the session on the adductor machine, to give even more attention to building his inner thighs, before calling it a day.
How to Do the Seated Calf Raise: Sit with your knees under the pads. Position your feet with your toes on the footplate and your heels hanging off. Push through your toes to contract your calves and lift the weight up to release the safety handle. Lower your heels as far as you safely can to stretch your calves. Drive through your toes to lift the weight as high as possible and maximally contract your calves. Briefly hold the top position. Repeat for the desired reps, but finish with a contraction so you can return the handle and lock the machine into place.
How to Do the Adductor Machine: Sit on the machine with the pads on your inner thighs. Release the weight so you have control of it. Squeeze your thighs together to bring the pads in as close as possible, ideally touching the pads together. Slowly release tension to allow your legs to spread out. Once you feel a stretch, repeat for the desired reps.
The full details of Bumstead’s intense leg workout weren’t shared in the video, but you can try a sample version of this workout by following the guide below:
Classic Physique Olympia-Style Leg Workout
- Leg Extension — 3 x12
- Hack Squat — 3 x 12-15
- Leg Press — 2 x 12-15, 1 x 12-15 followed by a double drop set to failure
- Walking Lunge — 2 x 12 per leg
- Seated Calf Raise — 2 sets to failure (20 or more repetitions)
- Adductors — 2 sets to failure (15 or more repetitions)
Featured Image: Chris Bumstead on YouTube