Chris Bumstead is the reigning Classic Physique Olympia champ and arguably the most popular bodybuilder in the present pro bodybuilding circuit. He has won the Classic Physique Olympia for three consecutive years — 2019, 2020, and 2021 and will be going for his fourth title win at the 2022 Olympia, scheduled for Dec. 15-18 in Las Vegas, NV.
It has taken “C-Bum” a considerable amount of effort to maintain a physique of championship quality. Last year, he contracted COVID-19 and lost a great deal of weight as a result. The champion, however, is taking all his preparations very seriously and consuming a 5,000-calorie diet to make up for the weight he lost as a result of the virus. Even though Bumstead has endured hardships, he knows how to perform at his highest level when the time comes to advance training to the next level.
On July 12, 2022, Bumstead took to his YouTube channel to share his off-season back and bicep workout. During the run-through, he takes his fans through all exercise variations and his rationale behind doing them.
Chris Bumstead’s back and biceps workout
The reigning Olympia Classic Physique champ performed the following exercises in the workout:
- Lat pull-down (warmup)
- Dead hang (warmup/stretch)
- Bent-over barbell row: 2 x 10-12
- Incline bench dumbbell row: 2 x 8-10
- Machine Prime row: 3 x 6-10
- Single-arm cable row
- EZ-bar cable curl
- Arnold concentration curl
1. Lat pulldown (warm-up)
Chris experimented with a new bar extension — narrower than shoulder-wide neutral grip — to kick off his back workout. He started with the lat pulldown machine, and the shorter grip enabled him to focus on the mid-back, which doesn’t receive as much attention with a wide grip.
In the video, Bumstead revealed that he was reserving the wide-grip pull-down for the second back day of the week.
“You gotta try new stuff sometimes to break outside your comfort zone.”
2. Dead hangs – warm-up/stretch
He alternated between lat pull-downs and dead hangs for his warm-up session.
Per the bodybuilder, the logic behind dead hangs is to warm up the scapula for the impending intense back workout. Chris used a reverse shrug motion for this movement. During the warm-up, the Olympia champ emphasizes the importance of mind-muscle connection in building muscle mass.
3. Bent-over barbell row
After warming up, Bumstead moved on to the bent-over barbell rows. This exercise focuses primarily on building thickness in the back. The bodybuilder used a shoulder-wide overhand grip for the exercise and emphasized the importance of core stability for this lift.
4. Incline bench dumbbell row
The chest-supported row is the second exercise in Bumstead’s back workout routine. He chose this as his next exercise to add a variation for the overhand grip and get a better range of motion.
“Second row, adding a variation onto overhand grip bent-over rows,” explained Bumstead. “I’m doing a neutral grip so I can a little better range of motion with the dumbbells really pulling far behind me.”
5. Machine Prime row
After crushing the incline dumbbell rows, Chris moved on to the third exercise of his back training routine.
Chris Bumstead is of the opinion that building a mind-muscle connection is important before attempting to lift heavy weights or hitting new PRs. The primary reason behind his belief is that it’s easier to build a muscle-mind connection with lighter weights than trying to do the same with heavy weights.
“One rep maxes aren’t always beneficial, aren’t always the most optimal way to put on muscle.”
6. Single-arm cable row
While performing the last exercise of his back training session, the reigning Olympia champ focused on controlled and steady reps to annihilate his lats.
Experts emphasize going all out on the last few reps when the muscles are fatigued, as the final few reps can make all the difference.
“I don’t count the sit-ups. I only start counting when it starts hurting because they’re the only ones that count. That’s what makes you a champion.” — Muhammad Ali
7. EZ-bar Cable curl
Notably, Chris did not do a warm-up of his arms as they were pumped after his back workout.
While performing the EZ-bar cable curl, he kept his elbows steady and focused on achieving a full range of motion (ROM). A full ROM enables optimal muscle engagement during the exercise. Bumstead performed a drop set in his final set to annihilate his biceps.
8. Arnold concentration curls
Bumstead ended the bicep workout with concentration curls. The concentration curl primarily targets the short biceps head, helping build strength and definition in the upper arms.
You can check out Chris Bumstead’s back and bicep workout below:
Coming up next
Chris Bumstead is expected to begin his prep for the 2022 Olympia soon as he aims to capture his fourth consecutive Classic Physique Olympia title in December.
Chris Bumstead likes to do his preps in a quieter gym and is playing around with the idea of moving to a more peaceful place for the upcoming prep. Per the bodybuilder, his inspiration for this idea comes from Rocky IV!