The Chris Bumstead Leg Workout!


Chris Bumstead is one of the world’s top professional bodybuilders. He won the Classic Physique Mr. Olympia contest 3 times in a row in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and he has one of the best physiques in the world.

If you want to learn how Chris Bumstead trains his legs then this article is for you!

Introduction

  • Part 1: Chris Bumstead’s Training Split
  • Part 2: Chris Bumstead’s Quad Workouts
  • Part 3: Chris Bumstead’s Hamstring Workouts
  • Part 4: Chris Bumstead’s Full Lower Body Workouts

In this comprehensive guide I will teach you how Chris Bumstead trains his legs to prepare for the Classic Physique Mr. Olympia contest.

Chris Bumstead trains his legs once per week using a traditional bodybuilding bro-split.

Unlike most professional bodybuilders Chris trains his quads and hamstrings on separate training days. Chris says that this strategy lets him attack each muscle group with more volume and intensity than if he trained them together on one training day.

Here is one of Chris Bumstead’s favorite bro-splits. Check it out:

The Chris Bumstead Training Split

  • Day 1: Quads
  • Day 2: Arms
  • Day 3: Off
  • Day 4: Back 
  • Day 5: Hamstrings
  • Day 6: Chest 
  • Day 7: Shoulders

Chris trains his quads on the first day of his weekly split and his hamstrings on day 5.

Here is Chris Bumstead talking about his unusual take on the bodybuilding bro-split:

Let’s start by looking at Chris Bumstead’s quadricep workouts.

Chris trains his quads with about 5 exercises per workout using high reps and lots of high-intensity training techniques like forced reps, drop sets and rest-pause sets. He says that these high-intensity techniques are absolutely essential for maximizing muscle growth.

Here is one of Chris Bumstead’s favorite quad workouts. Check it out:

Chris Bumstead Quadriceps Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Seated leg extension, 4 sets of 8-20 reps**
  • Exercise #2: Leg press, 4 sets of 20-30 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine squat, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Manual sissy squats, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #5: Seated leg extension, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #6: Hip adduction machine, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #7: Seated calf raise, 4 sets of 8-20 reps

**Perform 10 extra forced reps after reaching muscular failure.

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume quad workout! Chris starts this workout by pre-exhausting his quads with the leg extension machine.

The pre-exhaust method is a technique where you start your workout with an isolation exercise to pre-fatigue the target muscle group before moving onto more compound exercises. This strategy can be very effective for the quads because it forces your quads to work harder during your other compound exercises.

Many world-champion bodybuilders like Dorian Yates and Branch Warren are also big fans of this technique. Chris Bumstead even throws in 10 forced reps on his last set for good measure!

After the leg extensions Chris performs several compound quadricep exercises including leg presses, machine squats and manual sissy squats.

Finally Chris finishes his workout with 4 more sets of machine leg extensions and 1 exercise each for his adductors and calves. Chris didn’t perform any back squats in this first workout but he is actually a huge fan of the exercise.

Here is a quad workout where Chris started his workout with back squats. Check it out:

Quads Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Back squat, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: Horizontal leg press, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine leg extension, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Seated calf raise, 4 sets of 8-20 reps

Here is the training video:

This was a lower-volume quad workout by Chris Bumstead. Maybe he wasn’t feeling 100% on this day? Check it out:

“Some idiot had the idea of training legs first thing in the morning. It was my idea. It was a horrible idea. I’m never doing this again.

But I’m the definition of giving excuses and then saying no excuses. I give excuses and then I do it anyway.”

Chris Bumstead says that back squats are his #1 quadriceps mass-building exercise. A few years ago he injured his knee and he had to stop doing squats for a few months while it healed.

Chris said that his quads started to shrink even though he was still training hard on other exercises like leg presses and hack squats. As soon as he started squatting again his quads blew up in size!

After this experience Chris knows that squats are his go-to exercise for quadriceps growth. 

Here is a quadriceps workout where Chris Bumstead really mixes things up with some novel exercises to take his training to the next level. Check it out:

Quads Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Machine hack squat with bands, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #2: One-leg horizontal leg press, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #3: Machine squat, 4 sets of 8-20 reps
  • Exercise #4: Machine one-leg leg extension, 4 sets of 8-20 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

I’ve seen bodybuilding coaches like John Meadows use reverse bands on the machine hack squat but I’ve never seen anyone attempt hack squats with regular band resistance! What a unique take on this classic exercise!

Here is Chris Bumstead describing the movement:

“I feel so strong in the whole and then the bands at the top just mess your day right up, you’re not going to finish it. But I’m making it harder because I want huge legs.”

The bands are like giant rubber bands that are pulling you down to the bottom position. They make the exercise feel a little easier in the bottom position where you are weaker and harder in the top position where you are stronger.

They also add a lot of eccentric stress which is a powerful stimulus for muscle growth.

You can click right here to purchase your own bodybuilding resistance bands.

After the banded leg press Chris performs some other unusual exercises including one-leg horizontal leg presses, machine squats and one-leg machine leg extensions.

You could say that Chris Bumstead has the growth mindset. He is always ready to take on that extra challenge to progress towards his goals. Now let’s look at some of Chris Bumstead’s favorite hamstrings workouts.

Chris trains his hamstrings on their own separate day so he can attack them with a ton of volume and intensity. Check it out:

Hamstrings Workout #1

  • Exercise #1: Lying leg curl, 4 sets of 12-15 reps**
  • Exercise #2: Reverse hack squat good morning, 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Single leg Romanian deadlift, 4 sets of 12-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Seated leg curl, 4 sets of 12-15 reps****

**Perform a single drop set on your last set

****Perform a double drop set on your last set

Here is the training video:

Most bodybuilders only train their hamstrings using leg curls and Romanian deadlifts. Chris likes these exercises but he also likes to mix things up to keep his body off balance.

For this workout Chris trains his hamstrings using lying leg curls, reverse hack squat good mornings and single-leg Romanian deadlifts.

The reverse hack squat good morning is an especially interesting exercise. It overloads your hamstrings in a way that is somewhat similar to a regular barbell good morning but it still has its own unique feel.

Now let’s look at a higher-volume hamstrings workout that Chris performed while getting ready for his Mr. Olympia contest. Check it out:

Hamstrings Workout #2

  • Exercise #1: Lying leg curl, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #2: Romanian deadlift, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: Glute ham raise, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Seated leg curl, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #5: Machine glute kickbacks, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #6: Seated machine calf raise, 4 sets of 8-15 reps

Here is the training video for this workout:

Talk about a high-volume hamstrings workout! Chris Bumstead attacks his hamstrings with 2 types of leg curls, Romanian deadlifts, glute ham raises and glute kick backs.

Most bodybuilders would have a hard time recovering from this much volume but it works like a charm for him.

If you follow Chris Bumstead’s workouts then you probably already know that he doesn’t plan out his workouts ahead of time. He usually knows the first 1-2 exercises that he wants to train but everything after that is based on how he is feeling that day. Once again this is an advanced strategy that works great for Chris.

Here is one more of Chris Bumstead’s go-to hamstrings workouts. Check it out:

Hamstrings Workout #3

  • Exercise #1: Seated leg curl, 4 sets of 8-15 reps**
  • Exercise #2: DB Romanian deadlift, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #3: 45 degree back extension with bands, 4 sets of 8-15 reps
  • Exercise #4: Dumbbell split squat, 4 sets of 8-15 reps

**Perform 5-10 forced reps on your last working set after reaching muscular failure.

Here is the training video:

Once again Chris Bumstead mixes things up with some unusual exercises like dumbbell Romanian deadlifts and 45 degree back extensions against bands. This workout fits Chris’s overall training philosophy of attacking each body part with a wide variety of exercises to keep your body off balance.

Even through Chris likes to mix things up he also knows the importance of sticking to the heavy compound exercises like stiff-legged deadlifts. Check it out:

“One of the biggest mistakes of people starting out when hamstrings aren’t there, is getting a compound movement with a big stretch.

It feels like you’re not doing as much with a hamstrings curl. Your hamstrings are made to be activated in stiff legged deadlifts.”

Chris finishes this workout with another one of his favorite leg exercises: the dumbbell split squat. Chris says that this exercise is great for building the glutes but it also places the hamstrings and even the adductor muscles under a deep stretch if you perform the exercise correctly.

If you are a glutton for punishment then you will love Chris Bumstead’s high-volume hamstrings workouts!

Conclusion

Chris Bumstead has massive quads and hamstrings and it’s easy to see why when you look at his training program. Chris trains both of these muscle groups on their own separate training day using tons of different exercises.

Of course Chris doesn’t just “chase the pump” during his leg workouts – he is also known for lifting extremely heavy weights in the gym. He regularly lifts 500+ pounds for reps on exercises like back squats and Romanian deadlifts.

If you are an advanced bodybuilder and respond well to extremely high volume workouts then you have to give these Chris Bumstead leg routines a shot. They may be just what you need to take your leg training to the next level.

Here is one more quote by Chris Bumstead to pump you up even more:

So everyone out there who’s dreams are scaring you, whose dreams make you want to quit, just don’t quit. It’s good! Your dreams should be big, they should be scary. Just keep pushing through! 

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!

Dr. Mike Jansen, PT, DPT

Thanks for checking out my site! My name is Dr. Mike Jansen and I'm the founder of Revolutionary Program Design. If you want to reach your size and strength goals faster then you've come to the right place. My goal is to make RPD the #1 strength training resource available anywhere in the world. So grab a seat, kick back and relax. There's never been a better time to lift weights or to learn the art and science of strength training program design.

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