Chris Bumstead is one of the most popular bodybuilders in the world today. He has an unbelievable physique and won the Classic Mr. Olympia Contest three years in a row from 2019 – 2021.
If you want to train like Chris Bumstead then this article is for you!
- Part 1: Chris Bumstead’s 6-Day Push / Pull / Legs Split
- Part 2: Chris Bumstead’s “Push” Workout #1
- Part 3: Chris Bumstead’s “Pull” Workout #1
- Part 4: Chris Bumstead’s “Legs” Workout #1
- Part 5: Chris Bumstead’s “Push” Workout #2
- Part 6: Chris Bumstead’s “Pull” Workout #2
- Part 7: Chris Bumstead’s “Legs” Workout #2
In this comprehensive guide I will teach you how Chris Bumstead uses the 6-day push / pull / legs split to train for his professional bodybuilding competitions.
Chris Bumstead normally trains with a typical bodybuilding “bro-split” where he trains each muscle group once per week on its own separate training day. However, Chris has recently started experimenting with higher-frequency training programs.
One of his favorite high-frequency training splits is the 6 day push / pull / legs split. Check it out:
The Chris Bumstead 6 Day Push / Pull / Legs Split
- Day 1: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
- Day 2: Back / Biceps
- Day 3: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
- Day 4: Chest / Shoulders / Triceps
- Day 5: Back / Biceps
- Day 6: Quads / Hamstrings / Calves
- Day 7: Off
The push / pull / legs split is a way of organizing your training where you perform 3 separate workouts for your entire body.
You have a “push” day where you train your chest / shoulders / triceps, a “pull” day where you train your back / biceps and a “legs” day where you train your quads, hamstrings and calves.
The main advantage of the push / pull / legs split is that it reduces your overlap between muscle groups.
For example you never have to worry about your shoulders or triceps being too sore and impacting your chest workout because they are all trained on the same training day.
Chris Bumstead really likes the 6 day push / pull / legs split because it lets him train each muscle group twice per week.
It took Chris a little while to get used to this higher-frequency training split but he really likes it now that he is used to it.
Here is Chris Bumstead himself talking about his new training program:
As you can see Chris trains each muscle group with two completely different exercises each week. This is a great way to train with more variety and prevent your body from adapting to your routine.
Now let’s take a closer look at the exact push, pull and leg workouts that Chris uses. Check it out:
Chris Bumstead’s Push Workout #1
- Exercise #1: Barbell press (incline or flat), 3 sets of 5-8, 5-8, 10-12 reps
- Exercise #2: Alternated DB shoulder press, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #3: Chest flies variation (your choice), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Triceps extension variation (your choice), 4 sets of 7-10 reps
- Exercise #5: Lateral raises, 4 sets of 10-12 reps**
- Exercise #6: Dips, 3 sets to failure
**Keep the rest time less than 1 minute
Chris uses a number of interesting strategies in this workout.
Chris doesn’t have all of his exercises completely mapped out. Instead he has the type of exercise planned out and picks one once he gets to the gym depending on how he’s feeling.
For example Chris starts his workout with either the incline bench press or flat bench press.
Recently Chris has been experimenting with the alternating dumbbell shoulder press. Here are his thoughts on this exercise:
“This is something I’ve been doing a lot of lately – where you press one arm at a time. It just allows you to focus on each arm and perfect every rep.”
For his chest / tricep accessory work he supersets any type of chest fly and lying triceps extensions.
This is an interesting strategy to use in your hypertrophy workouts if you already have a good strength foundation.
Chris Bumstead’s Pull Workout #1
- Exercise #1: Lat pulldowns (any grip), 3 sets of 8-10 reps**
- Exercise #2: Barbell bent over rows, 3 x 6-8, 6-8, 10-12
- Exercise #3: 60 degree incline DB curl, 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Pull ups (any grip), 3 sets to failure
- Exercise #5: Standing ez-bar curls, 2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Standing ez-bar curls, 2 sets of 40 seconds time under tension
**On the last set perform a double drop set to failure
Every bodybuilder has weaker body parts that they need to bring up and Chris Bumstead is no exception.
He says that his back and biceps still lag behind the rest of his body so he goes all-out on his pull workouts. Chris increases his calories on his pull days, takes extra caffeine and does anything else he thinks will help.
Chris almost always starts his back workouts with lat pulldowns and this workout is no exception. Check it out:
“I always start my back workouts with lat pulldowns. It’s a great way to get the blood flowing and get a good stretch in your lats and your spine.”
Chris performs three exercises each for his back and biceps. One interesting thing that Chris does is he uses “time under tension” sets for his last bicep exercise.
Instead of aiming for a specific number of reps he aims for 40 seconds of time under tension with the weight. This is a very interesting strategy that the powerlifting coach Dave Tate has used in the past for building muscle.
If you want to learn more about time under tension then be sure to check out my article “Time Under Tension: The Ultimate Guide!”
I cover everything you need to know about how to use time under tension to build size and strength.
Chris Bumstead’s Legs Workout #1
- Exercise #1: Walking alternating lunges (barbell on back), 3 sets of 12-15 reps
- Exercise #2: Romanian or conventional deadlift, 3 sets of 6-12 reps**
- Exercise #3: Hip thrusts or glute kick backs, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Seated calf raises, 6 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Leg curls (any variation), 2 set of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Leg curls (any variation, 2 sets of 40 seconds time under tension
**Perform sets of 6-8 reps if conventional deadlift or sets of 10-12 reps if Romanian deadlift
Chris has two leg workouts: one where he uses squats and one where he does not. Instead of squats Chris performs a variety of leg exercises including lunges, deadlifts, hip thrusts, calf raises and leg curls.
For this workout he performs walking lunges first in his routine. Chris says that the walking lunges have dramatically improved the health of his knees in recent years. Check it out:
“I love starting my leg workouts with lunges. It’s a great way to warm up your knees and to really get the blood flowing.”
Once again Chris uses his favorite time under tension technique on leg curls. Rather than going for a specific number of reps he sets a timer on his phone and just goes for 40 total seconds.
Chris Bumstead’s Push Workout #2
- Exercise #1: Close grip bench press, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #2: Standing barbell overhead press, 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #3: Pec dec flies, 1 set of 8-10 reps, 2 sets of 40 seconds TUT
- Exercise #4: Overhead triceps extensions (your choice), 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Lateral raise (any variation), 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Push ups (any variation), 3 sets to failure
Chris Bumstead’s second weekly push workout looks a lot like his first weekly workout. The main difference is his choice of exercises.
For example Chris uses the standing barbell overhead press instead of the seated dumbbell overhead press for shoulders. He says he really likes this exercise for overall size and strength. Check it out:
“With the standing overhead press I really feel like I’m getting more chest and core involvement and it makes me feel more athletic overall.”
Once again Chris sticks with two primary exercises per body part. He uses close grip bench presses and overhead extensions to train his triceps, overhead presses and lateral raises to train his triceps and pec dec flies and push ups to train his chest.
In my experience using two exercises per body part on your “push” day is a really nice sweet spot to aim for.
Chris Bumstead’s Pull Workout #2
- Exercise #1: Pull ups (any variation), 3 light sets with bodyweight only
- Exercise #2: Rack pulls, 2 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #3: Hammer curls, 3 sets of 8-10 reps
- Exercise #4: Supinated grip row or pulldown, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Cable curls, 3 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #6: Seated cable rows, 2 drop sets for 20 total reps
- Exercise #7: Standing DB curls, 1 “run the rack” drop set to failure
Chris’s second weekly pull workout is even more intense than his first. He trains his back and biceps with 3 different exercises performed from a wide variety of angles.
Chris also throws in some light pull ups while he is warming up on rack pulls to loosen up his back and get his lats firing correctly. Here are Chris’s thoughts on pull ups:
“Pull ups are something I’ve been incorporating more of lately. Pull ups are the OG back exercise and I feel like I’m getting a great mind-muscle connection with them.”
Chris finishes his workout with one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s favorite training methods, the “run the rack” drop set.
Chris picks up the 40 pound dumbbells and reps them out just shy of failure. Then he goes to the next lightest pair of dumbbells and reps them out too.
He just keeps going until he is lifting the 5 pound dumbbells at the end of the rack. Talk about brutal!
Chris Bumstead’s Legs Workout #2
- Exercise #1: Back squat, 4 sets of 8-10, 8-10, 8-10, 4-6
- Exercise #2: Leg press, 2 sets of 40 seconds TUT
- Exercise #3: Leg press calves, 2 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #4: Hip adductor machine, 4 sets of 10-12 reps
- Exercise #5: Standing calf raise machine, 4 sets of 10-12 reps**
- Exercise #6: Leg extension machine, 4 sets of 10-12 reps****
**Perform 10-12 reps to failure, then perform as many partial reps as you can out of the bottom position
****On your last 2 sets perform a triple drop set. Perform 10-12 reps to failure, drop the weight, go to failure, drop the weight, go to failure, done!
Chris Bumstead’s second lower body workout looks much more normal than his first one. He starts off with a few heavy sets of squats and then performs various accessory exercises for his lower body.
One interesting thing about this workout is Chris performs 2 double drop sets on leg extensions for his last exercise.
Here are Chris’s exact thoughts on this technique:
“I always found hammering out triple drop sets at the end is a great way to finish them off.”
Overall Chris’s lower body workouts are less demanding than his upper body workouts. This makes perfect sense considering Chris is competing in classic bodybuilding.
The classic bodybuilding look is all about aesthetic legs, a narrow waist and a wide upper body with flaring lats and shoulders.
Chris Bumstead’s 6 day push / pull / legs workout routine is very interesting. Chris uses 2 completely different workouts for each body part and uses a wide variety of high-intensity training techniques on each workout.
If you have superior recovery ability and can handle 6 heavy workouts in a week then give this routine a shot!
Here is a great quote to pump you up even more:
“Don’t ever believe the naysayers when they say your ideas are unrealistic, they are just too small minded to see all the big possibilities that you see in this world.”
Thank you for reading and I wish you the best of luck on your strength training journey!
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