At only 27 years old, IFBB pro bodybuilder Chris Bumstead has already distinguished himself as an icon in the sport. “Cbum” made history by winning his third consecutive Classic Physique Olympia title in 2021. He will attempt to defend his crown again at the 2022 Olympia weekend scheduled for December 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV.
The six-foot, one-inch tall, 250-plus pound Bumstead is currently in off-season mode making physique improvements before starting his contest prep in the coming months. He posted a chest workout to his YouTube channel on April 17, 2022, and explained that his pecs are the biggest area he wants to bring up this year as he wasn’t able to train them properly in 2021 due to a lingering shoulder issue.
The back and arms are also known weak points for the Canadian bodybuilder, and although he’s made noticeable improvements in these areas, Bumstead is leaving nothing to chance. Check out Bumstead’s chest workout at Revive Gym in Stuart, FL below:
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Smith Machine Incline Press
Like many, Bumstead appreciates the versatility and convenience of the smith machine, calling it a “godsend”. This smith machine allows the lifter to replicate the conventional bench press without having to balance or stabilize the weight because the bar moves along a fixed path on a rail.
Research has shown that reducing stability requirements with smith machine training can result in better muscle and strength gains. Performing the movement on an incline as Bumstead did may also emphasize activation of the upper pec muscle fibers. (1)
I’m really trying to squeeze my shoulder blades back really far and bend the bar almost.
Body position can make all the difference when feeling the muscles contract. Bumstead finds the smith machine to be safer for the shoulders too. He performed the reps in a slow and controlled fashion using less weight. The video showed him starting with two 45-pound weight plates on each side, and working up to three plates, doing two sets followed by a drop set. Five total sets were shown.
My life just flashed before my eyes.
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This next exercise combines the cable flye and press and it’s one of Bumstead’s favorite chest movements. The exercise offers the benefits of a power movement — the press — while still achieving full contraction of the chest fibers from the flye.
The Ottawa native mentioned the importance of keeping the joints stacked and neutral during this exercise to prevent shoulder issues. Bumstead performed two sets including a drop set on the second one.
Incline Machine Press
I like lowering myself low into the seat so I’m able to press high and get that tight contraction in my upper pec.
The goal was three sets of 10 reps with three plates on each side. Only two sets were shown on camera, both of which were drop sets. Bumstead felt “extra spicy” and decided to end his set with an isometric hold where his arms extended for several seconds to further challenge the chest muscles.
Last but not least, Bumstead did two to three sets of the pec deck — one of the best exercises for training the chest. The pec deck’s advantages over cable or dumbbell flyes are similar to the advantages of the smith machine over free weights. The pec deck’s fixed track enables Bumstead to focus more on the contraction and less on stabilizing the resistance.
In fact, a study by the American Council on Exercise found the pec deck elicits better chest activation than the cable crossover machine, chest press, dumbbell flye, dip, and push-up. Researchers concluded that the pec deck was nearly as effective as the barbell bench press for chest activation. (2) Bumstead couldn’t finish his last few reps using a full range of motion so he performed partials.
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Chris Bumstead’s Chest Workout
Below are the exercises Bumstead performed in order during his chest workout. Due to the video editing, the exact number of sets and reps aren’t available:
- Smith Machine Incline Press
- Cable Fly/Press
- Incline Machine Press
- Pec Deck
That wraps up another “joocy” chest workout from the reigning Classic Physique Olympia champion. We’ll see what kind of improvements Bumstead manages to maintain on his physique following his prep and cut for the 2022 Olympia in December.
- Saeterbakken AH, Olsen A, Behm DG, Bardstu HB, Andersen V. The short- and long-term effects of resistance training with different stability requirements. PLoS One. 2019;14(4):e0214302. Published 2019 Apr 1. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0214302
- Schanke, W., Porcari, J., Felix, E., Hendrix, C. and Foster, C., 2022. ACE-Sponsored Research: Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises. [online] acefitness.org. Available at: <https://www.acefitness.org/certifiednewsarticle/2884/ace-sponsored-research-top-3-most-effective-chest-exercises/> [Accessed 19 April 2022].
Featured image: @cbum on Instagram