There’s no doubt that Chris Bumstead is the king of the Classic Physique division, but that doesn’t mean he’s not looking to improve heading into the 2023 Olympia.
For starters, Bumstead recently detailed his revamped off-season diet designed to gain lean muscle and avoid putting on any excess fat. But the four-time Classic Physique Olympia champion still has gains on the brain, so he connected with the “Hypertrophy Coach” himself, Joe Bennett, to learn a few new tricks to grow his legs.
The duo recently teamed up for a lower body workout at the Lion’s Den gym in Tampa, FL, which you can watch below:
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Chris Bumstead’s Leg Hypertrophy Workout
Here’s a breakdown of the leg exercises that Bennett took CBum through:
Machine Seated Leg Curl and Machine Leg Extension
For these two moves, Bennett had Bumstead add partial reps and pauses between his full extension and contractions for better muscle activation. Bennett said this would increase the mind-muscle connection and intensify the sets.
On the leg curls, Bumstead performed slow eccentrics (upward phase to lengthen the hamstrings), paused at the top of the move, and squeezed his hamstrings. Next, he did the leg curls’ concentric section (downward phase to contract the hamstrings) at a regular tempo. And on his last set, he held the hamstring curl in the extension phase for 30 seconds to increase the time under tension.
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For the leg extensions, Bumstead paused on the concentric portion (upwards motion to contract the quadriceps) of each rep and squeezed his quads. He didn’t drop the weight on the way down and instead controlled the load to keep his quadriceps under tension.
Bennett explained that the hamstrings respond better in the five-to-eight-rep range. Bumstead wore a belt for his last few leg extensions to prevent his body from torpedoing forward from the weight’s load at the movement’s top.
The pendulum squat is a squat machine that allows users to perform the move at an angle, placing less stress on the knees and back than other squat variations. For each rep, Bumstead paused at the “hole” of the squat — very bottom — then exploded up.
Bumstead says he used to squat with a wider stance but brought his legs inward, improving his ankle mobility and squat depth. He pushed it to the maximum intensity on this movement and needed Bennett to spot him on the last rep to help him get out of the sticking point.
Machine Lying Leg Curl
On the lying leg curls, Bennett advised Bumstead to press the quads into the padding (rather than the knees) to lift the hamstring bar attachment slightly before curling the weight. He then advised to push through the thighs to bring the weight up.
According to Bennett, this prevents Bumstead’s hips from raising as he gets to the most challenging portion of the lift (near the top), which will take contraction out of the hamstrings. Bumstead did some partial reps to finish the movement off.
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This movement doesn’t require as much hip flexion as the seated hamstring curls, so it’s not quite as effective for engaging the hamstrings — but it does place less strain on the back.
Smith Machine Bulgarian Split Squat
As Bumstead did on the pendulum squat, he paused at the bottom of this movement before lifting the weight. He then moved with just his body weight for a burnout set to fatigue his leg muscles fully.
The Smith machine Bulgarian split squat is an excellent unilateral movement that engages the lower body muscles, emphasizing the quads and glutes. Doing this exercise on the machine kept CBum more stable to target those muscles better.
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Featured Image: Chris Bumstead on YouTube
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