The four-time Mr. Olympia put his hamstrings to the test during an epic leg day.
In search of his fifth straight Mr. Olympia victory, Chris Bumstead is just over six weeks away from defending his crown at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL during the weekend of Nov. 3-5, 2023. While the reigning champion faces a monumental challenge to fend off some worthy competitors, it’s clear he’s committed to ensuring each muscle group is contest-ready.
In a YouTube training vlog posted on Sep. 17, 2023, Bumstead gave viewers an inside glimpse of a hamstring-centric leg day with his coach, Hany Rambod. Needless to say, the four-time winner (2019-2022) of the Classic Physique division looks as locked in as ever heading into the 2023 IFBB Mr. Olympia competition. The workout starts near the four-minute mark of the video.
After consuming Evogen EVP Xtreme pre-workout and jokingly telling Rambod he hasn’t trained abs in a year, Bumstead’s grueling day at the office begins with a series of exercises targeted at building his hamstrings.
Lying Leg Curl
Bumstead started the session on the lying leg curl machine, where he executed some single-leg warmup sets. After performing a set with both legs, he discussed his diet with Rambod, noting that it’s been easier for him to eat “bigger meals, less frequently” during contest prep.
Bumstead continued with a set of full-range reps, followed by slow-tempo reps in which his coach emphasized controlling and contracting the hamstring.
Standing Single-Leg Leg Curl Machine
Next, Bumstead targeted each hamstring separately on a standing single-leg curl machine. Rambod encouraged him to aim for 10-15 reps per set and to control the weight on the way down.
The decorated coach also made it a point to ensure Bumstead kept his hip forward during the isolation movement to get maximum hamstring contraction.
Hip Abduction Machine
Bumstead gave his hamstrings a temporary break by moving over to the hip abduction (“outer thigh”) machine. He maintained a slight forward lean throughout, making sure to squeeze at the top of the movement.
Rambod pushed Bumstead to complete the final few reps at a slower tempo during the first two sets of this glute-focused exercise. Bumstead finished with several drop sets that pushed him to his limit.
Seated Leg Curl Machine
That brief hamstring hiatus ended when Bumstead got on the seated leg curl machine. With two 45-pound plates and another 25-pounder loaded, he methodically executed each rep as Rambod encouraged him to squeeze and then slowly let the weight back up.
Although Bumstead remarked that he felt like the weight was “moving in slow motion,” his coach praised him for going until failure.
Sticking with the free-weight approach, Bumstead put every leg muscle to the test with belt squats. He started with a shoulder-width stance and his toes pointed straight, making sure to achieve full depth (90 degrees).
Following a lighter set, he moved to four 45-pound plates per side — a load that left him fatigued and on a knee by the final rep. Rambod dropped the weight and had Bumstead perform another squat variation (sumo-style) with his toes pointed at about a 45-degree angle. The wider stance provided a different stimulus, with Rambod noting that Bumstead isn’t used to that foot position.
Seated Calf Raise
With his hamstrings and quads pumped, Bumstead shifted his focus to building his calves. He took position on the seated calf raise machine and performed his first set leaning forward while holding on to the unracking handle.
However, Rambod had Bumstead perform the next set with a more vertical body position. He utilized the same machine to target his tibialis muscles, along his shin bones, by hooking his foot under the lower lever and lifting his toes towards his shin. Bumstead worked with 25 pounds on this tibia-taxing exercise.
Donkey Calf Raise
Finally, Bumstead finished off with donkey calf raises.
“This is going to actually help give it a little more depth to your calf because it creates a little bit of a layer of musculature on the outer part of the front of your calf,” Rambod explained. “Jay [Cutler, four-time Mr. Olympia] had a really good tibialis.”
Working in a bent-over position on the machine, Bumstead achieved a notable calf pump while working with a pair of 45-pound plates per side. He noted that he didn’t feel anything in his back as he wrapped up the final few reps of what was clearly an intense leg day.
Chris Bumstead Hamstring-Focused Leg Workout Summary
- Lying Leg Curl Machine
- Standing Single-Leg Curl machine
- Hip Abduction Machine
- Seated Leg Curl Machine
- Belt Squat
- Seated Calf Raise
- Donkey Calf Raise
Bumstead has already established a reputation as one of the preeminent bodybuilders in the world. Taking home the Classic Physique title for a fifth straight year would only further cement his status as one of the sport’s all-time greats. And with the way he’s been training in preparation for the 2023 Mr. Olympia, it would be a massive upset if he doesn’t walk away a winner again.
Featured Image: Chris Bumstead / YouTube