Chris Bumstead has won the Classic Physique title four years in a row at Mr. Olympia, the most prestigious competition in the world of professional bodybuilding, and he will likely aim for a fifth win at the next event in November. The Canadian bodybuilder regularly shares insights into the diet plan and workout routines he uses to sculpt that award-winning physique, and in a new conversation with Chris Williamson about the Modern wisdom podcast, he reveals the top 10 exercises he says are most essential for getting “as muscular as possible.”
C-Bum first makes sure to list some lower body work, specifying that he can only do one kind of squat variation for the rest of his life, it would be a Smith machine squat, as the added value provides stability.
Bumstead chooses this classic compound lift because it targets the back, glutes, and hamstrings, giving you great bang for your buck.
Bumstead hits his back and biceps in one fell swoop with this bodyweight staple. He prefers a neutral grip here, to hit “a little more lat and biceps.”
Incline dumbbell press
“I like slopes a little better on your shoulders… so you don’t screw up your shoulders so much,” he says. “And the barbell just keeps you a little more symmetrical.”
Seated dumbbell shoulder press
“I think that will help your triceps and shoulders a lot,” says Bumstead. This press isn’t just a great shoulder strength builder; it’s also an impressive display of overall strength, requiring full-body effort to perform well.
Flat bench press with good grip
This is a great exercise for building both strength and size in your chest and triceps, provided your grip isn’t tight. at close to. When performing this move, the devil really is in the details: check out our top tips for mastering the close-grip bench press.
Bumstead thinks it’s “self-explanatory” why this popular bicep builder is on the list. He prefers to do a standing version of the curl with a supinated grip, but there are a wide variety of variations you can try to maximize your pump.
Leaning forward row
“That will help with stability and core,” Bumstead says, “and then lower back and of course upper back.”
It’s worth noting, however, that this bent-forward position can lead to back pain: a bench-supported, one-arm alternative with a barbell can help you achieve the same movement and result.
Hanging leg raise
This destructive exercise is a lot harder than you might initially expect, with full-body tension required to lift your legs through space while hanging from the bar.
This move, which Bumstead uses to get “meaty delts,” is one of the keys to achieving a V-shaped torso, but it’s worth starting with lighter weights as you focus on showing off the proper technique to prevent shoulder strain.
Philip Ellis is a UK-based freelance writer and journalist covering pop culture, relationships and LGBTQ+ issues. His work has appeared in GQ, Teen Vogue, Man Repeller and MTV.
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