Chris Bumstead Puts Size on His Delts With Intense Shoulder Workout

The reigning Classic Physique Olympia champ racks up another upper-body-building workout in his off-season.

On April 24, 2022, three-time reigning Classic Physique Olympia champ Chris Bumstead uploaded a mass-focused delts training session to his 1.65 million subscribers on his YouTube channel. The 27-year-old Canadian bodybuilder is early in his off-season, also considered the growing phase that consists of lifting heavy weights and eating a massive 5,000-calorie bulking diet to pack more muscle onto his large 6’1” frame.

Beautiful day to be alive.

Although Bumstead has been dealing with a shoulder issue, he’s pushing through it to take his physique to another level, assuming that’s possible for the man who’s won the most Classic Physique Olympia titles in history. Check out Bumstead’s shoulder session at Revive Gym in Stuart, FL via the video below. The workout starts at the 3:15 mark.

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Chris Bumstead’s Workout For Big Delts

Before the workout, Bumstead ate a high-protein pre-training meal consisting of ground turkey and white rice followed by a dose of Raw Nutrition pre-workout and pump formula to help him power through the training session.  Check out the details of the workout below. 

Machine Seated Shoulder Press

Bumstead started his training with the Arsenal shoulder press machine, partly to warm up his shoulders but also to stay away from the crowded dumbbell section of the gym, he explained in the video. While he says “warmup,” Bumstead didn’t want to get left behind by his brother-in-law and Open division bodybuilder Iain Valliere (not present in the video) — Valliere said he logged six plates on each side at a gym in Canada a few days prior. 

Bumstead tested his strength, starting with a 45-pound weight plate on each side before increasing it to five plates of which he managed to get nine reps. The last few challenged his mental fortitude with the ninth rep being an all-out struggle to lockout. He stopped the rep early and bailed the weight. Bumstead appeared to perform seven sets including a drop set at the end with three 45-pound plates on each peg. 

Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press

After the machine press, Bumstead moved on to the dumbbell seated press which requires a combination of balance, coordination, and total-body stability. He knocked out a set with the 90-pound dumbbells and then jumped to the 110-pound weights. He cranked through a session best 14 reps. This was apparently “lightweight” in his view. 

I’m just like strong enough to hold the weight securely, and not shake because I’m actually used to it.

Bumstead noted that his strength is increasing a lot because he’s able to hold the heavy dumbbells without struggling to maintain them in position. Three sets were shown in the video.

Dumbbell Lateral Raises

Bumstead opted for dumbbell side raises to emphasize the medial head of the deltoids. When well developed, they further the illusion on stage of a wider upper body and a smaller waist — the golden standard of bodybuilding aesthetics. The IFBB pro athlete performed a few straight sets, incorporating partials and what appeared to be a few drop sets. 


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Cable Lateral Raises

Looking jacked and pumped, Bumstead transitioned to the cable lateral raise that creates constant tension on the delts when done correctly. That’s a notable benefit that dumbbell variations don’t offer.

Full range of motion with a load…at the bottom of the stretch…it’s pulling you to the cable, not to the floor.

Bumstead focused on strict form by keeping his elbows fully extended and performing slow, controlled repetitions. The bodybuilder explained that he’s been growing with this method despite using less weight and plans to keep using this strategy as it’s also better for his shoulder health. Bumstead did three sets of cable lateral raises. 

Cable/Pec Deck Rear Delts Flyes

To wrap up the shoulder session, Bumstead did two rear delt exercises — cable and pec deck reverse flye. The cable variation allows him to really isolate the delts individually while the machine fly is more of a strength-focused movement. Both are great options for adding muscle to the posterior delts and creating that 3D look to the delts from different angles.  He did two sets of each exercise (four total sets) before calling it quits.

Chris Bumstead Shoulder Workout

Below are the exercises listed in the same order Bumstead performed them during the workout. Due to video editing and provided details, the exact number of sets and reps per each movement is not clear.

  • Machine Seated Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Seated Shoulder Press
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Cable Lateral Raise 
  • Cable Rear Delt Flye
  • Pec Deck Rear Delt Flye

Bumstead is on schedule to defend his title for the fourth straight year at the 2022 Olympia set for December 16-18 in Las Vegas, NV. Bumstead is not taking his competition lightly with last year’s runner-up and 2022 Arnold Classic champ Terrence Ruffin hot on his heels in addition to the fierce lineup in the Classic Physique division will undoubtedly draw.

Featured image: @cbum on Instagram