Here’s How Chris Bumstead Trains Chest During Prep for a Fourth Classic Physique Olympia Title

Three-time reigning Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead headed to the Maximum Fitness gym in Phoenix, AZ, for a chest and triceps workout. He filmed that session and published the video on his Youtube channel on Sept 23, 2022. 

Bumstead was twelve weeks out from the 2022 Olympia at the time of his upload. He’s dialing in physique improvements to bring a package to solidify his fourth consecutive Classic Physique Olympia title. The 2022 Olympia is scheduled for Dec. 16-18, 2022, in Las Vegas, NV. Check out Bumstead’s chest and triceps workout below:

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Before beginning his workout, Bumstead completed some rotator cuff exercises with resistance bands for injury prevention and to get his joints and ligaments warmed up for the heavy session ahead.

Pec Deck Flyes

First up, Bumstead did two to three sets on the pec deck to warm up his chest in the fully lengthened position. The pec deck’s advantages over cable or dumbbell flyes are similar to the benefits of the cable stiff-legged deadlifts over a barbell or dumbbell variation. The pec deck’s fixed track allows Bumstead to focus more on the concentric and eccentric of the exercise and less on stabilizing the resistance.

An American Council on Exercise study found that the pec deck allows for better chest activation than the cable crosses, chest presses, dumbbell flyes, dips, and push-ups. Researchers concluded that the pec deck was nearly, if not more so, as effective as the flat barbell bench press for chest activation. (1

Incline Dumbbell Presses & Neutral Grip Incline Dumbbell Presses

Next up for Bumstead was the incline dumbbell press for his upper pec development. Bumstead has been building his upper chest throughout his off-season. He started with 80-pound dumbbells and worked his way up to 150-pound dumbbells, where his shoulders nearly gave out.

Bumstead hit four lighter sets of incline presses using a neural grip so that he could cross his elbows over his body for a stronger contraction. 


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Hammer Press

After warming up with a few sets on the hammer press machine, Bumstead knocked out four working sets with four 45-pound weight plates on each side, then three and a quarter plates (25 pounds), and then three 45-pound plates on each side for a final set.  Bumstead proactively swaps to drop sets if he reaches failure faster than expected.

Cable Crossovers & Pec Deck Flyes 

Bumstead’s next exercise combined a cable crossover and a press. The exercise offers the benefits of a power movement — the press — while still achieving full contraction of the chest fibers from the crossover to achieve a sufficient pump. He mentioned his lingering shoulder injury prevents him from doing specific exercises, so he has to be creative to continue progressing.

The pec deck is relatively versatile as it can be utilized for warm-ups, pre-exhaustion, or as a finisher for the chest.

Rope Pushdowns & Overhead Cable Triceps Extensions 

Not entirely satisfied, Bumstead completed a few sets on the rope pushdowns for some added triceps. Bumstead adds triceps work at the end of his chest workouts for extra volume since he feels he recovers from triceps training relatively quickly.

Getting in a stretch position, I feel, always grows my triceps.

Emphasizing that stretched position, Bumstead performed seated overhead cable extensions to burn out his arms.


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Chris Bumstead’s Chest & Tricep Workout

Below are the exercises Bumstead performed in order during his chest and triceps workout. Due to the video editing, the exact number of sets and reps aren’t available:

  • Pec Deck Flyes
  • Incline Dumbbell Press
  • Incline Neutral Dumbbell Press
  • Hammer Press
  • Cable Flyes/Press
  • Pec Deck Flyes
  • Rope Pushdowns
  • Seated Overhead Cable Tricep Extension 

That wraps up another “humble” chest workout from the reigning Classic Physique Olympia champion. We’ll see what kind of improvements Bumstead maintains on his physique following his prep and cut for the 2022 Olympia in December.


  1. Whitnee Schanke, et al. Top 3 Most Effective Chest Exercises. 2012. American Council on Exercise. 

Featured image: @cbum on Instagram