Chris Bumstead Squats 405 Pounds For 15 Reps in Training

The three-time Classic Physique champion's heart rate jolts during heavy back squats.

It’s been a while since the reigning three-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Chris Bumstead performed squats at the gym. After his recent recovery from COVID-19 during the holiday season, the three-time Olympia champ has to build his wheels back up. He kept hack squats as part of his leg training routine, but standard back squats fell by the wayside until now. On Jan. 30, 2022, Bumstead took to his YouTube channel to share a training video covering his leg day.

I got some old-man knees, I got older-man hips.

The 26-year-old Bumstead kicked off his training with several scoops of pre-workout and an extended warm-up at the Revive Gym in Stuart, FL. Check out the entire workout in the video below:

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Bumstead opens his leg day with single-leg extensions superset with hamstring curls.

Rest does not help your joints — just make you tighten up even more.

Despite his time away from intense leg training, the whole stack on the leg extension machine was not enough weight for the Olympia champ. He performed rest-pause sets where he hit 20 reps with each leg and then completed an additional set with each leg to failure before resting.

After his warm-up sets, Bumstead went to the “dungeon,” where power racks lined up wall to wall. He placed a barbell on his traps — refusing to use a pad — and performed a set of squats without any additional weight. He then added a 45-pound weight plate to each barbell sleeve for the four subsequent sets.

Once he had three plates on each side of the barbell, Bumstead put on his lifting belt. Once he upped it to four plates on each side, he put on knee sleeves. His goal was 12 reps with the 405-pound barbell. He surpassed that target by three reps but felt it as his heart rate spiked to 170 beats per minute.


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Bumstead followed up his heart-rate-spiking set with another 11 reps at the same weight. Bumstead felt his “head-spinning” as this set raised his heart rate to 174bpm. After completing squats, Bumstead moved to the dumbbell rack for Bulgarian split squats.

The three-time Olympia champ said Bulgarian split squats have a bad reputation on social media as athletes dislike performing them. Even before his sets, Bumstead referred to the exercise as “dreaded” despite admitting he doesn’t dislike it. He even credits Bulgarian split squats for improving his poses from the back:

They’re great for building upper-quad, glute combo…that’s how you build that big back shot with tight glute striations — build that booty.

Bumstead performed the Bulgarian split squats with one leg on a bench, holding a dumbbell in the hand opposite the leg doing the work. If the right leg was working, the left hand held the weight and vice-versa. When the target number of reps was finished, Bumstead dropped the weight and went to failure with just his body weight.

Bumstead closed his leg day with additional hamstring curls and calf raises — alternating between standing and sitting calf raises each week. Currently, in the off-season, Bumstead trains legs once a week. As competition gets closer, he’ll add a second leg day each week.

2022 Arnold Classic

The 2022 Arnold Classic will see Bumstead’s biggest Olympia competition take the stage on the weekend of March 3-6, 2022. The defending Arnold Classic Physique champion Terrence Ruffin will be in Columbus, OH, to defend his crown, as will two-time Classic Physique Olympia champion Breon Ansley, who seeks to dethrone him.

Bumstead is not competing at the Arnold, but it will give an early look as to the training progress his rivals are making early in 2022 before they all meet on stage at the 2022 Olympia weekend on Dec. 16-18, 2022 in Las Vegas, NV. With an 11-month off-season before attempting a fourth consecutive Olympia title, Bumstead stated that he will have to bring the most significant improvements to his physique he ever has.

Featured image: @cbum on Instagram