How Chris Bumstead Trains His Chest & Back for Olympia

CBUm's chest and back workout
Chris Bumstead Instagram (@cbum)

The machine T-bar row is a staple movement to CBum’s back workout. 

Chris Bumstead, aka “CBum,” has become a Canadian legend in professional bodybuilding. Making his competitive debut at 19, CBum secured his IFBB League Pro card by 21. During his inaugural Olympia appearance, the judges were thoroughly impressed by his exemplary physique and awarded him second place. Since then, Bumstead has cemented his legacy as the reigning Mr. Olympia Classic Physique champion, securing the title for five consecutive years from 2019 to 2023.

Full Name: Chris Bumstead (Classic Physique Bodybuilder)
Weight Height Date Of Birth
215-220 Lbs 6’1” 2/2/1995
Division Era Nationality
Classic Physique 2010s, 2020s Canadian

Chris Bumstead, renowned for his high-intensity and voluminous workouts, consistently seeks training that pushes his muscles to their limits. Standing at 6’1”, his aesthetically striking physique ranks him among the elite bodybuilders of our era. 

This piece delves into CBum’s chest and back workouts. He recently shared a video on his YouTube channel outlining his rigorous routine for training these key muscle groups. Below, we detail the exercises he demonstrated and explain how you can incorporate them into your own upper body training regimen.

CBum’s Chest & Back Workout 

Your back, the second largest muscle group in your body, is crucial in enhancing your overall strength. Focusing on back training can significantly lower the risk of injuries and alleviate back pain. Similarly, developing your chest muscles is essential for refining your physique and improving your posture.

CBum takes a pre-workout drink before he starts his warm-ups for his chest and back workout. He then does some sets of lateral raises as warmups and switches to some resistance bands for more stretches. In his video, Chris Bumstead also does an incline dumbbell bench press for his warm-up. According to this 2015 research, combining general and specific warmups can increase your muscle performance during training (1).

As Bumstead trains, he states he’s lifting heavy during warmups because he wants to go heavier than 120 lbs to 130 and 140 lbs. He also advises that when warming up with heavy weights, you should slow your warmups and pause reps to avoid tears and hurting yourself. Below is a breakdown of CBum’s chest and back workout. 

Dumbbell Incline Bench Press
Machine Chest Supported T-Bar Row
Machine Incline Bench Press
Machine High Row
Dumbbell Incline Bench Press Isometric Hold

Superset — Dumbbell Incline Bench Press & Pull-Up


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Chris Bumstead (@cbum)

Chris Bumsteads hits the dumbbell incline bench press, starting with a pair of 120 lbs dumbbells. Next, he does quick pull-ups and switches to dumbbells for another set of dumbbell incline bench presses. Bumstead says it’s essential to start slowly to hit at least an extra 10 lbs in a week. A dumbbell incline bench press activates the delts, triceps, and pectoral muscles, emphasizing the upper pecs. 

Chris Bumstead explains that he’s focusing on controlled reps to build proper strength for pull-ups. Pull-ups work on the upper back and lat muscles. They also help improve grip strength, which is essential when lifting weights.

Machine Chest Supported T-Bar Row

CBum then switches to the T-bar row machine. He says he loves using this machine to do the chest supported T-bar row because it builds incredible strength. 

“The T-bar row allows me to get stronger, lift some serious weight but with controlled form…it’s cool when you really like start an offseason or a strength building program with perfect form rather than just like trying to like throw the weight off you, f*cking everything up, you actually realize you get stronger more efficiently. You feel better, stronger everything, and your weights will keep progressively.”

Chest-supported T-bar rows help build a strong back. When done effectively, they usually increase muscle mass, especially in the back muscles. The T-bar row works on the rear delts and lats while engaging your lower body and core for stabilization. 

Machine Incline Bench Press

From the T-bar row, CBum moves to what he calls “the pure iron” (a kind of incline machine press). Bumstead insists he wants to control his workouts, so he does a bit of rest pause reps and moves for an AMRAP (as many reps as possible) while doing his incline bench press

The isolateral machine allows you to do one or two arm workouts simultaneously. This can help with strength imbalances between arms. The incline bench press machine works on the delts, triceps, and pecs.

Superset — Machine High Row & Push Up

Finally, Chris Bumstead does supersets of a machine high row and push-ups. Research shows that supersets help with training efficiency and reduce training time (2). With the machine high rows, he uses a semi-supinated grip. Then Bumstead does a high pull with a pause to activate and target specific muscles in his back.

Next, CBum switches to some push-ups. Push-ups work on your chest, triceps, and core muscles, building your upper body strength.

Dumbbell Incline Bench Press Isometric Hold 

CBum concludes his high-intensity workouts in a fully stretched position with a dumbbell isometric hold on the incline bench press. Dumbbell isometric holds enhance full-body stabilization in joints and the core, which in turn helps with physical endurance and good body posture.

Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more bodybuilder workouts! 


  1. Andrade, D. C., Henriquez-Olguín, C., Beltrán, A. R., Ramírez, M. A., Labarca, C., Cornejo, M., Álvarez, C., & Ramírez-Campillo, R. (2015). Effects of general, specific and combined warm-up on explosive muscular performance. Biology of sport, 32(2), 123–128.
  2. Weakley, J. J. S., Till, K., Read, D. B., Roe, G. A. B., Darrall-Jones, J., Phibbs, P. J., & Jones, B. (2017). The effects of traditional, superset, and tri-set resistance training structures on perceived intensity and physiological responses. European journal of applied physiology, 117(9), 1877–1889.
Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.