Get Fitter, Faster: Fitness, Food & Health Hacks

Hey, I'm Julien. I share a weekly newsletter designed to make you fitter. It's short, smart and actionable17k read it, I'd love you to join too. It's free.

I want to get fitter

5x Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead Reveals His 10 Favorite Exercises to Maximize Muscle Growth

 Written by 

Julien Raby

 Last updated on 

Want to build muscle like a champion?

In a recent interview, 5x Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead discussed the top ten exercises to focus on for lifelong muscle growth. 

  • Save

Discover the secret to a balanced, symmetrical physique, and learn how to prevent injuries while achieving your goals.

Uncover the exact exercises that target every major muscle group, from barbell squats for powerful legs to hanging leg raises for a sculpted core.

Don’t miss out on this expert advice from one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time.

Barbell Back Squats

Chris Bumstead emphasizes the importance of barbell back squats for overall leg growth. This exercise targets the glutes, quads, and a large portion of the legs, making it a fundamental movement for anyone looking to build muscle. Bumstead mentions that while he loves traditional barbell squats, using the Smith machine can be a good alternative to reduce knee strain and ensure longevity.


Deadlifts are another cornerstone in Bumstead’s exercise arsenal. They target the hamstrings, glutes, and back, providing a comprehensive workout for the posterior chain. According to Bumstead, deadlifts are indispensable for building strength and muscle mass efficiently.

Pull-Ups (Neutral Grip)

Pull-ups, especially with a neutral grip, are a favorite of Bumstead for their ability to work the back and biceps simultaneously. The neutral grip is particularly beneficial as it balances muscle activation, reducing the risk of imbalances and injuries.

Incline Dumbbell Press

For upper chest development and shoulder safety, Bumstead prefers the incline dumbbell press. Unlike the barbell press, the dumbbell version allows for a more natural range of motion, which is easier on the shoulders and helps in maintaining symmetry.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press (Seated)

To target the shoulders and triceps, Bumstead recommends the seated dumbbell shoulder press. The seated position provides better stability and reduces the risk of lower back injuries, making it a safer option for long-term shoulder development.

Close-Grip Flat Bench Press

The close-grip flat bench press is essential for targeting the triceps and chest. Bumstead includes this exercise for its ability to engage different parts of the chest and triceps compared to other chest exercises, ensuring comprehensive upper body development.

Standing Dumbbell Curls (Supinated)

When it comes to bicep isolation, standing dumbbell curls with a supinated grip are Bumstead’s go-to exercise. This classic movement allows for a strong mind-muscle connection and is crucial for achieving balanced arm development.

Bent Over Rows

Bent over rows are crucial for developing the upper and lower back. Bumstead highlights their importance for core stability and overall back thickness, making them a staple in his training routine.

Hanging Leg Raises

For core strength and aesthetics, Bumstead favors hanging leg raises. This exercise targets the lower abs, which are often harder to engage than the upper abs. Additionally, hanging from a bar provides benefits for shoulder and spine health.

Lateral Raises

To achieve well-rounded shoulder development, lateral raises are essential. Bumstead stresses their importance for increasing shoulder width and enhancing upper body symmetry, rounding out his list of top ten exercises.

Rationale Behind Exercise Selection

Bumstead’s choices reflect a balance between compound movements and isolation exercises, ensuring comprehensive muscle engagement and growth. These exercises cover all major muscle groups, helping to prevent imbalances and overuse injuries.

Implementation Tips

Bumstead suggests incorporating these exercises into a structured workout plan, focusing on proper form and gradually increasing weight and intensity. He emphasizes the importance of consistency and listening to your body to prevent injuries and achieve sustainable muscle growth.

Watch the Full Video:


By focusing on these ten essential exercises, you can achieve maximum muscle growth and maintain a well-rounded physique. Chris Bumstead’s expert recommendations provide a solid foundation for anyone looking to build and maintain muscle for life. Prioritize these exercises, stay consistent, and remember to focus on proper technique for the best results.

Share via
Copy link