Nick Walker has become one of the most exciting names in the Men’s Open division. In a recent Muscle Maturity Podcast, Samir Bannout explained why posing is the key to Walker winning his first Sandow in November.
Fans expect another exciting contest appearance from Walker later this year judging from his last two shows. He proved himself against a fierce lineup of talent in Las Vegas at the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest. Mamdouh ‘Big Ramy’ Elssbiay, the two-time defending champion, failed to bring his best and was thrown off the podium. Instead, 212-turned-Open competitor Derek Lunsford finished runner-up and Walker placed third in addition to snagging the Olympia Peple’s Champ Award.
As the highest-ranking Olympian heading into the 2023 Arnold Classic, Walker was considered the on-paper favorite in Columbus, Ohio. Despite the momentum, Samson Dauda defeated Walker. Fans and bodybuilding veterans found the results surprising, such as Samir Bannout, who questioned Dauda winning with perfect scores.
Athletes rep Bob Cicherillo named Dauda and Lunsford as Hadi Choopan’s biggest threats, but Bannout believes Walker could also make a push for the title in a few months. Bannout specified that Walker would need to make some drastic changes to his posing routines to contend for gold, however.
Samir Bannout Says Fixing Front Lat Spread and Posing Key to Nick Walker Winning 2023 Mr. Olympia
According to Bannout, if Nick Walker wants to win an Olympia title, he needs to master the front lat spread pose.
“Yeah, he needs help. Nick Walker can do it all, believe me, believe me, I know exactly what he needs. Nick Walker could be much better yet if he posed properly but Phil Heath that that ability to do an incredible lat spread, Phil Heath has it.”
“I don’t think he [Nick Walker] is hitting it the right way. When I do my lat spread I release the pressure from my chest I don’t pull, I like – I don’t flex everything, sometimes you have to sometimes unflex the area to let it look better.”
“Yeah Nick needs to work mostly on – he needs to make it flow. Nick, he bends his legs a little bit and he makes himself look shorter because his lower body, the more you bent the knee slightly and hunch a little bit, it’s going to take away – it’s going to make your upper body and your torso look a lot bigger and a lot longer.”
As far as body mechanics are concerned, Bannout suggested that Walker learn how to flex his legs when they are pushed together. In addition. he said curving the toes and twisting the torso could result in better muscle separation in side poses.
“Much more than that, he needs to know how to flex his legs when they are together. This is going to be difficult for him. You have to understand that when your legs are close together like this and you don’t understand how to flex them, you’re going to lose the separation if you don’t find the way to pose them when they’re straight. This is another thing. So, he might need to put his toes like that and flex from his hips and bring in the separation in his side and let it happen and oblique and waist, wow… he’s going to look way better if he can do it. It’s doable.”
Similar to the late Mohamed Makkawy, Bannout urged Walker to get a ‘psycho’ coach who can elevate his posing to the next level. He believes he or bodybuilding legend Frank Zane would be suitable posing coaches for the 2023 Mr. Olympia contest.
“You have to have the eyes. If he was with Vince Gironda two days, he’ll fix that problem for him. But we can’t bring Vince Gironda from his grave. Those guys are psychos. They will go crazy on you, ‘What are you doing!?’ I mean, that’s how Mohamed Makkawy got better you know. You noticed Makkaway with his hands, every little thing flowed. Now, these guys do the shit, the – so many jungles out there [on stage]. It is [painful to watch].”
Boasting over 40 years of training experience, Samir underlined the importance of teaming up with someone with a proven track record.
“I don’t want to be biased but if Nick Walker wants to be Mr. Olympia; I’m going to tell you what’s his medicine, if he listens to this, he’ll go, I don’t care how much Frank Zane is going to charge him, but Frank may not charge him. But you need to take someone who is fully aware of the flows and how to flex certain things and make it flow. It would be worthwhile for Nick Walker to do.
Or Maybe he’s not going to go to Lee Labrada because Labrada is helping Hunter, he’d show him how to do it the wrong way maybe or he could come to me, I’ll make sure that I feed it to him by the spoon within 48 hours,” Bannout explained.
“Remember, he hasn’t been around for too long. So, he’s improving every year. He’s getting better and better. So, when you know, when you talk to someone that’s been there done that, I only have over 35 years of training, maybe 40 [over Nick Walker] and posing experience and all this. So, it would pay off for him to do that.
Given the artistic nature of posing, Samir Bannout says Walker will only improve if he sees a specialist who understands how the body flows.
“You cannot dwell on ‘My nutritional coach is going to help me do it.’ No. That’s wrong. You have to go to specialists to treat certain areas. If you have health issues you go to a specialist. If you have a hormonal problem you go to endocrinology, not the dentist. This is what Nick needs to do. He needs to go to a specialist in this area [posing and presentation].”
Reflecting on his last two competitions, Walker is carrying resentment as he felt he should have won the 2023 Arnold Classic. He’s made it clear that he plans to use the off-season to bring a package that matches the fullness of his Olympia look while retaining the conditioning that saw him reach second last month.
You can watch the full video below, courtesy of the Old School Labs YouTube channel:
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Given the experience and posing expertise of Frank Zane, Bannout believes the collaboration could be the difference-maker for Walker heading into 2023 Olympia, where he will look to knock off the newly minted winner Hadi Choopan.
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