Nick Walker is tackling the final phase of his 2023 Olympia prep with furious intensity. Five weeks out of the show, the 28-year-old tackled a chest and biceps workout to get ready to show his talent.
New Jersey’s own Nick Walker is one of the foremost competitors in the Men’s Open division of the IFBB Pro League. He belongs to the new generation of bodybuilders that swept aside ageing veterans and fellow rising prospects to become a top Olympia contender.
Since making the bodybuilding debut with a fourth-place finish at the 2020 Chicago Pro, ‘Mutant’ has never finished outside of top five in any of his competitive appearances. He won the 2021 New York Pro and the 2021 Arnold Classic within a year of earning the IFBB Pro card. Walker’s musculature, proportions and conditioning are widely appreciated within the bodybuilding community.
Both of Nick Walker’s Mr. Olympia appearances in 2021 and 2022 resulted in top five finishes as he finished fifth and third, respectively. His 2022 Olympia standing is especially impressive considering the chaos around his coaching staff changes during the prep.
‘Mutant’ kicked off the 2023 competitive season with the 2023 Arnold Classic. Although he was a favorite heading into the show, Walker narrowly missed the opportunity to become a two-time Arnold Classic champion and finished second behind Samson Dauda.
He is now working hard to get ready for the 2023 Olympia that takes place from Nov. 3 to 5 in Orlando, Florida. Walker firmly believes that his time to become Mr. Olympia has arrived and his shredded physique updates back the claim really well. While most industry experts favor Derek Lunsford and Hadi Choopan to be the top finishers, Nick Walker plans is comfortable being an underdog and hand a shocking loss to his opponents.
Nick Walker goes through a chest, biceps and shoulder workout
On October 2, 2023, exactly five weeks out of the 2023 Olympia, Nick Walker dealt with a chest, biceps and shoulder workout at the Dragon’s Lair gym. At this stage of the competition prep, Walker has reduced the training frequency and added more volume to his workouts.
“Being this close to the show, I just don’t want to put too much frequency because me being a bigger person and the way I train, I have to maximize recovery as best as I can.”
He will maintain this approach for the remainder of the 2023 Olympia prep. In this session, Nick Walker performed hard sets of all the exercises and explained the thought process behind his techniques, exercises selection and learnings. So without further delay, let’s follow ‘Mutant’ along and understand how he trained.
Walker enthusiastically jumped into the workout with cable crossover. Most people assume this to be another pump-inducing exercise that is a good fit for getting some extra pump at the end of the workout. However, this could not be further from reality.
Cable crossover is the third most effective movement for pectoral muscle activation, which makes it a great first exercise to fire up the chest for heavy pressing movements.
Walker explained his reason for starting his chest workouts with this isolation movement and said:
“People say they don’t like to do that because it could take away from their pressing movement. I haven’t found that to be quite the issue for me. Honestly, it helps me contract better with the chest when I do it.”
He worked with a couple of warm-up sets and a few working sets of cable crossover before taking up heavy pressing exercises.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Nick Walker took up incline dumbbell presses next to challenge his chest muscles. Incline pressing movements emphasize the clavicular head of the pectoralis major muscle, commonly referred as the upper pecs.
Walker is a huge proponent of slow reps. He performs most of the exercise with slow and controlled motion to increase the amount of time under tension. Speaking about the technique employed for incline dumbbell press, he said:
“We probably won’t be going crazy, crazy heavy. Slight hard pause at the bottom, let that feel a little stretch, explode up and slow down. That’s how I built my physique the most and I feel my chest has improved the most doing it this way.”
Walker performed the exercise at a lower incline. With this, he aimed to keep the anterior delts out of the movement as much as possible and directed the tension towards pectoral muscles. Additionally, he is not rigid with the training volume or intensity and makes adjustments based on how his body feels.
Walker performed three working sets of the exercise and performed as many partial reps as possible at the end of the third set. Another noteworthy detail about Nick Walker’s technique is the range of motion. He does not lock out the weight completely after lifting it. Instead he stops millimeters before complete lockout. This keeps the tension on the muscle at all times, forcing it to grow at a faster rep.
Matrix Flat Chest Press
Walker advanced over to the flat pressing exercise next and performed a few sets on the Matrix chest press machine. Over the years, the 2021 Arnold Classic winner has become a huge fan of straight sets. However, he incorporated a drop set here and explained:
“As I get closer to the show, I do believe; if utilized correctly, drop sets are very beneficial. I’ve become a fan of straight sets. Honestly, I think it’s the least fatiguing, you can maintain as much strength, but every now and again, it’s fun to throw in a drop set.”
Drop Sets are an effective way of pushing beyond the point of failure and Nick Walker achieved this with furious intensity. Following this, the 28-year-old proceeded to do a bodyweight movement.
Parallel Bar Dips
Walker got a few sets of parallel bar dips under his belt next and then proceeded to do the final chest exercise of the day.
Pec Deck Flyes
Nick Walker performed pec deck flyes in the concluding part of the chest workout. It is another isolation movement that is unbelievably effective in terms of pectoral muscle activation. Walker switches between pec deck flyes and cable crossover at the first and final exercises of his chest workout.
On this day, the New Jersey native performed two sets of the exercise. The first set was an all out hard set while the second set was done with a rest-pause method.
“Goal is to go heavy so we want to maybe maximize, try to get 20 reps total. Not at one time but into the rest pause,” Nick Walker said.
Standing Dumbbell Curls
Nick Walker performed this as the first bicep exercise of the training session. He performed three sets of the movement to stimulate the biceps brachii and advanced over the next movement.
Machine preacher Curls
Preacher curls are the most beneficial bicep isolation movement due to the arm placement and stability it provides in the shoulder joint. Very few bicep movements come close to preacher curls in terms of muscle activation. Nick walker got a few sets of the machine variation of preacher curls under his belt next.
Cable machines put the muscles under tension throughout the range of motion and help bring about hypertrophy more effectively. This makes them extremely important in the world of professional bodybuilding.
Nick Walker pushed through some sets of cable curls next and shifted his focus to shoulders next.
Machine Lateral Raises
This was the sole shoulder exercise in Nick Walker’s training session. He executed one good set of seated lateral raises on the machine to work the medial / lateral deltoids and finished up the shoulder work. Once again, the rest-pause method was implemented to do the exercise.
Hanging Leg Raises
Nick Walker wrapped up the training session with two sets of hanging leg raises to develop the abs.
Overall, the chest and biceps workout was made up of following exercises:
- Cable Crossover – 2 warm-up sets, 3 working sets – 1 set set of 15 reps, 2 sets of 10 to 12 reps with heavier weights
- Incline Dumbbell Press – 2 warm-up sets, 3 working sets (Partial reps to failure at the end of the third set)
- Matrix Flat Chest Press – 2 warm-up sets, 2 working sets (12 to 15 reps each), 1 drop set
- Pec Deck Flyes – 2 sets – 1 hard set with heavy weight and 1 set with rest-pause method
- Hanging Leg Raises – 2 sets
Nick Walker is closer to winning the coveted Mr. Olympia title than ever before in his bodybuilding career. But the level of competition has also been getting incrementally intense over the last couple of years. But Walker has all the tools to beat the higher echelons of the division and become the next Mr. Olympia.
Watch the full workout video below, courtesy of HD Muscle YouTube channel: