Nick Walker is training like a man possessed to take the 2023 competitive season head-on. “The Mutant” is constantly experimenting with new machines and trying to get the most out of his workouts.
Walker is one of the select few IFBB Pro bodybuilders who wasted no time running through the division and established themselves as top-notch competitors. The Men’s Open division bodybuilder won the 2021 New York Pro and secured a direct qualification to the 2021 Mr. Olympia. Shortly after, he returned to the stage and emerged victoriously at the 2021 Arnold Classic, considered the second most prestigious bodybuilding competition in the world after Mr. Olympia. Remarkably enough, Walker achieved this within a year of turning Pro.
Walker secured a fifth-place finish at his Olympia debut in 2021. However, he felt he needed to improve his physique further to compete against the top crop.
The longest off-season of The Mutant’s career followed. He returned to the 2022 Mr. Olympia in December, and a strong performance warranted him a third-place finish at the show.
The 2023 Arnold Classic was Walker’s most recent competitive appearance, and he missed the second Arnold’s title by a razor-thin margin to Samson Dauda. Walker now trains to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Mr. Olympia title in 2023. Recently, he went through a push-day training session with an emphasis on shoulder training.
The workout video was posted on The Mutant’s YouTube channel. Walker walked the viewers through the workout and shared some important bodybuilding tips that would greatly benefit professionals as well as fitness enthusiasts. So let’s see what Walker has in store for us.
Nick Walker goes through a push-day workout
Walker shed light on the nature of this training session before starting and explained:
“There will be a lot more shoulder movement. We’re gonna do about three chest movements for this workout, probably do about three shoulder movements, and we’ll probably do one tricep for this one.”
He revealed that he is no longer doing too many arm exercises but is satisfied with the growth anyway. This explains the reason for having only one triceps exercise in the entire session.
Pec Deck Fly
Walker started the training session with chest exercises first and performed pec deck flyes on the M Torture machine. According to Walker, doing chest flyes at the beginning of the workout helps him build a better mind-muscle connection. He explained:
“I always feel like I’m able to connect better throughout the rest of the workout with my chest. I know they say, ‘Oh, it’ll affect the pressing’ whatever… But in my opinion, I’m still pretty strong even when I do fatigue a little on the flyes… And again, I’m just worried about the contraction. So if I start with pressing, the contraction is not as strong for me if I started with the flyes to really get the blood flow.”
Walker did a few warm-up sets and then proceeded to do the working sets of pec deck flyes. Before moving on to the next exercise, The Mutant gave an essential chest training tip to budding bodybuilders and said:
“I’m a big believer… When you get in that stretch(ed position), you want to hold that for a quick minute because, in my opinion, when you hold the stretch even for the back, it helps you flare out even more and even for the chest… To hold the stretch creates the width within the chest as well. So those are the cues I always incorporate, including the very slow eccentric reps.”
Walker added that lifting heavy can get you to fatigue the muscles as well. However, lifting heavy is not everything that the bodybuilder should focus on.
“The goal is to contract as hard as we can and as fast as we can and get the f*** out to get the recovery process started,” He added.
Following this, Walker performed the working sets with a 10 to 12 rep range and moved on to do some free weight exercise giving in to popular demand from his fans.
Incline Dumbbell Press
This compound dumbbell exercise was the only free-weight movement in The Mutant’s training session. He performed the warm-up sets with 110-pound dumbbells and slowly worked his way up to the top set of eight to ten reps with 132 pounds. The 28-year-old hit a back-off set of 10 to 12 reps with 110-pound dumbbells to focus on the movement and took to the next exercise.
Machine Chest Press
Walker employed a Newtech plate-loaded machine next to perform the chest press. While speaking about the movement pattern of the machine and how it affects the pectoral muscles, Walker stated:
“The way this press is set up, it kind of goes down like a decline, but it closes in to really squeeze (the pecs). So we’re actually going to do more neutral grip on this one.”
By this time, Walker’s muscles had been sufficiently warmed up, and he did not need to do as many warm-up sets. Therefore he performed a heavy working set after one quick warm-up set.
Walker believes it is essential to recover completely before the next training session for the same muscle group. Therefore he would not train chest for at least the next two to three days. After wrapping up the chest exercises, he shifted his focus to working the shoulders.
Seated Machine Shoulder Press
Starting with the anterior/front deltoid movement, Walker performed the seated machine shoulder press. The Mutant shed light on his preferred volume to get the most out of shoulder exercises and stated:
“I think for me, the shoulders really get the most out of the 10 to 15 range. So as for the real delts and sides, I don’t like to go any lower than 12.”
After a couple of warm-up sets, Walker subjected himself to straight working sets of machine shoulder press, maintaining a 10 to 15-rep range. He continued further and annihilated a back-off set before taking up the next exercise.
Machine Seated Lateral Raise
This medial deltoid exercise followed next, and Walker used a plate-loaded machine to put in the work. Slight modifications in posture can drastically affect the outcome of this exercise. The Mutant voiced his opinion that leaning forward a little bit can engage the posterior deltoid muscles during machine lateral raises, and keeping your head low can activate the traps. Therefore, he assumed an upright stance and kept his head high to keep the focus on medial/lateral delts.
Conventional wisdom states that raising the arms above shoulder level defeats the purpose and engages other muscles. However, Walker feels:
“I get a better workout going a little higher with a little lighter weight than, kind of, just stopping here (at shoulder height).”
A few solid sets of machine lateral raises found their place in Walker’s workout. The 2021 Arnold Classic winner took to a posterior deltoid movement next.
Cable Rear Delt Fly
Posterior deltoids need a dedicated exercise to bring them to par with other shoulder muscles. Although they are activated during many back exercises, it is essential to include exercises that specifically target them. Walker performed his favorite rear delt exercise next — the cable rear delt fly.
His philosophy for shoulder development is fairly straightforward, and he laid it out while doing this exercise. The Mutant explained:
“I believe pressing plays a huge role in obviously huge shoulders but when you’re pressing for chest, especially on the incline, you’re incorporating the front delt a lot. So I think the main thing for shoulders is to really murder the side and the rear delts.”
The New York native cranked out two sets of the exercise and wrapped up shoulder training.
Walker shifts focus to triceps
Seated Machine Overhead Triceps Extension
Overhead exercises work the triceps from a lengthened/stretched position and put more emphasis on the long head of the tricep. Machine overhead triceps extension was the only triceps exercise in Walker’s workout, and he utilized a plate-loaded machine for the same.
After annihilating a working set of overhead triceps extensions of 15 reps, The Mutant finished the training session with the second set of nine reps to failure.
The entire chest, shoulder, and triceps training session saw Walker ‘push’ through these exercises:
Walker updated his fans about his weight during the workout and stated that he is gaining weight pretty effortlessly without retaining a lot of water.
“Weight is now starting to skyrocket pretty high. Woke up this morning (and weighed) 277 pounds, and I like to think this is probably my leanest without holding on a sh** tons of water too which is really good for me.”
Right now, the goal for the 28-year-old is to manage his diet and training in a way so that he feels energized. Therefore he is in a caloric surplus but not overdoing it.
Many experts believe Walker is a future Mr. Olympia. If he irons out a few things and continues on the path that he is on, it could very well become a reality sooner than later.
You can watch the full workout video below, courtesy of Nick Walker’s YouTube channel:
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