The gap between Nick Walker and Mr. Olympia title is narrowing each passing year. Having made it into the top three at the 2022 Olympia, Walker now trains to snatch it from reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan and recently went through a chest, shoulder and triceps workout as a part of this effort.
America’s own Nick Walker competes in the Men’s Open division of the IFBB Pro League. In a short span of three years, the 28-year-old has emerged to be a top Olympia contender. His resume includes impressive performances in six Pro bodybuilding shows. He holds dominant wins at the 2021 New York Pro and the 2021 Arnold Classic. The two Olympia appearances saw him secure fifth and third place finishes at the 2021 and the 2022 Olympia, respectively.
Making a quick turnaround after the 2022 Olympia, Nick Walker attempted to bring home the second Arnold Classic title in 2023. Walker was a massive favorite heading into the show. Experts in the bodybuilding community expected challengers like Andrew Jacked, Shaun Clarida and Samson Dauda to present a formidable challenge but rallied behind Walker to secure the win anyway. However, British bodybuilder Samson Dauda emerged as a dark horse and snatched the win from Walker after a neck-and-neck competition.
Although The Mutant had to be content with a runner-up finish, many people contested the result and opined that Walker deserved the judges’ nod. But he moved on from the argument quickly and started focusing his energies on improving the physique further to leave no doubt in judges’ minds the next time around.
As a part of his quest to win the Mr. Olympia title, Walker recently went through an off-season chest and triceps workout. So let’s check out how the 2021 Arnold Classic winner is pushing the limits to be the next Mr. Olympia.
Nick Walker goes through a push day workout
Pec Deck Flye
Nick Walker started the training session with pec deck flyes. Flye, an effective chest isolation movement, helps build adduction strength of the upper body. Additionally, the pec deck flye ranks high in terms of pectoral muscle activation, losing only to the bench press. As a result, it is a great exercise for achieving hypertrophy.
Walker stated that the angle of the machine used in this workout was slightly different, which presumably helped with muscle activation. The Mutant performed a couple of warm-up sets of this exercise and followed them up with two top sets to direct the blood into the chest. He stated that he does not need to push to failure every single time and only pushes to failure once in a while. Walker said:
“I have the size already so training to failure is good once in a while. But I’m also here for longevity. So doing an extra set of something rather than pushing one set to ultimate failure… Sometimes this isn’t a bad thing.”
“I still believe in training to failure. But I think utilizing reps from the reserve can also be beneficial in terms of growth. Because I feel like sometimes if you push the body too much and train to failure too often, you’re just fatiguing the body more… Not necessarily giving the rest your body truly needs, which is where reps in reserve come to play where instead of doing one or two sets to failure maybe do three sets of 12. But the reps… This is where you have to be really in tune with the muscle.”
Even though this method is less fatiguing, Walker feels it can lead to more growth. Following this, he took the first heavy compound exercise of the day.
Incline Dumbbell Press
Incline movements emphasize the clavicular head of the pectoralis major muscle and help build the upper chest by giving it a more fuller look. Walker took to the incline dumbbell press next and annihilated a few good sets. He started with the 40 lbs dumbbells for the warm-up set and slowly worked his way up, performing eight to ten rep in each set. Walker made sure that he performed the eccentric phase of each movement with really slow and controlled motion to keep the muscles under tension for a longer duration.
Machine Chest Press
After working with the free weights for the previous exercise, the New Jersey native jumped into the machine chest press. Weights on the machine move along a fixed trajectory and hence eliminate the need to control the weights. This results in overall reduced chances of injury.
The machine chest press served as the final chest exercise in Walker’s routine as he got a few sets of the exercise under his belt and shifted the focus on other muscle groups.
Lateral Raise – Machine and Cable
After wrapping up the chest routine, the 2021 Arnold Classic winner took up the shoulder exercises and performed machine lateral raises to work the medial deltoids. He cranked out 2 sets of 15 reps of the exercise on a machine.
Nick Walker’s shoulder routine typically consists of only medial and anterior deltoid exercises. For him, posterior deltoids deserve a place in the back workout. Walker explained:
“I normally always do two side delt exercises but I might start incorporating like maybe one press, one side or one side and one front. And I just think about side delts – they can never be too big in my opinion. I like to keep rear delts with back now. To me, I just feel like rear delts could be part of shoulders so if you train with shoulders, completely fine in my opinion. But for me it’s part of back.”
The Mutant then moved on to the cable machine variation of the same. Cable machines keep the muscles under tension throughout the range of motion and help bring about hypertrophy more effectively. While doing the lateral raises, Walker raises his hands higher than usual. Explaining the logic behind this, he said:
“I don’t really train the traps directly because I do feel like doing the side laterals really high, even though it really targets the side laterals really well, I do think no matter what, you’re going to engage a little bit of traps in there. So I really don’t think I need to directly hit traps.”
After pushing through a few sets of cable lateral raises next, Walker took to the final exercise of the day.
Smith Machine Skull Crushers
With chest and shoulder exercises in the books, it was time for the New Jersey native to target the next important muscle group for pushing – triceps. Walker first performed the skull crushers on a Smith machine to emphasize on the xx head of the triceps and then jumped into the final exercise of the day.
Machine Overhead Triceps Extensions
Walker wrapped up the training session with this exercise. Overhead triceps extensions work the muscles from a stretched position as well as a different angle. Hence they help emphasize the long head of triceps.
Walker did a few sets of the exercise with furious intensity to add the final bit of stimulus to the muscles and called it a day in the gym.
Overall, the workout consisted of:
- Pec Deck Flye
- Incline Dumbbell Press
- Machine Chest Press
- Machine Lateral Raise
- Cable Lateral Raise
- Smith Machine Skull Crusher
- Machine Overhead Triceps Extension
Nick Walker has made tremendous progress in his career so far. When the 2023 Olympia weekend kicks off, Derek Lunsford and reigning champion Hadi Choopan will probably be the only competitors Standing in Walker’s way if he continues to train with similar intensity in the months to come. Whether he can get past them or not depends solely on his drive to push the limits of his body.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Nick Walker’s personal YouTube channel:
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- Best Push Day Workout for Chest, Shoulders, And Triceps
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