Bodybuilder Nick Walker is switching gears in his training journey as 2023 Olympia is drawing closer. Walker recently went through a pull-day workout as a part of his preparation for the show and posted the video of this session on his YouTube channel.
Walker is an American professional bodybuilder and a top competitor in the IFBB Pro League’s Men’s Open division. He rose to prominence with a series of impressive performances in this first year of turning Pro. After making the debut with a fourth place finish at the 2020 Chicago Pro, Nick Walker snatched a win at the 2021 New York Pro, earning the maiden Olympia invitation in the process. He then became the 2021 Arnold Classic winner and rose to the contender’s status even before making the Olympia debut.
The fifth place finish at the 2021 Olympia was a great achievement given that ‘The Mutant’ was relatively new in the professional circuit. However, he decided to step away from the competition to improve his physique and take on the top crop.
Walker returned to competition at the 2022 Olympia and dominated the stage from prejudging to the finals. His effort earned him a podium finish as Walker stood third at the show. Walker’s most recent appearance came at the 2023 Arnold Classic in March. Although he was favored to become the two-time Arnold Classic champion, the New Jersey native lost to Samson Dauda by a razor thin margin.
Nick Walker will now attempt to dethrone Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan and achieve the ultimate goal of his bodybuilding career at the 2023 Olympia. 16 weeks out of the show, he annihilated a pull day workout in the gym to prepare his physique for this task. So let’s see what Nick Walker’s current pull-day workout looks like.
Nick Walker goes through a pull-day workout
Cable Straight Arm Pullovers
Walker started the pull-day workout with this exercise. But instead of pulling the weight in line with the upper body, he pulled it back as far as possible to get maximum stretch in the lats. The 28-year-old employed slow movement in the eccentric phase to focus on the muscles.
“On this movement, I’m able to get a full stretch. It’s giving me more of a stretch than an actual pulldown would. So I think it’s very beneficial when you’re trying to grow your lats, 100 percent.”
Walker pushed through three sets of straight arm pulldowns adhering to 15 to 20 rep range and took to the next exercise.
Chest-Supported T-Bar Rows
The 2021 Arnold Classic winner followed up the cable machine exercise with one of his favorite back movements – the chest-supported T-bar row. Specifically, Walker likes to perform this exercise on the Atlantis plate-loaded machine as it offers different grips for variation. To put more emphasis on the stretch, he employed a wide grip in this training session.
After using explosive movement during the concentric phase, but similar to the previous exercise, the 28-year-old performed the eccentric phase at a really slow pace. He is a huge proponent of slow eccentric movements and advises to adapt them for maximum gains.
“You’ve got to realize that training in this fashion, you don’t need to do seven to eight exercises per body part,” Walker added.
He performed eight to ten reps in all three sets of this exercise and proceeded to do the next one.
Pull-ups are arguably the best bodyweight compound exercise to build the upper body pulling strength. However, it is not a suitable exercise for beginners as it needs sufficient upper body strength. This is where assisted pull-ups come in handy. But professional bodybuilders have to focus on hypertrophy.
To eliminate the jerkin motion or momentum and to build mind-muscle connection many elite bodybuilders opt for assisted pull-ups. Walker’s weight is hovering in the 290 lbs range right now. He felt that doing assisted pull-ups was probably in his best interest and performed three sets of ten to 15 reps to stimulate the pulling muscles.
Wide Grip Seated Cable Rows
After working on the lats for the first few moments, Nick Walker advanced to doing the seated rows to work the upper back muscles. In between sets, Walker explained the main challenge of developing the back muscles. He feels that the back is a tricky body part to grow simply because you can’t see it. Experience has taught the 28-year-old to use moderate weight while focusing on the contraction and eccentric phase for the best results.
“Ever since doing that over the years, what was once a weak body part has become one of my best body parts.”
Finding the best rep range is also crucial as it may vary for each muscle group depending upon individual body type. Walker applied this same wisdom to seated rows as well and performed two sets of this exercise for 15 reps each. This movement served as the finisher to back exercises as Nick Walker shifted his focus to the biceps next.
Nick Walker’s arms training routine has changed significantly over time. A few years ago, ‘The Mutant’ dedicated a separate arms day in his routine and performed a few biceps or triceps exercises on other days. However, his current split of push, pull, and leg day does not have a full Arm day.
Instead, Walker performs two to three biceps exercises (for two to three sets each) on a pull day and follows the same method for triceps training on a push day. The 28-year-old feels that his arms are pretty dominant already and overdoing arms exercises may not be ideal from the aesthetic point of view. On this pull day, Nick Walker incorporated two variations of machine curls after finishing up with back exercises.
Seated Machine Curls
Walker first performed seated machine Curls to stimulate the biceps. He reiterated that his arms respond best to high volume for inducing hypertrophy and shared the ideal rep range for him:
“I specifically like to stay in the 12 to 20 range. More so 15 to 20 but 12 I am okay with. But I feel for biceps and triceps, I feel I got the most growth was definitely in the 15 to 20 range.”
Walker is a big believer of slow reps and that’s how he performs the arms exercises as well. Needless to say, they have responded well to this type of training. Additionally, Walker employed the myo-reps training method for doing seated machine curls to eliminate the junk volume and produce maximal muscle growth. He performed two sets of machine curls for 15 to 2o reps and proceeded to the final exercise of the day.
Cable Curls concluded the pull-day workout for Nick Walker. He performed a few sets of this exercise and addressed a crucial problem that a lot of people face.
Walker stated that quite a few people experience the plateau in their fitness journey and fail to make gains in spite of adapting the best training methods. He attributed this to wrong exercise selection and advised:
“You’re probably just doing wrong exercises too. Find the exercises that you best connect with already and then do those methods. I guarantee you, you will transform.”
After doing three sets of cable curls for 10 to 12 reps with a slow eccentric phase, ‘The Mutant’ called it a day in the gym.
Overall, the workout included:
- Cable Straight Arm Pullovers – 3 sets of 15 to 20 reps
- Chest Supported T-Bar Rows – 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps
- Assisted Pull-ups – 3 sets of 10 to 15 reps
- Wide Grip Seated Cable Rows – 2 sets of 15 reps
- Seated Machine Curls – 2 sets of 15 to 20 reps; Myo-reps
- Cable Curls – 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps
Nick Walker gives health update as he makes changes to diet and training for 2023 Olympia
Nick Walker is already leaps and bounds ahead in 2023 compared to his previous off-season. He admits having fallen into the ‘more, more and more volume’ mindset in 2022. But he has made the necessary adjustments and said:
“Now I’m paying more attention to just making the sets count. I think it has shown in my physique thus far. I think I have made quite some improvements in a short amount of time.”
At the time of recording this video, Walker was 16 weeks out of the 2023 Olympia. He spoke about the changes in his diet as well and said:
“We’ve upped the cardio and dropped food in terms of fats. We did drop the carbs just a little bit but not crazy but we did drop all the fats pretty much out of my diet except for Beef meals and a little almond butter before the diet.”
Nick Walker stated that his weight has already started to drop down, which is a positive sign. He feels that he has made a lot of progress during this off-season and he is confident that 2023 is going to be his year. Although ‘The Mutant’ is closer to the Olympia title than he has ever been, he will have to push aside elite competitors like Derek Lunsford, Samson Dauda, and reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan to take it home.
You can watch the full workout video here, courtesy of Nick Walker’s personal YouTube channel: