Nick Walker, the Men’s Open division bodybuilder, is gearing up for the 2023 competitive season with rigorous training sessions. Walker, also known as “The Mutant,” is a select few IFBB Pro bodybuilders who established themselves as top-notch competitors in a short period. He won the 2021 New York Pro and secured a direct qualification to the 2021 Mr. Olympia, where he finished fifth. Walker 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. Within a year of turning Pro, Walker achieved this remarkable feat.
However, Walker 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. Now, he trains to achieve the ultimate goal of winning the Mr. Olympia title in 2023.
Recently, Walker 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.
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.”
After a few warm-up sets, 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.”
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. The compound dumbbell exercise, incline dumbbell press, 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.
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.
After wrapping up the chest exercises, he shifted his focus to working the shoulders. 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.
This medial deltoid exercise followed, where Walker performed the machine-seated lateral raise. He advised budding bodybuilders to keep their elbows slightly bent and focus on the contraction. “I like to keep my elbows slightly bent, so I can keep the tension on my delts. I don’t like to go too high because then it takes the tension off the delts. I like to keep it right around shoulder height, and then I’ll bring it down slowly, and then I’ll go back up and squeeze at the top,” he said.
Walker concluded the push-day workout session with a triceps exercise, where he performed the overhead single-arm extension. He advised bodybuilders to keep their elbows close to their heads and focus on the contraction. “I like to keep my elbows in tight, and I like to bring the weight behind my head to get the most stretch and then drive it up,” he said.
In conclusion, Nick Walker’s push-day training session with an emphasis on shoulder training was intense and insightful. Walker’s tips and techniques are valuable for both professionals and fitness enthusiasts. The Mutant’s dedication and hard work are evident in his physique and his achievements. We can’t wait to see him take on the 2023 competitive season and achieve his ultimate goal of winning the Mr. Olympia title.