2021 Arnold Classic champion Nick Walker is not taking much of the holiday season off from the gym. The fifth-place finisher of the 2021 Mr. Olympia contest took to his YouTube channel on Dec. 27, 2021, to round out a year of training with a back workout at the Performance Training Academy in Hamilton Township, NJ. Walker planned to perform a lot of rowing movements to add more thickness to his back — a facet of his physique he told BarBend he is working to improve for the 2022 Mr. Olympia contest.
Check out Walker’s full workout in the video below. The morning of his training session, “The Mutant” weighed in at 286.8 pounds while remaining relatively lean. He took pictures to analyze his physique and admitted that he is holding more water than he’d like, but he isn’t too concerned as his time in the gym has been effective, the pumps have been sufficient, and his appetite is still strong.
Seated, Bent-Over, and Dumbbell Rows
Walker warmed up with some seated rows with a maximum advantage grip (MAG) attachment. It’s not entirely clear how many sets he performed, but he left his hoodie on for all of them. During his final set, he appeared to pull nearly the entire weight stack of the cable machine. After he warmed up, the hoodie came off and he loaded a pair of 45-pound weight plates onto the collar of the bent-over T-bar row machine. He performed every set with an overhand grip about shoulder-width apart to failure while wearing wrist straps. He tacked on an additional 45-pound plate with each set, culminating in a top set with four plates on the bar before finishing with a drop set. Clearly winded following his heavy drop set, Walker took to the camera:
Walker shifted to the dumbbell rack, where he picked up a 120-pound dumbbell for single-arm rows. By the time he got to a set with his left arm, the striations peeled throughout his upper body. He worked his way up to a 150-pound dumbbell, which he still pulled through the full range of motion. He dropped the weight back down to 100 pounds and rowed to failure with each arm.
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Walker shifted into a seated position, grabbed a lat pulldown bar, and assumed a medium-width grip. He again opted for ascending sets to failure before concluding with a drop set. Maintaining his seated positioning, he hooked up two single-grip handles (dual-cable) to the cable machine for additional seated rows. This time his elbows flared out with an overhand grip as opposed to his seated rows earlier where his elbows remained tucked alongside his neutral grip.
Walker gave his upper and mid-back a break to work his lower back with back extensions. Maintaining a neutral spine, Walker did at least two sets without any weight beyond the muscle packed onto his massive torso. He closed his training session with some quick posing that showed off the density he’s added to his frame thus far.
It was a good workout; pump was insane.
Walker signed off with a recap of his workout, touting that each set he aims for at least 20 reps or reaching failure. He spoke of it like it was simply another day at the office, building towards his ultimate goal of a Mr. Olympia title. We’ll see if the added focus on his back helps inch him closer to the Sandow trophy in 2022.
Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram / photo by Dr. Umar Nisar (@umar.nisarr on Instagram)