Nick Walker’s rise in the IFBB Pro League has been meteoric. After winning the 2021 Arnold Classic and 2021 New York Pro within one year of turning pro, “The Mutant” took the sport by storm with a fifth-place finish at his Olympia debut in 2021. He improved to the bronze position in his sophomore Olympia in 2022.
On June 11, 2023, Walker published a video on his YouTube channel wherein he shared his off-season push-day workout. During his training, Walker preached the importance of avoiding muscle failure in every workout by leaving a few reps in reserve. Check it out below:
Nick Walker’s Push Day Workout
Walker performs seven exercises in his push-day workout that biases chest, shoulders, and triceps:
- Pec Deck Flye — 6 x 6-15 — three warm-up sets and three working sets
- Incline Dumbbell Press — 3 x 6-12
- Chest Press Machine — 2 x 15-16
- Machine Lateral Raise — 2 x 15
- Cable Lateral Raise — 3 x 12
- Smith Machine Skull Crusher — 3 x 8-15
- Machine Overhead Triceps Extension —2 x 15
Failure vs. Reps in Reserve
Walker has the size to contend for the Mr. Olympia title, as shown by his podium finish in 2022. He doesn’t need to train to failure in every set in the gym. He would rather perform an extra set than max out each to failure — leaving reps in reserve (i.e., not training to mechanical failure) can be beneficial to progress.
Training to failure is good once in a while…but you have to know what failure feels like to know what a rep in reserve feels like.
Walker suggests that training with reps in reserve can also be beneficial for growth as well. Training to failure too often could overfatigue the body, hindering recovery. However, training with reps in reserve should not be an excuse to lower training intensity. Avoiding muscle failure in each workout can help limit inflammation and increase training frequency, potentially improving longevity and muscle growth.
“For all I know, that could [be] why my upper body is bigger than my lower body,” said Walker regarding the balance of his physique. “I’ve learned how to train my upper body, and I feel like I push legs maybe a little too hard, and then I don’t recover fast enough, which in turn, I don’t grow fast enough.”
Incline Dumbbell Press
Walker lifts 40-pound dumbbells for his first set for six reps. He controls the eccentric to increase time under tension. He increases to 50-pound dumbbells for his second set for six reps — the lowest rep count he will go for “overall stimulus.” He dropped back to the 40-pounders for 12 reps on this final set.
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Walker raises his hands over his head with each rep to work his deltoids through their full range of motion. He performed two sets of 15 reps.
Walker moved to the cable machine to continue his deltoid training. The setup involves placing an incline bench in the center of a cable machine. Walker holds a cable in each hand and positions his chest against the bench. This setup removes the potential for momentum by stabilizing the torso, thereby ensuring the load remains on the delts. Walker performed 12 reps for three sets.
Smith Machine Skull Crushers & Overhead Triceps Extensions
The Smith machine skull crusher is the first triceps exercise of Walker’s push-day routine. He performed 15 reps on the first two sets with a 10-pound weight plate on both sides. Walker finished with eight reps on the final set.
The less I train arms, the bigger they get.
The bodybuilder wraps up his push-day workout after completing 15 reps on the machine overhead triceps extension. He suggested that by not over-training and allowing additional recovery time, his body rewards him with more noticeable gains in his arms.
Road To 2023 Olympia
Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram