Nick Walker Attacks a Brutal Back Workout 2 Weeks Out from Arnold Classic

Nick Walker back workout
Images via Nick Walker YouTube (@NickWalker39) and Instagram (@nick_walker39)

Nick Walker does a machine-focused back workout to prepare for the 2023 Arnold Classic. 

The 2023 Arnold Classic is approaching, and Nick Walker isn’t taking his workouts lightly. As a 28-year-old American, Walker has high ambitions and is on the come up in the world of bodybuilding. So with the 2023 Arnold Classic closing in, Nick Walker is hitting his back hard and uploaded some training clips to his YouTube this past weekend — about two weeks out from the 2023 Arnold Classic, taking place March 2-5, 2023. 

Nick Walker’s first year competing was in 2021, when he scored a win at the New York Pro and Arnold Classic tournaments. And he lined up on stage amongst the most elite IFBB Pros in the world at 2021 Olympia, where he earned a top-five placement in the Men’s Open division. Then, he took a year off from competing to set his eyes on the Sandow trophy. 

After a break for most of 2022 to improve his weak areas, he returned for the Super Bowl of bodybuilding — Olympia — and collected a bronze medal. Of course, a third-place finish is outstanding, but it’s not the end goal for Walker. So he’s back in the gym preparing for the coming year, hoping to walk away, Mr. Olympia. 

Now, he’s looking ahead to try and become a two-time winner of the second-largest bodybuilding show of the year, the Arnold Classic. During training, he’s been open about his steroid usage and long-term health goals. And he’s shared his physique updates with his engaged audience — and despite criticism about his midsection, he believes he’s in his best condition yet. And to show you how some of his training is looking behind the scenes, he recently uploaded footage of a brutal back workout he endured to his social media.

Full Name: Nick Walker 
Weight Height Date Of Birth
270-295lbs 5’7″ 08/03/1994
Division Era Nationality
Men’s Open  2020 American

Nick Walker’s Back Workout 

Cable Straight Arm Pulldowns 

To onset his back workout, “the Mutant” isolated his lats and performed cable straight arm lat pulldowns — he usually uses a straight bar attachment, but he opted for a rope attachment. Walker stated:

For me, when I use the rope I feel like I get more triceps for some reason versus a Straight bar, I feel like I can concentrate more on the lats. My triceps don’t get engaged. Everyone’s different. For me, I used to always use the rope. When I use the bar I don’t really feel my triceps getting engaged.”

Cable straight-arm pulldowns are an excellent exercise for engaging your lats specifically. The cable machine will keep the tension strong on your lats through each degree of movement. And having your arms straight to pull the weight towards your hips will activate your lats. 

Machine T-Bar Rows

Next, Nick Walker moved to a horizontal row — adding thickness to your back. He did machine T bar row for 4 sets of 12 reps. Walker acknowledged that the row isn’t a free weight movement; instead, it gives you more stability to target your back. 

This movement targets your lats, trapezius, posterior deltoid, and rhomboids. And since it’s done on a machine, it removes any possible swaying or momentum to row the load, keeping you injury-free and engaging more of your posterior upper body muscles. 

Next, Walker went on to do the machine chest-supported incline rows. 

Machine Chest Supported Incline Rows 

This exercise is one of the New Jersey native’s favorite back workouts, and he credits it for the massive progress he’s made with developing his back. He did this exercise incorporating a rest-pause strategy — performing as many reps as possible, then stopping 1 rep shy of failure to rest for 20 seconds. 

The machine chest-supported incline rows give you the same stability to only engage your back muscles as the previous back exercise in Walker’s routine. But it also targets your back muscles in spots where other movements don’t activate as much since it’s done at an incline. 

Seated Cable Rows 

After that, Nick Walker added another horizontal row to his back workout and did seated cable row. He used a straight bar attachment, allowing a wider grip to engage more of the outside of his back muscles. 

So now, I might do a little more volume in terms of sets but the intensifiers are not there. And when I do multiple sets, I won’t take as many to failure, which in return, in my opinion, will decrease the inflammation in the body. But because I am doing higher repetitions, moving a little bit faster, it will condition the muscle which will create more detail at the same time,” said Walker. 

After a few solid sets, the 2021 Arnold Classic champ continued through his back workout. 

Reverse Peck Deck Flyes

He then targeted his posterior deltoid and upper back muscles on the reverse peck deck flyes. This movement doesn’t allow you to use heavy weight since you keep your arms straight as you move the weight with your arms behind you. But it adds extra volume to your back and improves your posture and shoulder stability

Smith Machine Rack Pulls 

The third-place 2022 Olympia Men’s Open contender finished his back workout with smith machine rack pulls. This exercise is similar to barbell bent-over rows, except it’s performed on a smith machine, and the load rests on a rack between each set. 

The smith machine allows for a fixed trajectory during the pull, which will help you avoid cheating to row the weight up to target your back properly. And having the barbell sit on the rack between reps will give you additional strength and energy to let you use heavier weights for more strength gains. 

After completing all his back exercises, Walker targeted hit core a little. 

Hanging Straight Leg Raises 

To conclude his workout, Nick Walker did some hanging leg raises. This exercise engages your core muscles — including your hip flexors — especially your lower ab muscles. It also improves your grip strength. You must maintain good control of your body to do this exercise properly. 

Back Workout 

Cable Arm Straight Arm Pulldowns
Machine T-bar Rows
Machine Incline Chest Supported Rows
Seated Cable Rows
Reverse Peck Deck Flyes
Smith Machine Rack Pulls 
Hanging Straight Leg Raises 

Nick Walker did machine movements to target his back. Performing rows on machines instead of using free weights will help you avoid injury and keep your body more stable to engage more of your back muscles. 

You can watch Nick Walker’s full back workout courtesy of his YouTube channel below:

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Terry Ramos
As a personal trainer and writer, Terry loves changing lives through coaching and the written word. Terry has a B.S. in Kinesiology and is an ACSM Certified Personal Trainer and ISSA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He enjoys playing music, reading, and watching films when he's not writing or training.