Written by Ron Harris
16 December 2021





Armed and Dangerous!

Nick Walker Aims His 22-inch Guns at the Olympia Title


By Ron Harris


Armed to Battle With the Best


It was an astonishing rookie season for 27-year-old Nick “The Mutant” Walker. In less than 12 months, he entered four pro shows. The first was the Chicago Pro, taking place only six weeks after Nick earned his professional status at the 2021 IFBB North American Championships. At that Chicago Pro, held in Atlanta, he placed a respectable fourth place behind winner Akim Williams, Justin Rodriguez and Maxx Charles – and it’s possible none of those three will ever beat Nick again. His second pro show was the New York Pro, which would be his first win in the IFBB Pro League. A few months later in Columbus, Ohio, the young gun joined past greats like Ronnie Coleman, Jay Cutler, Dexter Jackson and Flex Wheeler by becoming an Arnold Classic champion. He capped off this sensational season with a top-five finish at the Mr. Olympia, an achievement most pro bodybuilders dream of but never come close to. At 5-foot-6 and 250 pounds, Walker is packed head to toe with dense, thick muscle mass. When the first pose in judging is called, the front double biceps, jaws drop and crowds scream at the sight of his gargantuan arms. They add a freak factor to every single one of his poses, in fact, and some are already saying his arms are among the best in the sport right now. Of course, I had to talk to this rising superstar to find out whatever I could about how he built them and share it with you, the loyal MD readers!




Mutant Arms: Origins


Nick didn’t pop out of his mama with huge arms, but they were never what you would call small. “They were always lean and defined, with a bit of natural size,” he says. Unfortunately, he never measured them at the start of his lifting journey, but eventually at his heaviest off-season weight of 285 pounds, they taped out at a whopping 24 inches. Typically, if a bodybuilder has freakish development in the arms or legs, you can look to one or both of his parents for a genetic blueprint. Nick’s father was a bodybuilder in his own younger years, though he never competed, and Nick has never seen a photo from those days. “But I do remember when I was a little kid, his arms were still pretty big,” he adds. Oddly, though he inherited the potential for raw size from dear old dad, he did miss out on one genetic trait that may have made his front double biceps pose even more dramatic: the double “split peak” biceps that both Ronnie Coleman and ‘80s star Boyer Coe were known for. “He has it and so does my older brother Louie, but not me,” shrugs Nick. Luckily he’s doing OK without it!


Early Training Blunders


Nick can tell you exactly when he decided he wanted enormous arms. “I saw a video of Jay Cutler doing curls, and I said right then and there I wanted arms that big someday.” Full of youthful enthusiasm, teenage Nick went more than a little overboard in his quest. “I trained arms twice a week, and the workouts would be three hours long,” he reveals. “I would do so many exercises, all for higher reps of 15-20, and I averaged about eight sets each for every exercise.”


As time went by, Nick began to learn how his body responded to different training variables, and he discovered that with his arms, less was more. The following will sound sacrilegious to many of you, but it came straight from Walker himself. “The one thing that was probably holding my arm growth back the most was having a dedicated arm day,” he explains. “The arms are always working indirectly whenever you train chest, back and shoulders, so adding a whole day where you just annihilate them is probably counterproductive for most people. It was for me for sure.”


After years of hammering arms that way, Nick began working them with much less volume after a larger body part like chest, back or shoulders. Lo and behold, they grew into the outrageous guns you see today. “You have to remember that if a muscle can’t recover properly, it won’t grow, and I know for me having that arm day on top of everything else was holding them back.” In fact, if you check out Nick’s current training split, you will see that he probably does a good deal less for his 23-inch arms than the rest of us whose arms have half the mass of his. Let that sink in, and perhaps you may reconsider what you’re doing for your own arms and give his briefer style a try. Now, let’s look at a few of Walker’s favorite ways to blast bi’s and tri’s. 





Dual Cable Curls From Low Pulley


Usually when someone is seen using two cable pulleys for a biceps curl, it’s the variation called the “front double biceps cable curl” standing between two high pulleys. What Nick demonstrates here, curling from two low pulleys with his back to the weight stack, is actually a similar movement to incline dumbbell curls, since each rep begins with the biceps in the fully stretched position under load. Walker also prefers a specific attachment called the KAZ handle by Prime Fitness. “It has a tapered handle diameter, thicker at one end, to match the natural mechanics of the human hand,” he explains. Not only does he find it hits his biceps better, but it takes the forearms out of the equation for the most part, and eliminates the elbow pain he occasionally experiences.





Preacher Curl Machine


Nick has adapted many exercises to suit his needs, and this is a prime example. Rather than sit up, he has his legs out in back of him. This prevents him from hunching over, which can often cause the shoulders to take over once the biceps start to become fatigued. “Since I typically only do two or at most three sets of any given biceps exercise these days, every rep of every set needs to count and really hit the target.”





Hammer Dumbbell Curls


Nick feels hammer curls are a must, but it’s not necessary to do them every week. “For most people, I think every other biceps workout is fine,” he says. He prefers to alternate arms rather than do both at once, and does his best to put his mind into the target muscles here, namely the forearm extensors and the brachialis.


Dual Cable Pushdowns


If you’re wondering why Nick chooses to use two separate straps for the same movement most of you do with a rope attachment, it’s because he’s found it’s an improvement. “When I start going heavy with a rope, a lot of times my hands start slipping, especially around that ball at the end,” he tells us. Securing each hand in a loop strap as shown instead locks his hands into place so that’s never a concern. You may also notice that due to the length of the straps, he’s able to achieve a longer range of motion. “Obviously the rope is only so long, and you can’t spread them apart and get them too far back. With the two straps, I can extend all the way down toward my hips for a much more complete contraction.”





Standard Cable Pushdowns


The leader of Walker Nation also does the more standard pushdown variation with a bar attachment, normally a short straight bar. “Out of all the different types, the V-bar, the cambered bar and so on, that’s what gives me the best contraction for my triceps.”


Dip Machine


Machine dips are a frequent finishing movement in Nick’s triceps workouts. Most machine stacks aren’t terribly challenging, but that’s irrelevant in his case. “I don’t really feel the triceps working when I go very heavy, and they don’t get pumped,” he reveals. Instead, he keeps his reps higher, around 15-20, and doesn’t rest long between sets. “One thing I like to do on machine dips every few workouts is to do five sets with only 30 seconds rest between.” If that sounds familiar, it’s similar to Hany Rambod’s FST-7 “Sevens,” but with a couple less sets. “The pump just builds set after set, and I found that by the fifth set I got the maximum amount of blood into my triceps.”


What Next for Walker?


Nick is currently enjoying his first real off-season in a very long time and is excited about the improvements he will be making over the coming months as we head into 2022. “I started prepping for the North American Championships in April of 2020, and never had a significant break until the 2021 Mr. Olympia was finished, right around a year and a half later,” he reminds us. Though he is proud of what he’s accomplished so far, Nick is hungry to be the best in the world, and that means winning the Mr. Olympia. His arms don’t need to be any bigger at this point, but he knows they will get better. “With more training time, they will get more muscle maturity and detail for sure,” he says. In the meantime, again I implore those of you struggling to build your own arms to think about applying Nick’s “less is more strategy” to see if it can help you break past your plateau and see new gains. If someone with arms and genetic gifts like Nick Walker found that “annihilating” the biceps and triceps didn’t yield the best results, there is a strong chance it might not be the best strategy for the rest of us mere mortals either.






Instagram @nick_walker39

YouTube: Walker Nation


New Off-Season Training Split


Monday:                       Legs

Tuesday:                      Chest and biceps (maybe triceps too)

Wednesday:                Back (might do triceps here instead)

Thursday:                    OFF

Friday:                         Legs

Saturday:                     Chest and shoulders

Sunday:                       OFF


Arm Workouts: Mid-October 2021



Cable Curls                    2 x 12-15

Barbell Curl “21’s”          3 x 21

Preacher Curls               5 x 10-12 (rest only 30 seconds between sets)



Cable Pushdowns        2 x 12-15

Skull-Crushers             2 x 10-12

Dip Machine                 5 x 10-12 (rest only 30 seconds between sets)


Nick’s Raw Nutrition Contest-Prep Stack

RAW EAA - 20g taken pre-training and post-training 
RAW Burn - 17g taken fasted in the morning
RAW PUMP - 20g taken 30 minutes prior to training 
RAW Intra-WORKOUT - 50g of carbs taken pre-workout on high days 


Nick Walker Prep Stack e



For more information, visit getrawnutrition.com


Contest History

2012 Gold’s Classic                                   Third, Teenage

2013 East Coast Championships               Teen Winner

2013 Eastern USA                                      Teen Winner; Third, Open Light Heavyweight

2014 Teen Nationals                                   Second, Heavyweights

2016 South Jersey                                      Heavyweight and Overall

2016 USA Championships                          Sixth, Light Heavyweight

2017 Muscle Beach                                     Heavyweight and Overall

2017 North American Championships         Sixth, Heavyweight

2017 NPC Nationals                                    Sixth, Heavyweight

2019 USA Championships                           Second, Super Heavyweight

2020 North American Championships         Super Heavyweight and Overall 

2020 Chicago Pro                                        Fourth Place

2021 New York Pro                                      Winner             

2021 Arnold Classic                                     Winner

2021 Mr. Olympia                                         Fifth Place


Ron Harris got his start in the bodybuilding industry during the eight years he worked in Los Angeles as Associate Producer for ESPN’s “American Muscle Magazine” show in the 1990s. Since 1992 he has published nearly 5,000 articles in bodybuilding and fitness magazines, making him the most prolific bodybuilding writer ever. Ron has been training since the age of 14 and competing as a bodybuilder since 1989. He lives with his wife and two children in the Boston area. Facebook Instagram