Nick Walker’s Push Day: Training to Failure Against Reserved Reps


Nick Walker’s rise in the IFBB Pro League has been meteoric. After winning the 2021 Arnold Classic and 2021 New York Pro within a year of turning pro, “The Mutant” has taken the sport by storm with a fifth-place finish in his 2021 Olympia debut. up to the bronze position in his second Olympia in 2022.

On June 11, 2023, Walker posted a video to his YouTube channel sharing his off-season push-day workout. While training him, Walker preached the importance of avoiding muscle failure in every workout by leaving a few reps to spare. Check it out below:

[Related: Master the Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift for Stronger, More Flexible Hamstrings]

Nick Walker Push Day Workout

Walker performs seven exercises in her push-day workout that target her chest, shoulders and triceps:


[Related: The Innovations of Derek Lunsfords Back Progression During His Off-Season]

Failure against repeats in reserve

Walker has the size to contend for the Mr. Olympia title, as evidenced by his podium finish in 2022. He doesn’t need to train to failure in every set at the gym. He would rather do one more set than maximizing each to failure and leaving reps to spare (i.e., not training to mechanical failure) can be helpful in progressing.

Training until failure is fine once in a while… but you have to know what it feels like to fail to know how a reserve rep feels.

Walker suggests that training with reps to spare can also be beneficial for growth. Training to failure too often could overstrain the body, hindering recovery. However, training with reps to spare shouldn’t be an excuse to reduce the intensity of your workout. Avoiding muscle failure in every workout can help limit inflammation and increase the frequency of your workouts, potentially improving muscle growth and longevity.

For all I know, it might [be] because my upper body is bigger than my lower body,” Walker said about the balance of his physique. “I’ve learned to train my upper body, and it feels like I’m pushing my legs maybe a little too strong, 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 the time under tension. He increases to 50-pound dumbbells for his second set for six reps, the lowest reps he’ll go for “general stimulation.” He dropped back to 40lbs for 12 reps in this final set.

[Related: Flex Lewis Breaks Down How He Trained During His Olympia Reign]

Lateral raises

Walker raises his hands above his head with each rep to work his delts through their full range of motion. He did two sets of 15 reps.


Walker moved to the cable machine to continue his deltoid training. The installation involves placing an incline bench in the center of a cable machine. Walker holds a cable in each hand and places his chest against the bench. This configuration removes the potential for momentum by stabilizing the torso, thus ensuring that the load remains on the deltoids. Walker performed 12 reps for three sets.

Smith Machine Skull Crusher & Overhead triceps extensions

The Smith machine skull crusher is the first triceps exercise in Walker’s daily routine. He hit 15 reps in the first two sets with 10-pound plates on either side. Walker finished with eight repetitions in the final set.

The less I train my arms, the bigger they get.

The bodybuilder concludes his push-day workout after completing 15 reps on the over machine triceps extension. He suggested that by not overtraining and allowing for extra recovery time, his body rewards him with more noticeable gains in his arms.

Towards Olympia 2023

Walker competed at the 2023 Arnold Classic to a runner-up finish to Samson Dauda and has no plans to take the stage again until the 2023 Olympia, held Nov. 2-5 in Orlando, FL.

Featured Image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram

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