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Nick Walker Details How To Build a Thick, V-Tapered Back


Nick Walker’s bronze medal at the 2022 Olympia makes him one of the frontrunners to potentially dethrone reigning Mr. Olympia Hadi Choopan at the 2023 Olympia in November. On July 27, 2023, Walker shared a pull day workout on his YouTube channel, where he disclosed the tricks he uses to build a thick, dense back to move up the judges’ scorecards.

At the time of recording, Walker was 15 weeks out of the 2023 Olympia. He had dropped all the fats from his diet and significantly lowered his carb intake for a smoother transition to his prep phase. Check out Walkers pull day below:

[Related: Bodybuilding Lore Addressed: Can You Actually Target Your Inner Chest?]

Nick Walker’s Pull Workout

Walker did four back and two biceps exercises in his high-volume pull-day workout:

Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown — 3 x 15-20
Chest-Supported T-Bar Row — 3 x 8-10
Pull-Ups— 3 x 10-15
Seated Cable Row— 2 x 15
Seated Machine Biceps Curl 2 x 15-20
Cable Biceps Curl 3 x 10-12

[Related: Bodybuilding Versus Powerlifting Programs: Three Big Differences]

Straight-Arm Lat Pulldown

Walker used an EZ bar with a narrow overhand grip. He followed a slow-rep tempo, spending four seconds on eccentrics, a two-second pause at the bottom, two seconds on concentrics, and a two-second contraction at the top.

Walker maintained his torso at 45 degrees while performing straight-arm lat pulldowns, ensuring the bar extended to the top of the range of motion for a deep lat stretch. That stretch is why Walker favors this pullover variation. 

Chest-Supported T-Bar Row

The chest-supported T–bar row is another of Walker’s favorite back exercises. He keeps his elbows flared to bias his upper back musculature, including the lats, rhomboids, traps, and rear delts. 

Walker used slow eccentrics for increased time under tension (TUT), which can help induce hypertrophy. According to a 2021 study in Sports Medicine, a “longer TUT on the eccentric phase increases metabolic stress and hormonal responses and muscle tension, which are thought to be important factors implicated in the promotion of muscular hypertrophy.” (1)

Walker opined that focusing on contracting the muscles with each rep can boost muscle tissue growth. “Train in this fashion, and you won’t need to do seven or eight exercises per body part,” added Walker. 

Pull-Ups & Seated Cable Row

Walker uses the assisted pull-up machine to ensure he completes 10 to 15 reps per set. He wears lifting straps to eliminate his grip strength and focus on establishing a mind-muscle connection. He employed slow eccentrics, paused for two seconds at the bottom, and exploded to the top

Using a wide-overhand grip on the seated cable row, Walker flared out his elbows to keep the line of pull loaded on his upper back. He maintained an upright torso and avoided leaning back or forth to maximize the tension on his back. 

Walker’s Tricks To Build a Thick, V-Tapered Back

According to Walker, building a thick and wide back requires contracting the target muscles throughout their full range of motion. He advised against lifting too heavy during back training, as heavier loads can limit the range of motion.

Slow eccentric, come back hard, and squeeze, and just keep repeating.

Walker’s back responds better to high-volume workouts, performing 12 to 15 reps per set. However, he doesn’t add volume for volume’s sake. His exercise selection and sequencing are specific, and his programming is intended to get the most out of every rep.

Find the exercises you connect with best already and then use that method. I guarantee you will transform.

[Related: What Are Men’s Open Bodybuilder Brett Wilkin’s 5 Go-To Biceps Exercises?]

[Related: Bodybuilder Erin Stern’s 5 Tricks For Better Calorie and Macro Tracking]

Road To The 2023 Olympia

After his silver-medal finish at the 2023 Arnold Classic, Walker seeks gold in a major bodybuilding contest. The clash between Walker, Choopan, and 2022 Mr. Olympia runner-up Derek Lunsford is one of the most hyped matchups of the 59th edition of Joe Weider’s Olympia, and Walker is likely to step on stage in the sharpest, leanest shape of his pro career.


Wilk M, Zajac A, Tufano JJ. The Influence of Movement Tempo During Resistance Training on Muscular Strength and Hypertrophy Responses: A Review. Sports Med. 2021 Aug;51(8):1629-1650. doi: 10.1007/s40279-021-01465-2. Epub 2021 May 27. PMID: 34043184; PMCID: PMC8310485.

Featured image: @nick_walker39 on Instagram

The post Nick Walker Details How To Build a Thick, V-Tapered Back appeared first on BarBend.

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