Nick Walker knows bodybuilding. It’s his career. Walker, who turns 29 on August 4, won the 2021 Arnold Classic and finished third in the 2022 Mr. Olympia. As “The Mutant” begins his prep for the 2023 Mr. Olympia, he shared with his Instagram followers the three exercises every bodybuilder should do. Interesting, all of them were included on four-time Classic Physique Mr. Olympia Chris Bumstead’s recent list of his 10 best exercises. Unlike Bumstead, Walker wasn’t necessarily limiting himself to just these exercises. He simply emphasized that the following three should be in every bodybuilder’s workout routine.



The Smith machine squat is having a renaissance. Previously dismissed as the softcore cousin of the hardcore free-weight squat, it’s seen a surge in popularity in recent years, mostly because it’s the favorite leg builder of the very popular Chris Bumstead. It really never should’ve been dismissed. It’s a squat, like a hack squat, belt squat, or good ol’ barbell squat; and can be done heavy or light, to failure or not. Its advantage is that the bar’s path is locked. This provides greater safety (you can always find a catch to bail to), and, as Nick Walker states, it can allow you to focus more on the targeted muscles and less on the movement. “I feel like you’re about to contract with these the best, versus the free-weight squat,” Walker says.

nick walker bodybuilding
Smith machine box squats / Instagram

See also: Smith Machine Workouts: Ultimate Guide



No barbell press and no flat press. Just like Chris Bumstead, when it came to one chest exercise, Walker immediately thought of the dumbbell incline press. The incline better targets the upper pecs; and dumbbells provide for a greater range of motion, and allow you to find the best groove for each arm. “I feel like everybody has a problem developing their upper chest,” Walker states, “and, to me, incline dumbbell press is the best way of going about it.”

See also: Science Says: Best (and Worst) Chest Exercises



“I feel most people do not have a good back because they do not incorporate pullups [in their back routines], and I’m a big advocate of pull-ups,” Nick Walker explains. “I think they’re the most underrated exercise. I always start [my back routine] with pull-ups, and sometimes I even end with some pull-ups. So make sure you guys incorporate some pull-ups.” Walker is right that pull-ups are underrated. Too many bodybuilders just go to the pulldown station when pull-ups are more effective. The pull-up (overhand) and chin-up (underhand) ranked #1 via scientific studies in The Barbell‘s list of the best back exercises. If you can do more than 15 reps, add weight. If you can’t get 8 reps, use the helping hands of a spotter or an assisted pull-up machine to remove some of your bodyweight.

See also: Bodyweight Training Guide

Nick Walker bodybuilding
What do you mean you don’t like my three best bodybuilding exercises? / Instagram

Related content: Why Nick Walker Loves Cable Curls