Chul Soon Hwang is a Korean bodybuilder whose fame has gone beyond his native country, South Korea. The 40-year-old bodybuilder is best known in the western world as the ‘Asian Arnold’. Hwang got the reputation because of an impeccable physique that is reminiscent of golden era bodybuilders’ physiques. In this article, we’ll explore Chul Soon Hwang’s biography, competition history, training routine and diet as well as statistics.
Chul Soon Statistics
|Full Name: Chul Soon Hwang (Bodybuilder)
|220 lbs (99.7 kg)
|5’10” (177.6 cm)
|Date of Birth
|September 1, 1983
Chul Soon Hwang Biography
Chul Soon Hwang was not always the ‘Asian Arnold’ that we know him as. The Korean bodybuilder was often bullied when he was a kid for being skinny, underdeveloped and physically weak. He had a pretty small frame and did not come into his own element until he discovered weight training. Chul said in an interview:
“When I turned 20 I had a very thin body and weighed only 57kg (125lb). I was treated with disrespect. People looked down at me in situations like if I was returning goods to a store, or helping someone or speaking to strangers.”
Chul Soon Hwang started his fitness journey to gain some respect among his peers. When he started training as a teenager, Chul Soon Hwang was 19 years old, weighing not more than 125 lbs! However, he took training with utmost sincerity and it soon became his passion. Hwang would train for hours every single day and none of his sessions were easy or light on action.
He pushed the envelope but started seeing great results only after adapting a healthy diet. Hwang realized that he could not get the physique he desired without following a strict diet. Once he started focusing on eating clean foods in the right way, he began to witness exponential growth in his physique.
A structured approach to training, diet and recovery soon turned him into a bodybuilder that had the capability to compete against elite professionals. He was huge, shredded and had a defined muscle mass. His physique resembled the bodybuilders from the Golden Era of Bodybuilding. ‘Asian Arnold’ was now ready to take on biggest challenges.
Career and Accomplishments
Chul Soon Hwang started competing in 2009 and his competitive bodybuilding career lasted until 2016. He took the first step into competing by placing second at the 2009 Musclemania World at the Fitness America Weekend in the lightweight division. The Korean bodybuilder made rapid progress and turned pro in the next calendar year.
At the 2010 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend, Chul Soon Hwang won the world championship in the lightweight division and earned the Pro card. ‘Asian Arnold’ competed at bodybuilding competitions over the next six years, winning several of those. He called it a career while being at the absolute top and won the 2016 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe in his final competitive appearance.
Chul Soon Hwang mastered b-boying while growing up and incorporated breakdancing movements in his posing routines during competitive appearances. This separated him from the pack and helped him build a fan base as well.
According to an article published in HubPages.com, Chul Soon Hwang preferred to compete in American bodybuilding competitions. He believed them to be more entertainment-oriented than the competitions that took place in his native South Korea.
For someone like Hwang that likes to add more layers to his bodybuilding performances with dance moves, creative posing and energy, entertainment-oriented shows were a perfect opportunity to leave a mark.
Apart from bodybuilding, Chul Soon Hwang has appeared in several advertisements, television shows and magazine photo shoots.
- 2009 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend – Lightweight – 2nd place
- 2009 Fitness Korea – Sports Model – 3rd place
- 2010 Musclemania Universe Korea – Sports Model – 1st place
- 2010 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe – Lightweight – 4th place
- The 2010 Model Universe at Fitness Universe – 3rd place
- 2010 Musclemania WOrld at Fitness America Weekend – Lightweight – World Champion (Earned Pro Card)
- 2011 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend – Professional Heavyweight – 4th place
- 2012 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend – Professional Heavyweight – 1st place (Overall champion)
- 2013 Musclemania WOrldAt Fitness America Weekend – Professional Medium – 2nd place
- 2014 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe – Professional Medium – 1st place
- 2015 Musclemania World at Fitness America Weekend – Professional Medium – 2nd place
- 2015 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe – Professional Medium – 1st place (Overall champion)
- 2016 Musclemania Universe at Fitness Universe – Professional Medium – 1st place (Overall champion)
Chul Soon Hwang Workout
Chul Soon Hwang’s physique is best described as similar to the old school Golden Era bodybuilders’ physiques. He trains intensely to build and maintain it in the peak form. The Korean bodybuilder had to gain some serious muscle mass when he started out. It was not cakewalk for someone that weighed a mere 125 lbs at 20 years of age!
Chul Soon Hwang spent countless hours in the gym to add high quality muscle to his frame and he achieved it by primarily focusing on compound movements. Hwang would focus on correcting the techniques to get the most out of each movement.
Compound exercises like bench press, deadlifts, pull-ups and squats are considered as the bread and butter of bodybuilding. Not surprisingly, these are also the movements that gave an excellent ‘Golden Era style’ physique to ‘Asian Arnold’. He believes that these four exercises are enough to give anybody an impeccable physique.
As long as you stick to the correct technique, focus on building mind-muscle connection and work with progressive overload, you will get the results that you are after.
But that does not mean Chul Soon Hwang is averse to isolation movements. He incorporates isolation movements in the training routine to really focus on specific muscles or to emphasize a certain part of the muscles. Overall, his training is aimed at gaining muscle and functional strength while adding details and definition.
Since the early days of training, Chul Soon Hwang was obsessed with adding details to his abs. While speaking to barcroft.tv in an interview, Hwang stated:
“I used to do sit-ups 3000 times a day! Now since studying more about bodybuilding I spend less time doing situps and more time eating properly. It gives you much better results.”
But that does not mean he has given up on abs training. Chul Soon Hwang does not have a dedicated abs day in his training routine. However, he makes it a point to train abs for half an hour to one hour every couple of days.
No matter how amazing Chest, back or lower body a person has, if it isn’t capped by a pair of boulder shoulders nicely on the top, there is no way it comes across as aesthetically good. If you have seen Chul Soon Hwang’s physique, you know what we’re talking about here. The ‘Asian Arnold’ approaches shoulder training with utmost sincerity, making sure that there is no room for criticism.
Chul Soon Hwang’s Shoulder training session pays equal attention to the anterior, lateral and posterior deltoids for complete development. He employs overhead press variations to build the anterior delts while Incorporating specific isolation exercises for the lateral and posterior deltoid muscles.
A typical shoulder workout in Chul Soon Hwang’s routine looks like this:
Chul Soon Hwan’s back training routine has a simple goal and that’s building a thick and wide back that perfectly compliments the rest of his body.
The 40-year-old incorporates vertical pulls like lat pulldown variations that focus on the latissimus dorsi muscles and help build a wide back. To give thickness and a solid 3D look, he performs several horizontal pulling movements / rows like T-bar rows, straight back Rows etc.
Attacking the muscles from different angles and positions is crucial for complete and overall development. Chul Soon Hwang achieves this by Incorporating exercises like Hammer Strength high rows.
Chul Soon Hwang’s back training session includes following exercises:
Upper and Lower Back Workout
Once an athlete achieves an elite level of fitness, growth significantly slows down and it is essential to figure out creative ways to compel the body to grow. Chul Soon Hwang sometimes performs exercise splits that emphasize a specific part of muscles over others.
One example of such training split is the lower back and upper back workout that the Korean bodybuilder shared on his YouTube channel.
The large fan shaped muscles in the back called latissimus dorsi or lats are responsible for imparting the wide back look that narrows down towards waist, creating a much desired v-taper. While most lat focused exercises target the upper part of this muscle, most people do not put in targeted efforts to develop the lower part.
Chul Soon Hyung’s lower back training session targets this lower part. He employs exercises like close grip lat pulldown and pull ups to work these muscles.
Similarly, an upper back specific workout helps him focus more on this part of the back and build a thick back.
The purpose of Chul Soon Hwang’s Chest training routine is simple – building the pushing and adduction strength of the upper body and gaining muscle. To do this, he incorporates a few very basic but astonishingly impressive compound and isolation movements.
Flat bench press and the incline bench press are the pressing movements in Hwang’s training routine which build the pushing strength. Meanwhile, cable crossover and Incline cable chest flyes stimulate muscle growth by stretching the muscle fibers and help build adduction strength.
Chul Soon Hwang’s chest training routine looks like this:
Chul Soon Hwang’s arm training process is simple – use moderate weights and get high volume in as that is the kind of training arms best respond to. Hwang does not use any fancy or unusual exercises that are great for social media. Rather, he relies on some very basic but highly effective stuff.
He performs three to four exercises each for biceps and triceps on arm day, making sure that the muscles are worked from different angles and positions for complete development.
Typically, Chul Soon Hwang’s arm day consists of following exercises:
Chul Soon Hwang’s perfectly developed and well-proportioned physique is testimony to the fact that he does not give in to the desire to train his favorite body parts. He gives equal attention to building the upper body and makes sure to target every major muscle like quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves for complete development of the lower body.
Chul Soon Hwang Diet
You need dietary discipline and self control to look like Chul Soon Hwang. You can run hills, lift weights, swim till your arms fall off but not get a great physique if you’re not eating right. The 40-year-old bodybuilder follows a stringent diet all year round and does not compromise with nutrition under any circumstances.
Chul Soon Hwang’s diet has moderate carbohydrates and fats while being rich in protein. He tracks the macros with precision and believes in timing the macronutrients as well. For instance, Hwang consumes a majority of his carbohydrates earlier in the day while the final meal of his day is usually rich in proteins and fats.
The Korean bodybuilder consumes six to seven small meals throughout the day. This helps him regulate the blood sugar levels and maintain energy levels throughout the day. Chul Soon Hwang gets most of his protein from high quality sources like egg whites, chicken breast, whey protein, tilapia and shrimp. Egg yolk and avocados serve as the primary source of good fats while white rice and noodles give the necessary amounts of carbohydrates.
Chul Soon Hwang has a healthy relationship with food and does not mind satiating his taste buds every now and then with cheat meals of his choice. While his diet varies from time to time depending upon the goal, schedule and specific requirements of the time, this is what a typical day of eating looked like when Chul Soon Hwang would be in bulking phase of his off-season during his competitive bodybuilding career:
- Whole Eggs – 6 no.s
- Egg Whites – 2 cups
- White Rice – 2 cups
- Whey Protein – 2 scoops
- Brown Rice – 2 cups
- Tilapia – 2 ounces
- Chicken Breast – 8 ounces
- Noodles – 2 cups
- Green Beans
- Whey Protein – 2 scoops
- Banana – 1 whole
- Shrimp – 12 ounces
- Steak – 10 ounces
Chul Soon Hwang is a bodybuilding sensation in his home country and gets a lot of attention from women, which should not be a surprise given the impeccable physique and chiseled features. When asked about his relationship status in a 2014 interview, Chul Soon Hwang said:
“I have many girlfriends, I have many lovers, too! I can’t be anyone’s property, I belong to everyone.”
But fast forward to 2023, Chul Soon Hwang has changed as a person and takes pride in having a complete family. Hwang and his partner have two children together and raise them with love and care.
Apart from bodybuilding, Chul Soon Hwang likes to engage in activities like water skiing, swimming and going out to clubs.
Chul Soon Hwang’s life is a true testimony to the fact that you don’t always get ideal conditions to start. However, you can influence the destination greatly with relentless hard work, dedication and commitment. The Korean bodybuilder went from being a 125 lbs skinny teenager to a world renowned bodybuilder with consistent training and discipline. His example should inspire most of us to pursue our goals, not just in fitness but in every aspect of life.