Chul Soon Hwang does lat pulldowns on a machine in this exclusive GI workout.
If you’re looking for aesthetics and balance, a bodybuilding sensation from Korea might inspire you. Meet Chul Soon Hwang — a national and international success story with a classic old-school physique. Chul Soon Hwang performed machine lat pulldowns and single-arm dumbbell rows exclusively for Generation Iron in Seoul, Korea.
Hwang started lifting at a young age and says he did it to gain respect. However, he noticed that his training, lasting as long as 2-3 hrs, could have been more efficient with time. This led the star to look for and follow a more structured workout plan and change his diet.
Chul Soon Hwang has come a long way from those days, competing in and winning many bodybuilding shows both in Korea and the US. He’s become a celebrity fitness trainer and is a well-known force featuring in many magazines, commercials, and TV shows. Chul Soon Hwang is also into fitness modeling and has a large following on social media.
Generation Iron connected with Hwang for a back day training routine. He uses compound exercises, primarily targeting multiple muscles to target the large muscles and save time. For this article, we look at some of the bodybuilder’s workouts to build his back.
|Full Name: Chul Soon Hwang|
|Weight||Height||Date of Birth|
|215- 225 lbs||5’10”||09/01/1983|
|Bodybuilder, Fitness Trainer, Fitness Model||2010s||Korean|
Chul Soon Hwang Back Workout Routine
Here’s a close look at two effective back-building exercises from Chul Soon Hwang’s exclusive GI workout.
Machine Lat Pulldown
The machine lat pulldown is the first on Chul Soon Hwang’s back workout list. This routine effectively targets the lats and is an excellent exercise for sculpting a V-shaped body. In addition, it’s a popular compound gym exercise.
He used a wide grip on the machine to effectively works the lats. Your grip changes how your torso and arms move to engage different back muscles. This study shows that grip width affects which muscles are activated during the lat pulldown (1).
Wide grip machine lat pulldowns are done seated on the pulldown machine. Doing it on the machine rather than the cables will give you more stability and perfect your form. This routine is great for working your biceps and all the muscles involved in vertical pullings, like the traps, teres major and minor, and the rhomboids. Doing this exercise can also help improve your posture and relieve back pain.
Typically, you’ll want to avoid leaning too far back when doing a wide grip machine lat pulldown. This will shift the focus of the exercise and turn your workout into rows. But doing them on a machine rather than cables will prevent this. Using momentum to lift reduces your back gains, so do your best to ensure your movements are slow and controlled to get the best results.
Single Arm Dumbbell Row
The single-arm dumbbell row is another good back exercise that you can use to build muscle and strength. It’s particularly effective due to its unilateral nature. This study shows that single-joint movements are more effective for hypertrophy than multi-joint exercises (2).
Single-arm dumbbell rows mainly target the lats, the largest muscles in your back. So this routine is adequate for your V-taper back sculpting plan too. Your entire back, arms, and shoulders are affected with muscles like the traps, rhomboids, delts, pecs, and biceps working too.
To do the single-arm dumbbell row, you need a dumbbell. Then, like Hwang, you’ll want to get into a split stance for stability and slightly hinge your torso forward before rowing. Placing your arm on your thigh or the bench helps you lift more weight which is excellent for muscle hypertrophy.
Start with a comfortable weight and add more when you have mastered the basic movement to prevent injury. However, using too much weight will cause swaying. It would be best to remember to keep your back straight and move your shoulders and not the arm to initiate your rows.
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Importance of Back Strength Training
Did you know that lower back pain is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide (3)? This can have enormous implications for a bodybuilder and athlete. You need your back in top shape to train your body and build muscle.
Building a strong back is essential and helps you condition your upper body. The main muscles of the back include the lats, traps, teres major and minor, levator scapulae, and rhomboids. You can do isolation exercises targeting specific muscles to build your back or go for compound exercises.
As a plus, many back-building exercises also help strengthen your lower back. Some practical options include pulldowns, pull-ups, bent-over rows, deadlifts, and rack pulls. Equipment used for back exercises includes barbells, kettlebells, dumbbells, and cable machines and bars.
Chul Soon Hwang has an impressive back, so who better to learn from than an expert? His other back workouts include close grip rows, standard grips seated rows, rack pulls, and pull-ups.
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- Andersen, V., Fimland, M. S., Wiik, E., Skoglund, A., & Saeterbakken, A. H. (2014). Effects of grip width on muscle strength and activation in the lat pull-down. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 28(4), 1135–1142. https://doi.org/10.1097/JSC.0000000000000232
- Mannarino, P., Matta, T., Lima, J., Simão, R., & Freitas de Salles, B. (2021). Single-Joint Exercise Results in Higher Hypertrophy of Elbow Flexors Than Multijoint Exercise. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 35(10), 2677–2681. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000003234
- Wu, A., March, L., Zheng, X., Huang, J., Wang, X., Zhao, J., Blyth, F. M., Smith, E., Buchbinder, R., & Hoy, D. (2020). Global low back pain prevalence and years lived with disability from 1990 to 2017: estimates from the Global Burden of Disease Study 2017. Annals of translational medicine, 8(6), 299. https://doi.org/10.21037/atm.2020.02.175