Though he doesn’t spend much time in the spotlight outside of bodybuilding competitions, his big win as the 2013 Mr. Korea has put Park Ki Seok (박기석) at center stage in the Korean bodybuilding world.
Park’s weight training philosophy consists of four core principles:
- Choose exercises that are best suited to your particular strengths and weaknesses.
- When working out, use a high degree of concentration.
- Use heavy weights to stimulate muscle growth.
- Listen to your own body and pay attention to what makes it to react.
Seok's Back Workout
Though known for his overall symmetry and muscularity, Park’s massive back is one of his most notable features. Muscle & Fitness Korea recently tagged along with Park Ki Seok to uncover the secrets to his back workout. Park includes a whopping seven exercises in his back routine:
- Standard lat pulldown
- Lat pulldown on a Nautilus machine
- Dumbbell row
- T-bar row
- Barbell row
- Bent-over row
The first exercise in Park Ki Seok’s back workout is the standard lat pulldown. He starts with several warm up sets, gradually increasing the weight in a pyramid (decreasing his number of reps as he increases the weight). Because of pain due to an elbow ligament injury, Park does this exercise with a shoulder-width, underhand grip. When he reaches his maximum weight, his training partner assists him in completing forced reps, a technique favored by most bodybuilders. Between sets, Park takes short breaks and stretches his lats. He makes sure his last set is so heavy that he can only do one rep.
Just a short break, then onto his next exercise: the Nautilus Nitro Plus lat pulldown machine, another lat pulldown exercise, but one that works the back at a slightly different angle and has rotating hand grips. Since he’s already warmed up, Park goes directly to heavy weight. Because of his elbow ligament injury, this is one of the only back exercises he’ll do with an overhand grip to make sure he works on back width—for all the others, he must use a neutral or underhand grip.
His third exercise is the deadlift on a machine called Nautilus Xpload, a machine that allows you to do deadlifts or shrugs. Why does Park use a machine for deadlifts? Even though the deadlift is a great mass-building exercise because it stimulates the muscles of the entire body, it can cause injury with very heavy weights. So, Park uses a machine for deadlifts in order to provide stability and minimize the risk of injury. Plus, the hand grips on the machine rotate from overhand to neutral grip during the movement, which induces more muscle contraction than is possible with barbells.
Next, Park moves on to dumbbell rows, then T-bar rows with an underhand grip. Between his sets on the T-bar row, Park does straight arm cable pulldowns with light weight. Once he finishes the T-bar row, he goes back to the Nautilus Xpload machine for his last exercise, this time using it to do bent-over rows.
His Workout Quirks
- Before starting his back workout, Park drinks supplements and eats cheese (yes, cheese).
- Because he has genetically small fingers, Park Ki Seok has a weak grip. To overcome this disadvantage and to improve his grip, he frequently stretches his fingers.
- Park doesn’t take any supplements or energy drinks during his workout. Though he drinks a supplement before starting his routine, he only drinks water during the workout itself.
Notable Bodybuilding Awards
• 94th National Sports Festival, second place (under 85 kg class)
• 2013 Mr. Korea, first place (under 85 kg class) and overall winner
• 93rd National Sports Festival, second place (under 85 kg class)
• 92nd National Sports Festival, first place (under 85 kg class)
• 91st National Sports Festival, first place (under 85 kg class)
• 90th National Sports Festival, second place (under 85 kg class)
• 89th National Sports Festival, third place (under 80 kg class)
• 86th National Sports Festival, third place (under 75 kg class)
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.