Korean Beefcakes: From the Korean Hulk to Single's Inferno's Cha Hyun-seung

South Korean singer-actor Rain (left) and dancer Cha Hyun-seung. PHOTOS: RAIN_OPPA,502BRIGHT/INSTAGRAM

Feast on these hunks of prime Korean beefcakes who have been showing off their toned physiques on screen and social media.

K-drama actor Nam Goong-min, Running Man host Kim Jong-kook, reality dating show Single's Inferno's Cha Hyun-seung, boy band BTOB's Minhyuk and OG oppa Rain have been leaving their fans simultaneously thirsty and drooling over their hot bods.

Not only do they bare their washboard abs and bulging biceps in photo shoots, but some also share behind-the-scenes looks at how those muscles were honed, uploading video clips of them doing punishing reps at the gym, grunting a lot and sweating it out.

As the saying goes, if you have it, flaunt it.

Incredible bulk

Nam Goong-min


K-drama actor Nam Goong-min has a formidable nickname - Korean Hulk.

The 43-year-old, who bulked up for his role in The Veil (2021), gained 10kg of pure muscle to go from his usual romantic roles to an elite secret agent with amnesia in the top-rated drama.

In fact, those bulging biceps have been credited with single-handedly raising the ratings for broadcaster MBC, which had been floundering last year.

The blockbuster series helped end MBC's losing streak of dramas which failed to attract high viewership ratings.

He revealed his gruelling workout routine on an episode of variety show I Live Alone in September 2021, calling it "Spartan-like".

Not only did he train for three to four hours daily, but he also stopped eating gluten, gorged on protein and cut back on fat to make his muscles more defined.

His commitment to the role was so complete that he even continued working out during filming, so as to "look combative to anyone".

Gym buff

Kim Jong-kook


The buffed bod of Running Man (2010 to present) host Kim Jong-kook is so perfect that he recently had to take a slew of drug tests to prove he was not taking steroids.

In October 2021, Canadian bodybuilder and YouTuber Greg Doucette alleged that Kim, 45, had achieved his physique through the use of steroids.

"It's not easy to have a body like Kim Jong-kook without using drugs at the age of 45," Doucette said to his 1.33 million YouTube followers in a video, which has since been taken down.

In response, Kim, who has his own fitness YouTube channel with 2.44 million subscribers, decided to undergo rigorous testing in November 2021.

On his aptly named YouTube channel, Gym Jong Kook, on which he dispenses workout tips, Kim documented the entire doping test process and proved conclusively that he had not taken steroids.

The video, uploaded on Dec 16, garnered 4.2 million views and settled the controversy once and for all, with Doucette acknowledging that Kim has a body which was "one in a million".

Netizens praised Kim for donating the 30 million won (S$34,000) he had earlier set aside to take legal action against malicious commenters.

Abs fab



If you look up the urban dictionary definition of a thirst trap - a social media post intended to draw attention, often with sexually provocative photos - you might just find the Instagram account of K-pop star Minhyuk.

The member of top boy band BTOB has been flexing on social media, sharing dozens of shirtless snaps on his grid since the beginning of the year.

The 31-year-old singer, also known as Huta, has always been fit, but he upped his training regimen recently and even made it to the cover of Men's Health magazine in South Korea in December 2021.

In an interview with the magazine, he revealed not just his abs, but also how he obtained them - by working out twice a day and cutting down on carbohydrates.

Even though he had suffered from a nasty bout of Covid-19 in July 2021, which saw his weight plummeting from 62kg to 58kg in a fortnight, he appears to have staged a healthy recovery, much to the delight of his fans.

Singled out

Cha Hyun-seung


On hit South Korean dating show Single's Inferno (2021), one of the singles has been getting plenty of attention from fellow contestants of the opposite sex.

Cha Hyun-seung, 30, is a back-up dancer, bodybuilder, YouTuber and model with an impressive physique and it is no hardship to be stranded on a deserted island with him, like in the Netflix reality show.

Even before his appearance on the programme, he had already proven he had all the right moves, when he danced with K-pop star Sunmi in a stage performance in 2018.

He has also worked with popular groups such as Stray Kids, EXO and Girl's Generation in their music videos and concerts.

Thrown into the mix midway through Single's Inferno, Cha immediately stole the show and became a fan favourite, with even the hosts gushing over him and calling him "charming" and "too good-looking".

Watch out especially for the hot and heavy scene in which he wrestles shirtless against the other male contenders and emerges victorious.

Call him daddy



One of the first South Korean stars to go global in the noughties, singer-actor Rain has made a comeback in recent years.

What has not changed much since his debut as a back-up dancer a quarter of a century ago is his enviably lean physique.

Despite getting married five years ago to actress Kim Tae-hee and having two daughters, he has not succumbed to the dad bod.

In fact, the 39-year-old is religious about training, taking the time to work out even when he was on the road filming his latest travel series, The Hungry And The Hairy (2021).

In the Netflix series, in which he and comedian-host Ro Hong-chul explore South Korea on motorbikes, he appears to take off his top in every other episode.

Even when they were in Jeju in 10 deg C weather, Rain was not deterred from swimming, saying: "I worked out, so why not show off? When else will I get the chance?"

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