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Steroids or Not: How Did Bolo Yeung Become Buff? 

Bolo Yeung is a martial arts superstar. The action movie here is popularly known for his massive physique and fantastic fighting scenes. He is so buff that some argue he must have used anabolic steroids.

Bolo Yeung steroids

Bolo Yeung, born as Yang Sze, often referred to as “The Beast from the East” and “The Chinese Hercules” is a popular Chinese movie-star who often plays bad-guys in Hollywood blockbusters. His co-stars include actors Bruce Lee (his mentor) and “The Muscles from Brussels” Jean-Claude Van Damme.

Although his most significant success dates back to the ’90s the cinema bad-ass still appears is movies now and then, his latest work is the 2017 movie ‘Diamond Cartel.’

Check out the movie scene below if you’re not familiar with Bolo’s movies:

The Chinese Hercules is one of the most popular bad guys famous for his karate movies and jacked physique. His remarkable body resembles that of professional bodybuilders during their bulk.

Bolo Yeung his humungous pictorial muscles, big traps, and mega arms are still gaining him fans today. In our opinion his physique is so unique because his measurements are perfect,  you can’t go wrong with a Hercules chest combined with Hulk biceps.

If you think he resembles Arnold in the ’70s a bit, we cannot disagree, although Yang Sze had a higher fat percentage. Back in his bodybuilding days, Bolo Yeung didn’t have an aesthetic physique with defined abdominals; he was somewhat more mass-focused.

His passion for bodybuilding dates back to the early ’70s when he’d won ‘Mr Hong Kong’. Thanks to his bodybuilding accomplishments Bolo appeared on Bruce Lee’s radar, resulting in the beast playing a role in ‘Enter the Dragon’.

Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung
Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung (1973)

Steroid Accusations

A question that both Bolo Yeung his old and new fans often have is if he has used anabolic steroids to build his massive physique.

In this article, we’re going to find out by analysing the evidence.

The fastest method to analyse if somebody has taken steroids is checking their physical composition.

Typical symbols of steroid use are bizarre traps, next level vascularity, mega shoulders, hard abs throughout the year etc. These features can be the result of fantastic genetics. However, typically such characteristics are indicators of steroid use.

In our opinion Bolo Yeung does not have any of these typical characteristics, his skin is not flushed, his muscles are huge, but not out of this world. In other words, he looks natural.

However, this is not enough information to claim that he’s natural. A great way to spot steroid use is by looking at someone their gains trough-out the years.

Physical Transformation

Usually, the best and most accurate way (except for blood tests etc.) to determine steroid use is to look at someone their physical changes throughout the years. Something very typical for steroid users is that their most significant muscle gains happen a few years after they start lifting when they start taking steroids. A natural bodybuilder experiences the most significant change when he first begins lifting, due to the new impulses to the muscle tissue. Without steroids, muscle gain will get harder and harder with time.

Unfortunately, photo’s of Bolo Yeung his bodybuilding progression throughout the years are hard to find. However, we can compare pictures of him from movie sets with more recent photos.

But first, let’s have a look at an example of a steroid users transformation vs a natural bodybuilder:

Typically bodybuilders that take anabolic steroids will have a physique that varies a lot throughout the years. Look at Arnold Schwarzenegger for example; he supposedly took steroids like Dianabol for his ’74 Mr Olympia title. One year later, in 1975, he looked less muscular.

Arnold Schwarzenegger transformation
Arnold Schwarzenegger his various physiques

Arnold still was in great shape compared to other athletes, but with each movie, he lost some muscle mass.

This muscle loss is unpreventable when you stop using steroids because your testosterone levels will decrease which leads to your body shifting into its catabolic state (losing muscle).

Jean-Claude Van Damme is a prime example of a natural bodybuilder, because his muscle mass remained similar throughout the years, even at his current age.

JCVD transformation
JCVD then vs now

The question that arises is: Did Bolo lose muscle like Arnold or keep it like Jean-Claude?

Bolo Yeung Still Got It

Here is a photo from Bolo starring in the film ‘The Ultimate Fighter’ in 2007.

Bolo Yeung 2007
Bolo Yeung in 2007

Even though this picture is taken 34 years after ‘Enter the Dragon’ Bolo his physique looks similar to his prime-days.

Judging by this photo the actors has preserved a significant amount of his muscle mass throughout the years, and this tells us that it’s doubtful that he’s taken steroids. As a natural bodybuilder, all he had to do to maintain his physique is keep working out, which appears to be what he has done.

The photo below is taken by a fan in a Los Angeles gym in 2018 and shows Bolo working out. From what we can see his muscles are still big as ever, look at those arms!

bolo yeung 2018
Bolo Yeung (2018)


We think the action-star is natural. Bolo Yeung has shown no common steroid side effects, and there are no other tells. The actor has maintained his muscular physique throughout his entire career and at his current age with not too many physical changes, except the apparent ageing. If he’d taken steroids back in the day he would’ve without a doubt lost a lot of muscle mass.

Someone might argue that he never stopped steroids. But think to yourself, does this make sense? The actor in his sixties doesn’t depend on gigs anymore, and if he’d taken steroids all those years, he’d probably have shown side effects by now.

We must give Bolo Yeung respect for maintaining his amazing physique through his entire career. Imagine if the Beast from the East had taken steroids, he would’ve been an absolute monster.

About James Smith

James Smith is a personal trainer for professional bodybuilders. He uses his experience, knowledge, and understanding of all the intricacies regarding bodybuilding and anabolic steroids, to deliver detailed reviews for every new legal steroid on the market. As an author, he may receive some small compensation for some of them. However, we guarantee the neutrality regarding the evaluating of each of the products and the factuality of the information.