Austrian-born movie legend Arnold Schwarzenegger has been named as senior editor of a bodybuilding magazine he ran before becoming governor of California, its publisher said Monday.

The 65-year-old, who made his name as Mr. Universe before becoming a Hollywood star and then politician, is returning as Group Executive Editor for Muscle & Fitness and Flex magazines.

American Media Inc (AMI) said Schwarzenegger "will bring his nearly 50 years of experience as a competitor and fitness authority ... by way of both strategic and creative input, as well as contributing monthly columns to the magazines."

"He is a universally recognized star, and an iconic leader of the fitness movement," said AMI chairman David J. Pecker, in a statement announcing the appointment.

"His contributions will enormously benefit our print and digital readers, while driving value for our advertisers."

Schwarzenegger said he was glad to be returning to the publications. "It was in these magazines that I found the spark that inspired me to start lifting weights, and eventually move to America and realize my dreams," he said.

"I'm proud to return as Executive Editor," added Schwarzenegger, who was hired by the magazines' publisher in 1968, aged 21, and has since appeared on their front covers more than 60 times.

"Bodybuilding has always been part of my life, and I know Muscle & Fitness and Flex will continue to motivate others -- as it did me -- to lift weights and lead a healthy lifestyle (and) promote the sport of bodybuilding."

Schwarzenegger was governor of California from 2003 until 2011. Since then he has returned to the big screen in movies including "The Expendables 2" and "The Last Stand."