Bruce Lee is a legend in the martial arts community. Lee almost single-handedly introduced the power and mystique of martial arts to the Western world.
Bruce Lee’s success didn’t come easy. Lee abided by a strict personal doctrine of philosophy and physical fitness. Every day, we would train his physique as well as his mind.
Bruce Lee’s Philosophy
Bruce Lee’s philosophical influences include Buddhism and Taoism. Lee wrote several books that applied the principles of these philosophical beliefs towards his training regimen.
To Lee, training was more than just getting into shape and going through the motions. One of Lee’s famous quotations that could be applied to his fighting style was “be formless, shapeless… like water.”
This quotation is an example of Lee’s versatility in martial arts and in Bruce Lee fitness routine. Lee knew how to adapt to any situation and make it work for him.
Bruce Lee Workout – Weight Training Routine
Bruce Lee preached the importance of weight training to his students. While most martial artists of Lee’s era focused on fighting skills, Lee gained a distinct advantage due to his dedicated resistance training program.
Bruce Lee workout routine includes resistance workout three times a week:
Chest: Bench Press
2 sets of 6 reps
During the bench press movement, Lee concentrated on strict form and full range of motion. The bench press should be at the center of a thorough upper body strengthening program.
2 sets of 12 reps
This vital compound exercise develops a strong foundation for martial artists. Squats effectively work all the muscles of the legs.
Shoulders: Clean and Press
2 sets of 8 reps
This classical weightlifting exercise is another compound movement that helps increase overall body strength. In this exercise, a barbell is lifted from the floor to the shoulders in one explosive movement.
Afterwards, the weight is pressed straight up over the shoulders, and then brought back down to the floor.
Back: Barbell Pull Overs
2 sets of 8 reps
To perform this exercise, lie flat on a bench. Hold a barbell with your hands about shoulder-width grip apart and then lower it back behind your neck.
Lower Back/Legs: Good Mornings
2 sets of 8 reps
Bruce Lee frequently taught his students the benefits of this exercise. To perform a Good Morning, hold a barbell across your shoulders and then bend forward with the bar. During this movement, keep your legs and back straight.
Caution – This exercise can be harmful for people who suffer from lower back injuries.
Biceps: Barbell Curls
2 sets of 8 reps
This exercise helps develop martial artists grabbing and pulling strength. This can be done with a barbell or set of dumbbells. To perform this movement, start with the weight at your side and slowly curl it up toward your chest.
Bruce Lee’s weightlifting routine concentrates on compound movements that focus on increasing overall total body strength. To be successful, you should apply Lee’s training philosophy “Above all, never cheat on any exercise.”
Bruce Lee Workout – Cardio and Flexibility Routine
Along with bodybuilding, Lee would incorporate flexibility, cardio and abdominal training into his daily routine. This well-rounded approach to physical fitness was part of the ingredients that helped make Bruce Lee a lean, mean fighting machine.
Lee ran up to six miles daily in under 45 minutes. He also trained on a stationary bike. He would ride the equivalent of 10 miles in 45 minutes.
Bruce Lee also understood the importance of flexibility in martial arts. He performed full body stretches every day prior to his training.
Bruce Lee workout routine included sit-ups and other abdominal exercises throughout the day. When watching television, he would perform sit-ups, leg raises and V-ups. Bruce Lee often said that a strong mid-section was crucial for power and absorbing blows during sparring.
Bruce Lee Diet Plan
Much like his physical training, Lee took a disciplined approach to his diet. Lee’s diet regimen consisted of the following precepts:
Lee often ate several smaller meals throughout the day, instead of three large meals. This concept has been widely adopted today by many bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts.
Bruce Lee consumed up to two protein shakes every day. Protein is the building block of muscle and will assist in helping your body repair itself after tough exercise.
Avoid Refined Flour
Lee defined foods containing refined flour as “empty calories.” Baked foods like cakes and biscuits were strictly off limits.
Fruits and Vegetables
Lee also consumed both fruit and vegetables daily. He often made juices and smoothies containing carrots, apples, celery and bananas. These high-quality sources of carbohydrates helped give Lee enough energy to get through his daily grueling workouts.
Success from Training
The following list details several of Lee’s extraordinary physical accomplishments.
- He could side kick a 300 pound bag and cause it to hit the ceiling.
- He ran up to six miles a day.
- He could perform 50 one-armed chin-ups.
- His striking speed was measured at five one hundredths of a second.
- He was able to take a 75 pound barbell with one arm and in a standing position, then hold it straight out in front of his chest for several seconds.
- He could sit in an elevated V position for over 30 minutes
Bruce Lee’s commitment toward self-improvement and his disciplined training routine obviously created amazing abilities. Bruce Lee workout plan had martial arts every day for at least two hours along with his physical fitness routine.
You don’t have to be a world class martial artist to incorporate some of Bruce Lee’s fitness methodologies into your exercise routine. However, with a little discipline and careful adherence to a well planned routine, you may surprise yourself with the results.