Bruce Lee's Workout and Fitness
Bruce Lee's Workout
It's well known that Bruce Lee took his workouts very serious; there was no playing around when it came to his training and fitness development. He sought out everything he could to push him further in his quest for physical conditioning and his perfection of Jeet Kun Do. Over the years he did things that for the times, was ahead of anyone else in his pursuit of perfection.
Those of us today looking for some inspiration can learn from Bruce and apply some of what he had learned in our own pursuit of fitness or our outlook on life. Hope you enjoy these little bits on Brice Lee below.
Bruce Lee Philosohy
Bruce Lee had his own way of defining martial arts and how to train to really fight. He did not go along with the traditional methods of other martial art styles where you follow set moves and methods, he believed in using whatever worked best from every style and putting them together. Bruce Lee's fitness training also followed that thought and he worked hard at it to be the best he could be.
In a way he was ahead of his time, what he tried to do in the 1960's is kind of what has become popular today, mixing different exercises to strengthen the body in a more realistic way. Only he took it to the next level.
This is the expanded edition of Bruce Lee’s great book on his science and philosophy behind his fighting system.
"If you're talking about combat -- as it is -- well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!" -- Bruce Lee (from the video, Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview)
Bruce Lee Physique
Bruce is well known for his incredible physique. His body fat level was very low. Many Bodybuilders - Lou Ferrigno, Lee Haney, Dorian Yates, Rachel Mclish, Lenda Murray and Flex Wheeler to name a few have all talked of Bruce's influence on them. Keep in mind he only weighed about 140lbs and stood 5' 8" tall, he was not a large person in size but was huge in confidence.
Bruce Lee Training Methods
Bruce Lee was known to try everything and anything to achieve his goal of perfection in his physical fitness. He would experiment with his workouts trying to find the best way to reach his goal. He liked to always keep his muscles guessing as to what was coming next. He was big on improving his cardio vascular condition, he believed running to be the best way to achieve this.
Bruce Lee trained pretty much every day for hours; someone once said that he never turned his engine off. He would lie in front of the TV in the evening with his son Brandon sitting on him while he worked out. He was a big reader and had an extensive collection of books on exercise, fighting techniques and philosophy.
Short clip of Bruce Lee doing two finger push-up with one hand.
Lee’s philosophy compiled from his personal notes
Some Bruce Lee Feats of Strength
It has been said that Bruce could:
Jab his fingers through an unopened Coke can at a time when they were still made of steel.
Bruce's striking speed from 3 feet away was 500th of a second
Bruce once caved in a protective headgear made from heavy steel rods that had previously withstood several blows from a sledgehammer.
He could hold an elevated v-sit position for 30 minutes or longer.
He could use one finger to leave dramatic indentations on pine wood.
Bruce could break wooden boards 6 inches thick.
He performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.
Bruce Lee Quotes
Let me give you a bit of warning: just because you get very good at your training it should not go to your head that you are an expert. Remember, actual sparring is the ultimate, and the training is, only a means toward this. Besides running, one should also do exercises for the stomach - sit-ups, leg raises, etc. Too often one of those big-belly masters will tell you that his internal power has sunk to his stomach; he's not kidding, it is sunk and gone! To put it bluntly, he is nothing but fat and ugly.
Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.
Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless - like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.
From some of his Friends
In Jeet Kune Do, physical conditioning is a must for all martial artists. If you are not physically fit, you have no business doing any hard sparring. To me, the best exercise for this is running. Running is so important that you should keep it up during your lifetime. What time of the day you run is not important as long as you run. In the beginning you should jog easily and then gradually increase the distance and tempo, and finally include sprints to develop your 'wind.'
Jesse Glover - "When he could do pushups on his thumbs and pushups with 250lbs on his back, he moved on to other exercises".
Herb Jackson - "The biggest problem in designing equipment for Bruce was that he'd go through it so damn fast. I had to reinforce his wooden dummy with automobile parts so he could train on it without breaking it. I had started to build him a mobile dummy that could actually attack and retreat to better simulate "Live" combat, sadly Bruce died before the machine was built. It would have been strung up by big high-tension cables that I was going to connect between two posts, one on either side of his backyard. The reason for the machine was simply because no one could stand up to his full force punches and kicks, Bruce's strength and skill had evolved to point where he had to fight machines. Bruce was very interested in strength training; you could say that he was obsessed with it".
Joe Lewis - "Bruce was incredibly strong for his size. He could take a 75lb barbell and from a standing position with the barbell held flush against his chest, he could slowly stick his arms out, lock them and hold the barbell there for 20 seconds, that's pretty damn tough for a guy who at the time only weighed 138lbs. I know 200lb weight lifters who can't do that."
Wally Jay - "I last saw Bruce after he moved from Culver City to Bel Air. He had a big heavy bag hanging out on his patio. It weighed 300lbs. I could hardly move it at all. Bruce said to me "Hey, Wally, watch this" and he jumped back and kicked it and this monster of a heavy bag went up to the ceiling, Thump!!! And came back down. I still can't believe the power that guy had".
Jesse Glover - "Bruce was gravitating more and more toward weight training as he would use the weighted wall pulleys and do series upon series with them. He'd also grab one of the old rusty barbells that littered the floor at the YMCA and would roll it up and down his forearms, which is no small feat when you consider that the barbell weighed 70lbs".
From Linda Lee
Linda Lee - "Bruce was forever pumping a dumbbell which he kept in the house. He had the unique ability to do several things at once. It wasn't at all unusual for me to find him watching a boxing match on TV, while simultaneously performing full side splits, reading a book in one hand and pumping the dumbbell up and down with the other. Bruce was a big believer in forearm training to improve his gripping and punching power. He was a forearm fanatic, if ever anyone came out with a new forearm course, Bruce would have to get it."
Linda Lee - "He was a fanatic about ab training; he was always doing sit ups, crunches, roman chair movements, leg raises and V-ups".
Linda Lee - "Bruce's waist measurement certainly benefited from all of the attention he paid to his ab program. At its largest, his waist was 28 inches. At its smallest, his waist measured less than 26 inches".
The Power of Positive Thinking
Did Bruce learn about the power of positive thinking? One would think he did by reading this letter he wrote to himself. I believe he carried it with him and would read it to himself from time to time to help reinforce the belief that he would reach the fame he was seeking.
The letter reads...
My Definite Chief Aim
I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.
- Bruce Lee on IMDB.com
The greatest icon of martial arts cinema, and a key figure of modern popular...
- Bruce Lee Video Showcase
Bruce Lee's video history as he progressed to stardom
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Bruce Lee was known to consume a lot of healthy foods as he believed a good diet was one of the keys to successful physical fitness. He was not one to eat junk food as there was no nutritional value in it.