Bruce Lee, famous American and Hong Kong actor, film director, martial artist, instructor, and philosopher.
Already at the age of 13, he was studying wing Chun Kung fu.
He was a student of the renowned wing hun master called Yip Man.
At 18, he went to America and achieved a degree in philosophy.
Then he started teaching Kung Fu in Seattle, opening his own school. He named it the Jun Fan Gunge Fu Institute.
Later he founded two more schools in Los Angeles and Oakland.
He also developed his own martial art, calling it Jeet Kune Do.
If you translate that to English it means the way of the intercepting fist. Bruce was devoted to physical culture.
Unfortunately in 1970, he picked up a barbell weighing 125-pounds, injuring the fourth sacral nerve.
It must have been shattering news for him to hear that he would never do Kung Fu again.
But being Bruce Lee, he created his own recovery program. He started walking again, and gradually built up his strength.
Isn’t that incredible!
He started making movies again, showing his brilliant martial skills in famous movies such as “Enter the Dragon” – a movie he never got to see because he passed away before it hit the theatres; a movie which made him so famous.
Bruce Lee’s Workout & Diet – All You Need to Know About His Strength Training
- Age: Passed away at age 32 in 1973
- Weight: Between 130-140 pounds
- Birthday: 27 November 1940
- Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
- 1979 – June 8 was proclaimed Bruce Lee Day by the Mayor of Los Angeles, Tom Bradley
- He was named in TIME Magazine as the 100 most Important People of the Century.
- There is a street in China where his ancestral home is named after him.
- 1993 – Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
- 2005 – A bronze statue of Bruce Lee was erected in 2005 to honor what would have been his 65th birthday.
- 2007 – Bruce Lee was named as one of History’s 100 Most Influential people.
Workout Principles of Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was someone who was driven by fitness
This was a guy whose training helped to expand the boundaries of his physical abilities.
Being a martial artist, he had many levels of fitness that made his skill set so well-rounded.
Fitness is all about improving the systems of the body; he knew this.
So he used different types of fitness to improve his performance.
He realized that practicing wing chin on the wooden dummy or even practicing the first form for hours wasn’t going to produce the adaptations his body needed to develop an edge over his competitors.
He adapted his training regimen to such a degree that the last 3 years of workout principles were unrecognizable to those of the 5 years before that.
His mission was cross-training, weight training for strength, running, and cycling for cardiovascular efficiency.
He would stretch for flexibility, use heavy bags for timing and applied power.
He believed that you needed to change and improve your training modes and techniques necessary to meet growing demands
One of the main principles of Bruce’s training and above-average ability was strength.
He believed that for any sport or martial art, full range of motion and strength were the basis for success.
Bruce encountered a Chinese martial artist in Oakland California.
After this encounter, Bruce was determined to increase his strength of stamina, endurance, and muscular strength.
The words from Enter the Dragon say, “Sparta, Rome, the knights of Europe, the samurai…all shared the lone ideal: the honor of strength, because it is strength that makes all other values possible. Nothing survives without it. Who knows what delicate wonders have died out of the world for want of the strength to survive?”
With strength as his foundation for physical performance, resistance training became the natural option to increase this area.
Bruce Lee’s Training Methods
Bruce’s training took just 15-30 minutes to complete 3 times a week.
Despite this short training, he still achieved top levels of power, speed, muscle development, and physical fitness.
1) He learned that he needed to improve his strength and conditions
If Bruce were around today, he would no doubt be using the TFW methods for strength training, conditioning, and recovery methods.
Remember that Bruce was always training toward martial arts in addition to his physical training.
Let’s look at his past training methods program:
2) He would warm-up
Bruce knew that warming up properly improved performance and decreased the chances of injury.
He suffered a back injury in his life which plagued him endlessly from not sufficiently warming up.
3) Then he would then do strength training
Bruce always advocated weight training.
He used a variety of exercises to achieve this.
These included weight training, circuit training, body strength training, isometrics, stretching, ab workouts, cardio fitness, and diet.
He used the best training equipment available to achieve that incredible lean and muscular body to perform classic martial art moves.
Back in Bruce’s day, he would do jump rope and roadwork – these were the golden standards in cardiovascular work for fighting the opponent.
Today, people would probably replace those methods with sprints and metabolic circuits to increase endurance.
Bruce Lee loved abdominal work. He would often be found doing hundreds of reps of abdominal work.
His core strength was key to what made him so athletic. Check him out here.
He absolutely prioritized core training. He made a point of contracting all the muscles in his body to improve his mind-muscle connection and power.
6) Recovery and nutrition
There was no doubt that Lee’s physique was legendary, with almost perfect muscle definition.
He also believed emphatically in getting enough sleep and benefit from its restorative powers.
He saw to it that he got at least 8 hours of sleep each night. He would wake up at about 7 am and go for a jog.
Bruce Lee’s Workout Routine
Bruce Lee worked out a lot. It was Chuck Norris who said Bruce Lee was the hardest worker he’d ever seen – Bruce was “fanatical.”
Bruce’s wife also echoed these same sentiments. She would often say that he would work out all day, at times 7 days a week.
What we do know about Bruce’s workout sessions was that he usually spread them out over 3 hours each day.
They would start with a run in the morning and continue late into the evening.
Below we show you an example of Bruce’s weekly workout routine:
- 9:20–9:30 am – Warm-up
- 9:30-9:49 am – Go for a run
- 12:00–12:45 pm – 500 punches and 300 finger jabs
- 3:00–3:55 pm – Leg squat, leg stretching (pulley, stand), hook-kicking
- 7:30–7:50 pm – 200 Punches and 100 finger jabs.
- 9:00-9:30 pm – 4 Sets of sit-ups, 4 sets of side-bends, 4 sets of leg raises
- 9:20-9:25 am— Warm-up
- 9:27-9:41 am – Go for a run
- 11:30-12:35 pm – 500 punches and 400 finger jabs
- 3:00-3:45 PM – Squatting – punching with weights – 3 sets, then 20 minutes with a light bag followed by 3 sets of a heavy bag
- 5:15-5:45 pm – 5 sets of sit-ups, 5 sets of side bends, 5 sets of leg raises
- 8:20-8:24 pm – Isometric training for forearms
- 7:00-9:00 am – Kung Fu workout
- 9:00-9:15 am – Warm-up
- 9:20-9:50 am – 500 punches with the back first, 3 sets of rope-skipping
- 10:00-10:30 am – 500 finger jabs
- 11:05-11:15 am – Running
- 3:05-4:00 pm – 4 Sets of high kick stretching, 3 sets each of pulley hip extensions, 4 sets each of side leg stretching (left & right), 3 sets of right leading hook kicking, and 3 sets of rear left hook kicking
- 10:35-10:45 am – Warm-up
- 11:15-12:20 pm – 500 right punches and 500 left punches
- 12:53-1:07 pm – Go for a run
- 3:05-3:25 pm – Punching with weight and paper, skipping with a rope
- 10:05-10:53 pm – 4 Sets of sit-ups, 4 sets of leg raises, 4 sets of side bends, isometric training for wrist/forearm
- 9:25-10:13 am – 500 left punches and 500 right punches
- 11:00 am – Chi Sao (Wing Chun) practice – with Chuck Norris
- 4:10-5:00 pm – Leg stretching (pulley & stand), side and straight, work on left sidekick
- 8:30 pm – 5 Sets of sit-ups, 5 sets of leg raises, 5 sets of side bends, isometric training for wrist/forearms.
- 9:10 am – Warm-up
- 10:40 am – 500 punches and 300 finger jabs
- 10:00 am – 500 left punches and 500 right punches. Leg stretching and Chi Sao practice
- 9:10 pm-9:55 pm – Abs & waist, 5 sets of sit-ups, 5 sets of side bends, 5 sets of leg raises, stop by the gym
- 11:30 am-12:00 pm – Forearm training using Isometrics
Bruce Lee’s workout was found by Shannon Lee, Bruce’s daughter.
She shared the Bruce Lee workout that she had found amongst her late father’s possessions.
Bruce Lee’s Diet
Other than Bruce’s close family and friends, not anyone really knows for certain what Bruce Lee ate on a daily basis.
Based on some books and anecdotes, the below kind of principles was what he followed through with:
- His diet plan consisted mainly of Chinese food, vitamin supplements, and protein shakes.
- He loved steak. He would every now and then even go to Mc Donald’s! But he refused point-blank to binge on junk food just to kill hunger pangs.
- He loved shrimp, beef, tofu, chicken, and veggies. He preferred the Chinese vegetable dishes.
- He chose heavy-carbohydrate Chinese dishes over fatty protein-rich Westernized foods.
- He liked to consume 4 to 5 smaller meals each day instead of three big meals.
- He didn’t like dairy at all. He couldn’t understand why the Westerners loved cheese so much! He would use powdered milk in his protein shakes and cereals.
- He used a lot of veggies along with his protein shake drinks (he found this much healthier than the processed protein shake mixes).
- In order to boost his metabolism, he would eat plenty of fruit in the day.
- He would not eat refined flour or baked goods like biscuits and cakes.
- Bruce was a big green tea drinker. Green tea has plenty of antioxidants in it, and can also lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
There is not a whole heap of information about Bruce Lee’s diet, but we know that he was strict about counting calories.
He certainly knew what he was putting into his body. He tried at all times to avoid eating empty calories.
Bruce Lee’s Supplements & Recommendations
Bruce Lee’s family says that Bruce used to take a variety of minerals and vitamins.
Even though he ate a balanced diet, which provided most of his nutrition, he still took supplements to give him that extra boost.
What he took was…
- Lecithin Granules
- Hi Bee Pollen
- Vitamin C
- Natural Vitamin E
- Rose hips (liquid)
- Natural chewable Protein Tablets
- Acerola-C, B-Folia
- A-Veg and E-Plex
- Wheat germ oil
Recommendations of Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee’s workout notes were about power, agility, coordination, flexibility, endurance, agility, and even rest.
Bruce used the below philosophy when it came to his workouts:
“Don’t allow your goals to be superficial. Think deeply about your motivations, and pursue them in ways that elevate your performance. Accept what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is essentially your own, and apply it to your workout.”
His recommendations to anyone wanting to follow in his footsteps as far as working out and dieting go
- What everyone needs is not needless conflict and inner resistance.
- It is making the best of everything. “Walk on and leave behind all the things that would dam up the inlet or clog the outlet of experience.” Isn’t that a fantastic recommendation?
- Bruce Lee was also extremely positive. He wrote about his back to a friend saying, “But with every adversity comes a blessing because a shock acts as a reminder to oneself that we must not get stale in routine.” It’s how you react to a problem and the situation that is the problem.
Can we end with a very positive recommendation from Bruce Lee?
“You must see clearly what is wrong. You must decide to be cured. Speak so as to aim at being cured. You must act. Your livelihood must not conflict with your therapy. The therapy must go forward at the staying speed. You must feel it and think about it incessantly. And learn how to contemplate with the deep mind.”
Bruce Lee – The Legend. The Dragon
‘Considered the greatest martial artist of the 20th century, or of all time’