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    Bruce Lee workout

    The Routine
    After much research, and with the help of two bodybuilders who were also his close friends and students in the San Francisco Bay area, Lee devised a three-day-per-week bodybuilding program that he felt fit his strengthening and bodybuilding needs perfectly. According to one of these men, Allen Joe, "James Lee and I introduced Bruce to the basic weight training techniques. We used to train with basic exercises like squats, pullovers and curls for about three sets each. Nothing really spectacular but we were just getting him started." This program actually served Lee well from 1965 through until 1970 and fit in perfectly with Lee's own philosophy of getting the maximum results out of the minimum -- or most economical -- expenditure of energy.

    The every-other-day workout allowed for the often neglected aspect of recovery to take place. Lee coordinated his bodybuilding workouts in such a way so as to insure that they fell on days when he wasn't engaged in either endurance-enhancing or overly strenuous martial art training. The program worked like magic; increasing Lee's bodyweight from an initial 130 pounds to -- at one point -- topping out at just over 165 pounds!

    According to Glover, however, Lee wasn't particularly pleased with the added mass; "I noticed that he was bigger after he was weight training. There was a time after he went to California that he went up to 165 pounds. But I think it slowed him down because that was real heavy for Bruce. He looked buff like a bodybuilder. And then, later on I saw him and this was all gone. I mean, one thing that Bruce was [about] was function -- and if stuff got in the way, then it had to go. Bruce wanted his weight training to complement what he did in the martial arts. A lot of what Bruce was doing was about being able to maintain arm positions that nobody could violate in a fight. Like, if you take most people who are into bodybuilding or weight training, most of them are interested in simply building up their muscles to a bigger size, particularly the major muscle groups -- not much attention is paid to the connective tissues, like ligament and tendon strength. Well, Bruce's thing was 'let's build up the connectors and we won't worry so much about the size of the muscle.' Again, Bruce was about function.

    Gearing his training for function, Lee's bodybuilding routine incorporated the three core tenets of total fitness- stretching for flexibility, weight training for strength and cardiovascular activity for his respiratory system -- the original cross-trainer!
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    Bruce Lee's "Lethal Physique" Bodybuilding Program
    (performed on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays)

    Exercise Sets Repetitions
    Clean & Press 2 8
    Squats 2 12
    Pullovers 2 8
    Bench Presses 2 6
    Good Mornings 2 8
    Barbell Curls 2 8



    The Breakdown of the Routine:

    1.) Clean & Press: Lee would begin this movement by taking a shoulder-width grip on an Olympic barbell. Bending his knees, he would squat down in front of the resistance and, with a quick snap of his arms and a thrust from his legs, clean the barbell to his chest and stand up. After a brief pause, Lee would then thrust the barbell to arms length overhead, pause briefly, and then lower the barbell back to the top of his chest. After another brief pause, he would lower the barbell back to the floor (the starting position). With absolutely no rest, Lee would then initiate his second repetition of the movement and continue to do so until he had completed eight repetitions. After a very brief rest, so as to take full advantage of the cardio-respiratory benefits as well as the strength-building benefits, Lee would perform a second -- and final -- set.

    2.) Squats: This staple of bodybuilding movements was the cornerstone of Bruce Lee's barbell training. He had dozens of articles that he'd clipped out on the mechanics and benefits of squats and he practiced many variations of this exercise. In his routine, however, he performed the exercise in the standard fashion. Resting a barbell across his shoulders, Lee would place his feet approximately shoulder-width apart. Making sure that he was properly balanced, Lee would slowly ascend to a full squat position. With absolutely zero pause in the bottom position, Lee would then immediately return -- using the strength of his hips, glutes, hamstrings, calves and quadriceps -- to the starting position, whereupon he would commence rep number two. Lee would perform 12 repetitions in this movement and, after a short breather, return and re-shoulder the barbell for one more set of 12 reps.
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    3.) Pullovers: Although there exists no physical evidence that Bruce Lee supersetted barbell pullovers with squats, there is reason to believe that this was case -- if only for the fact that such was the method advocated in the articles he read. Squats were considered a great "overall" muscle builder, whereas pullovers were simply considered a "rib box expander" or "breathing exercise." Consequently, the fashion of incorporating pullovers in the late 1960s and early 1970s was as a "finishing" movement for squats. This being the case, Lee would perform the movement in the standard fashion; i.e., by lying down on his back upon a flat bench and taking a shoulder-width grip on a barbell that he would then proceed to press out to full extension above his chest. From this position, Lee would lower the barbell -- making sure to keep a slight bend in his elbows so as not to strain the elbow joint -- behind his head until it touched the floor ever so slightly and provided a comfortable stretch to his lats. From this fully-extended position, Lee would then slowly reverse the motion through the contraction of his lats, pecs and long-head of the triceps. He would repeat this movement for two sets of eight repetitions.

    4.) Bench Presses: Bruce Lee was able to develop an incredible chest musculature. His upper pecs were particularly impressive, bunching and splitting into thousands of fibrous bands. And, as far as his personal training records indicate, the only direct barbell movement he performed to develop his chest was the good old fashioned bench press. Lying down upon a flat bench, and again taking a shoulder-width grip on an Olympic barbell, Lee would press the weight off the support pins to arms length above his chest. From this locked-out position, Lee would then lower the barbell to his chest and, exhaling, press it back up to the fully-locked out (or starting) position. He would repeat this movement for six repetitions and then, after a brief respite, return to the bench for one more set of six reps.
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    5.) Good Mornings: A word of caution about this exercise. Lee performed this movement to strengthen his lower back. However, one day in early 1970 he loaded up the bar with 135 pounds (his bodyweight at the time) and -- without a warm up -- proceeded to knock off eight repetitions. On his last rep he felt a "pop" and found out later that he had damaged the fourth sacral nerve of his lower back. The result was the Lee had to endure incredible back pain for the remainder of his life. This is not to say that the movement is without merit, just make sure that you perform an adequate warm-up prior to employing, it. Placing a barbell across his shoulders, Lee would place his feet three inches apart (Lee would later confide to Dan Inosanto "You really don't need any weight but the empty bar on your shoulders Dan -- it's more of a limbering movement") and bend over from the waist keeping his hands on the barbell at all times. Lee would bend over until his back was at a 90 degree angle to his hips and then return to the upright position. Lee performed two sets of eight repetitions of this movement.

    6.) Barbell Curls: Bruce Lee performed barbell curls not only in his garage gym on Roscomare Avenue in Bel Air, but also in his studio office in Hong Kong. They were a staple or "core" movement in his weight training routine and were also responsible for building a very impressive pair of biceps on Lee -- not to mention incredible pulling power, which he used to such good effect in all of his sparring sessions! To perform this movement properly, Lee would take a comfortable shoulder-width grip on the barbell with his palms facing forwards. Keeping a slight bend in his knees for stabilization purposes, Lee would then contract his biceps and curl the barbell up to a point level with his upper pecs. Pausing briefly in this fully-contracted position, Lee would then slowly lower the barbell back to the starting position. Two sets of eight repetitions of this movement would typically wrap up Lee's bodybuilding routine.
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    According to Inosanto, Lee didn't just train with the above listed exercises. He would also incorporate weight training into his martial art workouts. "Bruce would always shadow box with small weights in his hands and he'd do a drill in which he'd punch for 12 series in a row, 100 punches per series, using a pyramid system of 1,2,3,5,7 and 10-pound weights -- and then he'd reverse the pyramid and go 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1 and finally "zero" weight. He had me do this drill with him and -- Man! -- what a burn you'd get in your delts and arms!"

    It didn't stop there however. When Lee wasn't training with weights in his martial art workouts or during one of his three designated whole-body training sessions, he could be found curling a dumbbell in the office in his house. "He was always using that dumbbell," recalls Linda in looking back on her husband's training habits. "Bruce had the unique ability to be able to several things at once. It wasn't all unusual for me to find him watching a boxing match on TV, simultaneously performing a full side splits, while reading a book in one hand and pumping a dumbbell in the other."

    Incredible Abs

    By far the most impressive of all of Lee's bodyparts was his abdominal muscles, which he trained daily. "Bruce always felt that if your stomach wasn't developed, then you had no business sparring," recalls Wong. "He was a fanatic about abdominal training," concurs Linda, "he was always doing sit-ups, crunches, Roman Chair movements, Leg Raises and V-ups." Chuck Norris has gone on record recalling the time that he went to visit the Lee family and seeing Bruce lying on the living room floor bouncing his son Brandon on his abdomen while simultaneously performing dumbbell flyes for his pecs and leg raises for his abs - and watching television to boot!

    Forearms of Steel

    In order to improve his gripping and punching power, Lee became an avid devotee of forearm training, While many champion bodybuilders shy away from direct forearm training, Lee made it a point to train his forearms daily. "He was a forearm fanatic," laughs Linda in retrospect. "If ever any bodybuilder -- such as Bill Pearl -- came out with a forearm course, Bruce would have to get it." Bruce even commissioned an old friend of his from San Francisco, George Lee (no relation) to build him several "Gripping machines" to which Lee would add weight for additional resistance. "He used to send me all of these designs for exercise equipment," recalls George Lee, "and I'd build them according to his specs. However, I wasn't altogether foolish," he says with a laugh, "I knew that if Bruce was going to use it, it must be effective, so I'd build one to send to him and another for me to use at home!"

    Allen Joe recalls that Lee had a favorite dumbbell exercise that he used to train his forearms with constantly: "Bruce was always working on his forearms. He'd pick up a weight and go to the edge of the sofa and start doing wrist curls while he was watching TV. Then he'd do his abdominal work -- and then he'd return to his forearm training. The dumbbell curl he liked best was a Zottman curl, where you would curl the weight up one side of your body and then you twist it and bring it down on the other side. He'd do that all the time
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    Knowledge Is Power

    For the past seven years I've been hard at work compiling all (and I mean ALL) of Bruce Lee's training programs, notes and annotations on physical training for a book series that, like Lee's training methods, has proved to be constantly evolving (the training material has been presented in the book entitled The Art of Expressing The Human Body, Tuttle Publishing, Boston). And what amazes me after having looked through all of his materials is just how thorough his knowledge of training actually was. Lee collected over 140 books on bodybuilding, weight training, physiology and kinesiology during his lifetime, in addition to well over 2,000 books on philosophy and the martial arts. Lee believed that you could never know "too much" about a subject that could benefit your health and he lived his entire life trying to acquire as much knowledge about health and fitness as he could.

    Although Lee is no longer with us, his teachings and his example live on. Certainly this is so in the realm of exercise science. Lee epitomized the athletic ideals of diligence, hard work, bearing up under adversity and refusing to short-change either oneself or one's potential. "Low aim is the biggest crime a man can commit," he once told Tae Kwon Do Master, Jhoon Rhee. "Remember, Life is a journey, not a destination."

    The Roman philosopher Seneca once said that, "Life, if thou knowest how to use it, is long enough." If this is so, then Bruce Lee's life was long enough to be a fulfilling one, perhaps - given what he accomplished and the enduring influence of his example -- it might just be considered one of the more meaningful lives of the twentieth century. And it was Lee's commitment to excellence - and to a principled approach to training - that resulted in the creation of one of the greatest physiques in modern history.
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    Nice to bring this to our knowledge, but copy-pasting from another site without giving credits is a no-no

    I see some of it comes from http://www.mikementzer.com/blee.html
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    When I first started getting into weight lifting about 3 odd years ago, this was the first routine I ever did. It gave me moderate n00b gains, and I felt content, but later moved on to a much improved compound routine in the following years.

    The interesting thing is that all of the exercises can be performed with one barbell, weights, and a bench. Of course, you need the resistance to get the effectiveness of each exercise, and using only a standard bar kit is not enough (you will need olympic weights). Obviously, this was a n00b mistake I made back then. Plus, the Squats in THIS routine call for pressing them over your head, then doing the squats as opposed to doing most squat rack squats where the resistance can be greater.
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    OH i thought it had mentzer and littles name in the credits. You can see that by reading.

    The best part is is that he did 2 sets and the 1 set was pretty much a warmup set so he just did one set to failure pretty much
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    In a couple months there will be an article on mikementzer.com about when bruce lee was training with Arthur Jones with a young mentzer also training with them. I can't wait.
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    Originally Posted by kingfish3 View Post
    OH i thought it had mentzer and littles name in the credits. You can see that by reading.

    The best part is is that he did 2 sets and the 1 set was pretty much a warmup set so he just did one set to failure pretty much
    BULL $HIT ! and it isn't H.I.T. He did 2 that's right TWO work sets with the same weight and it doesn't say he he trained to failure on either one of them. Therefore Bruce Lee DIDN'T USE H.I.T. I love it when you own yourself.
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    i love it when allpro owns himself, remember that sports team poll you posted allpro? remember how you helped prove my point..lol
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    Originally Posted by HITMOF View Post
    i love it when allpro owns himself, remember that sports team poll you posted allpro? remember how you helped prove my point..lol
    You mean Kingfish's point, right? I love it when you can't even keep your names straight.

    And what poll, the one where it said only 5 team trainers practice with HIT? And you thought it said 71% did? That one?
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    Originally Posted by HITMOF View Post
    i love it when allpro owns himself, remember that sports team poll you posted allpro? remember how you helped prove my point..lol
    I proved that you have a point on the top of your head and that you can't do math. 32 teams in the NFL and this year only 5 teams using anything that looks like H.I.T. Every year fewer teams use it.
    And for those that missed it
    http://nsca.allenpress.com/nscaonlin...PON%3E2.0.CO;2
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    Okay what is posted above is Bruce Lee's FIRST WORKOUT ROUTINE and yes its 2 WORKING SETS. HIT has some valid points and Mentzer had a great physique but Kingfish your giving the both of them a bad name on these boards.
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    Originally Posted by paycheck View Post
    Okay what is posted above is Bruce Lee's FIRST WORKOUT ROUTINE and yes its 2 WORKING SETS. HIT has some valid points and Mentzer had a great physique but Kingfish your giving the both of them a bad name on these boards.
    x1,000,000,000
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    I would ROFL if we could find what team's strength & conditioning coaches they worked for (it was a survey, so it cannot be determined). Imagine if the Bears, Colts, Patriots, Saints, and Eagles used HIT. Hahahaha...
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    Originally Posted by antseezee View Post
    I would ROFL if we could find what team's strength & conditioning coaches they worked for (it was a survey, so it cannot be determined). Imagine if the Bears, Colts, Patriots, Saints, and Eagles used HIT. Hahahaha...
    http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/ls12.htm
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    bro Liquidtensi0n's Avatar
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    I think Arnold's routine is better. I didn't read this supposed Bruce Lee workout either. I just know anything kingfish posts is to be ignored. But anyway, Arnlod > Bruce Lee in terms of size so volume must be better right? Oh yea, logic baby. Also, Arnold could beat Bruce Lee in a fight. Sure Bruce Lee knows martial arts n stuff, but Arnold has taken on things like aliens (of various kinds), robots from the future, and literally armies of evil henchmen. All I see Bruce Lee pwning is some old asian guy. Anyway, this also means that volume > HIT. Also, volume helped Arnold be governor of California, no lie. If he ever gets the constitution changed and becomes president it will be because of volume. I could go on.
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    the 2 work sets werent with the same weight and the volume trolls just can' t stop looking like idiots with their trolling posts and getting owned.
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    Originally Posted by kingfish3 View Post
    the 2 work sets werent with the same weight and the volume trolls just can' t stop looking like idiots with their trolling posts and getting owned.
    I really want to know if you're intentionally trying to be a moron, or if in your world, you think you're smart. I think it has to be intentional, since no human being older than 6 would think like you do...
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    Excellent read, thanks. I've never been a HIT supporter or heavily periodized supporter, but that article goes to show the difference in training philosophies.
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    The book "Art of Expressing the Human Body" by Bruce Lee goes into further detail on his workouts and diet.
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    People also tend to forget that while he did do a 3x/week lifting style workout and volume was somewhat low...

    ...He also trained with heavy bags, speed bags, and martial arts on alternating days. It was in one of his books where they had a sample sheet from his daily schedule and it generally was like this:

    Tu/Thu/Sat -> Lifting
    Mon/Wed/Fri -> Martial Arts Training / Sparring / Bag Training

    So in addition to lifting, he was also getting a resistance workout through heavy bag work & sparring. That most likely brought out certain stabilizers that were rarely worked by movements with just a barbell. Plus all that dang cardio he did, ab work, and his own vegetable/fruit shakes - it's no wonder the guy is a true hardcore legend to this day.
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    CSCS, ACSM cPT.
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    my hit clients and myself also play sports, and other things. Plus mentzer vs bruce lee in a fight would be a close match.
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    Originally Posted by kingfish3 View Post
    my hit clients and myself also play sports, and other things. Plus mentzer vs bruce lee in a fight would be a close match.
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    bro Liquidtensi0n's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by kingfish3 View Post
    the volume trolls just can' t stop looking like idiots with their trolling posts and getting owned.
    No, that's definitely you.

    Originally Posted by kingfish3 View Post
    my hit clients and myself also play sports, and other things. Plus mentzer vs bruce lee in a fight would be a close match.
    I laughed my ass off at this, on all levels. Would god vs. mike mentzer be a close match, but probably going to mike? Maybe if he had some sort of nautilus equipment there to back him up?
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    yes urkle did do hit and you can contact sharkey at mikementzer.com with the info about it. As he has gained alot of muscle and was trained by aaron baker who recommended it to him.
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    the bruce lee article at mikementzer.com is awesome
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