You know that name. If you are old enough to read this blog and know enough about movies, athletics, martial arts or even good books. You know the legend. It doesn’t matter what age you are or what country you are from. The respect gained by this five feet seven-inch tall master transcends time. His wisdom breaks the conventions of ages. His methods break the molds of tradition. He is Bruce lee.
I as a blogger would limit myself to comment only on subjects and topics that I have faced myself in person. Sharing only the experiences that I earned along this short while. This is when I break my only rule. Don’t blame me, no one can ever really match this legend, I just hope to emulate him. Today I bring to you the most discussed and favored lessons used over time by fitness experts and martial arts enthusiasts.
Keep in mind this is not a philosophical discussion. There will be a time for that too.
Remember what his philosophy was when he introduced Jeet kune do. “Absorb what is useful, Discard what is useless.”
- Alternate routines with similarities
This is what Bruce lee’s training routine looked like:
Punches – Mon/ Wed/ Fri:
- Overhand Cross
- Speed bag workout
- Side Kick
- Hook Kick
- Spin Kick
- Rear and Front Thrust Kick
- Heel KickOn his whim, he would decide between a heavy bag, focus mitts or shadow work.
The point however to this ritual is simple. Split your routine into similar work each day to develop each skill independently and energetically.
- Simple, Precise, Quick and Powerful
- Clean and press – 4 sets of 6 reps
- Squat – 4 sets of 6 reps
- Good morning – 4 sets of 6 reps
- Bench press – 4 sets of 5 reps
- Curls – 4 sets of 6 reps
Whether you choose weight training or not is up to you, I prefer using calisthenics, stretches and sprints as my assistance training. But I think what Bruce meant is clear. Keep your assistance training Simple. Low reps and heavy weights kept bruce lee limber yet powerful, it was precisely what he wanted as a martial artist, while saving time and providing amazing results.
- Quality and Quantity
Bruce ran 4 miles three times a week, speeding up for thirty seconds before going back into his regular pace for sixty seconds repeatedly. The other three days Lee would skip for thirty minutes at a time along with another forty-five minutes of cycling on an exercise bike. He believed it helped keep him light on his feet as well as helping his fitness.
While strength may be king of workouts, cardio is much like the prince. Without him, the king has no future. Bruce knew that. He also knew that Intensity and length are inseparable for a good quality workout.
It’s time that we learn that too.
- A Hard Core
- Side bends – 5 sets to failure
- Leg raises – 5 sets to failure
- Sit-ups – 5 sets to failure
This was his daily routine for Abdominal work. One might discover what having a hernia feels like with the intensity Bruce worked these muscles. It might seem excessive to bodybuilders and modern health coaches, but a good core is a central requirement for any serious Martial artist. Bruce himself was caught saying that “You have no business sparring if you do not have abs of steel.”
- Struggle is strength
With his pushup routine, Bruce lee tensed all his muscles at once. This carried over to other forms of workout. Though fitness expert often argue that excess effort wastes an unnecessary amount of energy, Bruce deliberately favored creating tension to enhance his muscular awareness, balance and acumen. In his own words “Tension Creates Control.”
Engaging all his muscles, watching Bruce lee workout was a sight to behold. Can you argue with a video of Bruce lee performing his legendary two finger pushups?
- Post workout Isometrics
Bruce lee Incorporated an eleven second Isometric clench to his upper body and torso at the end of each workout. While you see his body shivering with a shot of a really powerful punch or a kick. He used to assume a stance and clench away with gusto until he turned red. This Isometric clench was useful as it not only helped him to counter the “bulking” effect of a workout, it also helped him become innately aware of every muscle fiber.
To be able to know every bit of the strength and endurance your muscles possess is a gift. To a stunts man, it helps in precisely measuring the risk he can take. To a martial artist, the amount of energy he can spare till the next opportunity. To an athlete, the limit of endurance to which he can push himself. Thus, one must work to “Connect mind with muscle.” One can’t always go looking for an expert, we need to learn to make our own decisions with at least a minimal understanding of our body’s needs.
- Know your limits
With all the strenuous routine, Bruce lee also made sure that the weight he would lift would be within his limit. As he began training at age sixteen, his strength grew to the point that at his peak, he could curl a hundred and ten pounds, about seven kilos short of his own physical weight. It is amazing no doubt, but he emphasized upon a good form. He avoided swinging or kipping and trained very hard for a long time to reach his peak. Follow Bruce lee. “Lift what you can actually lift.”
- Fighting without Fighting
Like everything in life, sometimes the key to physical growth is to relax. Spending time off for a good recuperation is essential and though it seems paradoxical to Bruce lee’s abdomen routine, Bruce lee’s constant advice was “you are only as good as your recovery.”
A proper nutrition, supplementation, good eight hours of sleep and rest days are what covers this aspect.Bruce lee chose high-quality protein supplementation along with his daily diet to give himself a little extra edge over his previous performances along with his regular healthy diet. He varied his routine with cross training, working strength, conditioning, skipping, swimming and ab work in varied routines, stimulating his mind and defeating monotony and mental exhaustion while having fun. He was a student. Researching, learning and implementing all that was useful from any source possible from American boxing and English fencing to cha cha dancing and even Indian traditional wrestling.Until next time…