was a specimen of health. He trained every day and consumed only the
proper food. He was a martinet who never let his work interfere with his
training. Even when he was sent to India to find suitable locations for
filming, he took along his running shoes. The following is an excerpt
from Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: The Complete Edition.
One of the most neglected elements of martial artists is the physical
workout. Too much time is spent on developing skill in techniques and
not enough in physical participation. Practicing your skill in fighting
is important, but so is maintaining your overall physical condition.
Actually both are needed to be successful in a real fight. Training is a
skill of disciplining your mind, developing your power and supplying
endurance to your body.
BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark
of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are
intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. All rights
Lee’s daily training consisted of aerobic exercises, plus others which
were patterned to develop his skill in fighting. He varied his exercises
to avoid boredom. One of his favorite exercises was running four miles a
day in 24 to 25 minutes. He would change his tempo while running —
after several miles of constant, even strides, he would sprint several
feet and then return to easier running. Between changes in running
tempo, he would also shuffle his feet. Lee was not particular where he
ran: at the beach, in parks or woods, up and down hills or on surfaced
Besides running, he also rode an exercycle to develop his endurance,
legs and cardiovascular muscles. He usually rode full speed — 35 to 40
miles an hour continuously for 45 minutes to an hour. Frequently, he
would ride his exercycle right after his running.
Another aerobic exercise that Lee scheduled in his routine was skipping
rope, which you can adopt. This exercise not only develops your stamina
and leg muscles but also improves you, makes you “light on your feet.”
Only recently, physiologists have learned, by several tests, that
skipping rope is more beneficial than jogging. Ten minutes of skipping
rope is equivalent to 30 minutes of jogging. Both are very beneficial
exercises for the cardiovascular system.
Skipping rope properly is one of the best exercises for developing a
sense of balance. First, skip on one foot, holding the other in front of
you; then rotate your foot, skipping on the alternate foot with each
revolution of the rope, from a gradual pace to a really fast tempo.
Minimize your arm swing; instead, use your wrists to swing the rope
over. Lift your foot slightly above the ground, just enough for the rope
to pass. Skip for three minutes (equivalent to a round in a boxing
match), then rest one minute only before you continue for another round.
Three rounds of this exercise are sufficient for a good workout. As you
become conditioned to skipping, you can omit the rest period and do the
exercise for as long as 30 minutes straight. The best rope is made of
leather with ball bearings in the handles.
Shadowboxing and Sparring
Additional endurance exercises are shadowboxing and sparring.
Shadowboxing is a good agility exercise that also builds up your speed.
Relax your body and learn to move easily and smoothly. At first,
concentrate on your form and move with lightness on your feet until it
becomes natural and comfortable — then work faster and harder. It is a
good idea to start your workout with shadowboxing to loosen your
muscles. Imagine your worst enemy stands before you and you are going to
demolish him. If you use your imagination intensely, you can instill
into yourself an almost real fighting frame of mind. Besides developing
stamina, shadowboxing increases your speed, creates ideas and
establishes techniques to be used spontaneously and intuitively. Going
several rounds is the best way to learn proper footwork.
Too many beginners are too lazy to drive themselves. Only by hard and
continuous exercise will you develop endurance. You have to drive
yourself to the point of exhaustion (“out of breath” and expect muscle
ache in a day or two). The best endurance training method seems to be a
lengthy period of exercise interspersed with many brief but
high-intensity endeavors. Stamina types of exercise should be done
gradually and cautiously increased. Six weeks in this kind of training
is a minimum for any sports that require considerable amounts of
endurance. It takes years to be in peak condition, and unfortunately,
stamina is quickly lost when you cease to maintain high-conditioning
exercises. According to some medical experts, you lose most of your
benefit from exercises if you skip more than a day between workouts.
About the Book:
This comprehensive edition continues to embrace all the photographs,
illustrations and text from earlier versions of the individual works: Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method Volume 1: Self-Defense Techniques; Volume 2: Basic Training; Volume 3: Skill in Techniques; and Volume 4: Advanced Techniques.
It maintains the explanations that give martial artists the jeet kune
do techniques’ instruction necessary to take their skills to the next
level … but with exclusive bonus material.
Muscle and Fitness (formerly known as Muscle Builder, a magazine that Bruce Lee himself was a subscription member of) had a excerpt on his weight training routine: May 2013
Bruce Lee - By examining various nutritional supplements used by bodybuilders and studying their routines, Lee was able to adapt and shape his body to complement his own personal martial art.
He studied isometric and plyometric training, in an effort to stimulate fast-twitch muscle fibre growth. He had a friend George Lee (no relation to him) redesign and build resistance equipment to help him isolate particular movements and develop specific techniques.
Of course, for Lee, the physical was only half of the equation. He also made it a point to strengthen his mind. He grew an enormous library of of books covering everything from martial arts to fitness to nutrition and even philosophy.
Lee reasoned that the most dangerous adversary one could face was a "mad man" intent on biting off your nose or biting & ripping open your neck. Such a person, he believed, could only be beaten with swift, economic movements directed at vulnerable targets, and that such movements could only result from a well-conditioned body and mind. The frame of mind he spoke about: a relaxed mentality in combat, describing it as a sleeplike state, one in which eye, brain and muscle coordination work in harmony at break-neck speed to intercept an attack.In fact his new martial art, Jeet Kune Do, literally translates as "the way of the intercepting fist".
Overall Strength:This is very basic, but very sound, program Lee followed 3 times a week for years. Because so much of his training was devoted to martial arts, he had to be efficient with his weight training, and this routine is about as efficient as they come.
------------------------------ Sets Reps
Clean and Press 2 8-12
Barbell Curl 2 8-12
Behind-the-Neck Press 2 8-12
Upright Row 2 8-12
Barbell Squat 2 12-20
Barbell Row 2
8-12 Barbell Bench Press 2 8-12
Barbell Pullover 2 8-12
Pump and Detail:Lee used the following program 3 times a week for 44 days in 1965, in an effort to build up his arms. It worked, as he added 3.4 inches to his upper arms and more than 1/2 inch on his forearms. Keep in mind that Lee kept rest between sets to an absolute minimum, which isn't a surprise, since he was the personification of energy in motion.
----------------------------- Sets Reps
Squat 3 10
Lying Triceps Extension 4 6
Incline Dumbbell Curl 4 6
Concentration Curl 4 6
Weighted Push-up 3 10
Barbell Curl 3 8
One-arm Overhead... 3 6-10
Dumbbell Rotation 4 until failure to do anymore
Seated Wrist Curl 4 until failure to do anymore
Reverse Wrist Curl 4 until failure to do anymore
Sit-up 5 12
Calf Raise 5 20
"No thinking, no reflecting---- perfect emptiness, yet therein something moves,
following its non course--- the moon in the stream."
"Nothingness cannot be confined, the softest thing cannot be snapped."
"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them."