BRUCE LEE  Weight training WORKOUT

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Bruce Lee doing pushups his way.

According to 1996 article from Iron Man, Bruce Lee utilized an weight lifting schedule on an every other day basis to allow for recovery. Lee coordinated his bodybuilding workouts so they fell on days when he wasn't engaged in either endurance-enhancing or overly strenuous martial arts training. He increased his body weight from 135 pounds to 165.

Lee geared his training for function rather than muscle size. Three areas most important in Lee's physical fitness program were stretching for flexibility, weight training for strength, and cardiovascular activity for his respiratory system.

The Weight Training Program 

Bruce Lee weight trained on  Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays using this plan.


clean and presses                   2 x 8
squats                                    2 x 12
barbell pullovers                     2 x 8
bench presses                         2 x 6
good mornings                        2 x 8
barbell curls                             2 x 8


Clean and Presses

Lee would take a shoulder wide grip on an Olympic barbell. Bending his knees, he squatted  in front of the resistance, and with a quick snap of his arms and a thrust of his legs he cleaned the barbell to his chest and stood up. After a brief pause he thrust the barbell to arm's length overhead, paused briefly and then lowered it back to the top of his chest. After another brief pause he lowered the bar back to the floor. After eight reps Bruce Lee would take a very short rest and do his second final set.


Lee's squats were done with a barbell on his shoulders and his feet shoulder width apart. He slowly descended to a full squat position and with no pause came back up to the starting position. With a short breather he would then do set two.


Bruce Lee performed pullovers by lying on his back on a flat bench and taking a shoulder-width grip on a barbell that he pressed out to full extension above his chest. From this position he lowered the barbell behind his head-making sure to keep a slight bend in his elbows so as not to strain his elbow joints-until it touched the floor ever so slightly and provided a comfortable stretch  in his lats. From this fully extended position he slowly reversed the motion by contracting  his lats, pecs and the long heads of his triceps.

Bench Press

The bench press was the only direct barbell movement Bruce Lee used for his chest according to his personal records. He used a shoulder wide grip on an Olympic barbell. He pressed the weight off the support pins to arm's length above his chest. From this locked-out position he then lowered the bar to his chest and exhaled as he pressed it backup to the fully locked-out position.

Good Mornings

Good mornings should be done carefully and only after a good warmup. Lee did this exercise to strengthen his lower back but in 1970 he damaged his fourth sacral nerve in his lower back doing this exercise with 135 pounds and without a warmup. This caused him terrible back pain for the rest of his life. So if you do this one be careful.

Good mornings are done by placing a barbell across your shoulders and positioning your feet three inches apart. Bend at the waist, keep your hands on the barbell. When you get your back at a 90 degree angle to your hips, return to the upright position. Personally this is one I don't do.

Barbell Curls

Lee took a comfortable shoulder-width grip on the barbell with his palms facing forward. Keeping a slight bend in his knees, Lee contracted his biceps and curled the barbell up until it was on a level with his upper pecs. Pausing briefly in the fully contracted position, he then slowly lowered the barbell back to the starting position.

Other Bruce Lee Training

Bruce Lee incorporated weights in his martial arts training.  Lee would shadow box with weights in his hands.


Bruce Lee trained his abs daily, believing that if your stomach wasn't developed you had no business in the ring. 

Lee was always doing situps, crunches, Roman chair movements, leg raises, and V-ups. Chuck Norris went on record saying he saw Bruce bouncing Brandon Lee on his abdomen while simultaneously performing dumbbell flyes, and leg raises while watching tv.


In order to improve his gripping and punching power, Lee became an avid forearm trainer. He trained his forearms daily and had several gripping machines built for him.

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