Why did Bruce Lee change his weight training routine so drastically?
Based on the reminisces of Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee’s first US martial arts student, Bruce decided to radically reshape his strength training workouts simply because he wasn’t happy with the functionality of the additional 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.” – Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee’s first US martial arts student
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.” – Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee’s first US martial arts student Bruce Lee trimmed down the bulky muscle and lost 35 pounds, yet he became much stronger.
How did Bruce Lee workout less and lose weight, yet gain more power and strength? Around 1970, Bruce’s body strength training evolved to meet his new workout philosophy involving compound exercises. He began simplifying his training and discarding the routines he felt added too much bulk for his martial arts purposes. Cutting down on the protein shakes and using the 20-minute body workout below, Bruce Lee trimmed his body down to a very chiseled 136 pounds. This Bruce Lee Body Strength Workout for Power is the basic training program Bruce settled on for the remainder of his life.
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The reason the shortened 20-minute Body Strength Workout for Power worked for Bruce was because all parts of the new regimen involved compound exercises. John Little, Bruce Lee biography writer, explains that Bruce “geared his training regimen for function above all else. Lee devised muscle-development programs that stressed compound exercises, exercises that require two or more muscle groups. His reasoning was simple: He wanted harmony among all of his muscle groups so they could generate power in concert, and would combine to accomplish a single objective, whether it be the execution of a powerful punch or kick, an efficient trapping combination, or even to dodge a blow.”
“Training for strength and flexibility is a must. You must use it to support your techniques. Techniques alone are no good.” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee realized that, in some ways, less is more. Compound exercises work multiple muscles instead of isolating a single muscle like the incline curls and triceps stretches in his older workout. Bruce’s new body strength workout gave him power without the bulk. Coupled with his martial arts, diet plan, cardio fitness routines and wide range of other exercises, Bruce Lee essentially became one of the first cross-trainers ever.
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Bruce Lee body boxing muscles in Bruce Lee body Bruce Lee strength According to Bruce Lee student and famed martial arts instructor Dan Inosanto, Lee didn’t solely weight train with the Body Strength Workout above. He also incorporated weight lifting into his martial art workouts.