Bruce Lee must be one of the martial artists’ dream heroes. That’s a no-brainer since Bruce Lee did not only introduce ancient martial arts to the modern world, he also inspired many athletes with his incredible physique that therefore complemented his martial art skills that left many people in awe.
Yes, Bruce Lee’s body helped him in performing Wing Chun Kung-Fu, a Chinese art that requires power legs and quick arm reflexes as a good form of self-defense. Bruce Lee even created his own martial art, the Jeet Kune Do which he taught students for a living, instead of ancient kung-fu before he became an actor. With that, many artists were motivated to follow his workout routine and nutrition regimen.
I for one am not a martial artist but I am intrigued to learn how to achieve a body like Bruce Lee. What was Lee’s training regimen? What was his diet? Did he have martial art workouts?
Let’s find out below.
- Here are the 21 Best Tips on Getting Bruce Lee Physique
- 1. Prepare Your Mindset and Plan Ahead
- 2. Warm-Up Exercise
- 3. Strength Training
- 4. Calisthenics
- 5. Abdominal Workout
- 6. Cardio
- 7. Jumping Rope
- 8. Punch/Box Training
- 9 Cross-Training
- 10. Heavy Bag Training
- 11. Cool-Down Training
- 12. Be Consistent
- 13. Schedule Your Training
- 14. Take Rest into Account
- 15. Look After Your Diet
- 16. Drink Plenty of Water
- 17. Eat More Protein
- 18. Do Not Be Disheartened Quickly
- 19. Keep a Workout Journal
- 20. Do Not See It As a Burden
- 21. Do Not Tolerate Cheat Days
Here are the 21 Best Tips on Getting Bruce Lee Physique
1. Prepare Your Mindset and Plan Ahead
Ever wondered how Bruce Lee got that lean, muscular, and proper form? Well, Lee believed that “As you think, you shall become”. Yes, it all started with his mindset. Bruce Lee did not acquire his skills overnight. In fact, he learned Wing Chun at the age of 13 and worked his way up in inventing his own technique.
This was only possible because Bruce Lee believed that he could master the skills he needed to execute them and for him to achieve that goal, he knew the need to prepare a Bruce Lee workout program to follow on a daily basis. Aside from believing in yourself, you of course would need to act on it. Create a proper plan and stick to it until the end.
2. Warm-Up Exercise
The first thing gym instructors would suggest when imitating Bruce Lee’s body workout is his weight training program. However, warm-up exercises are as important as Bruce Lee’s high-intensity interval training. Warm-up exercises prepare our whole body for the training regimen we are about to do and helps us suffer fewer body aches and injuries as more blood rushes through the muscles.
Warm-up exercises include yoga where you could stretch and enact a breathing exercise to keep your blood flowing better. Or perhaps, you could some squats, lunges, jogs, and many more.
3. Strength Training
As said, Bruce Lee is known for his weight training program and that goes under strength training. Strength training, or if you prefer to call it weight training, consists of minor to major weight lifting processes. This type of training involves the building of strength, skeletal muscles, and anaerobic endurance through muscular contraction.
Bruce loved lifting weights but if his routine is a bit complicated, then you could try simpler ones such as bench press, barbell curls, bicep curls, or just the same as Bruce Lee’s but with the use of small weights.
If lifting weights is just not your style but you still want to work out like Bruce Lee, then I suggest you do calisthenics. Calisthenics is basically a weight training routine without relying on any lifting aids besides your own. Such workouts include push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, lunges, planks, chin-ups, leg raises, and anything that requires you to lift your own body weight.
One of the biggest decisions Bruce Lee made in his career is when he drifted further away from weight training and switched to calisthenics instead. Bruce Lee even incorporated calisthenics in his routine when he discovered the art of Peripheral Heart Action Training. In that routine, full-body circuits are used instead of several major muscle groups. There Lee exercised the following:
Pull Up – 30 seconds, Kneeling Pull Down Behind Neck – 30 seconds, and Triceps Push Down – 30 seconds
5. Abdominal Workout
Want to have abs like Bruce Lee? Well, the secret to Bruce Lee’s abs is abdominal workouts. Bruce Lee is was often seen performing Dragon Flags to train his abs. Dragon Flags focuses on the core’s strength. Bruce Lee believed that “The abdominal and waist region coordinate all parts of the body and act as the center or generator. Therefore, you can promote the ability to control the body’s action and master your will more easily.”
Dragon Flags are quite difficult to pull off but there are alternative ways to train your abs such as leg raise, crunches, mountain climber, Russian twist, leg raise, and more.
According to Sinicki, Bruce Lee also incorporated a lot of cardio in his workout. It could be that he did it alternatively with his other training or he did it every other day. Nevertheless, cardiovascular exercises are good for your lungs, heart, and blood vessels as it helps your heart pump blood easier across your body.
Such exercises include running, squats, swimming, cycling, jogging, circuit training, and more.
7. Jumping Rope
I could have just including jump rope training in the cardio but it is one of Lee’s favorite cardiovascular exercises. Yes, Bruce Lee was a zen dude and he liked zen dude fitness. Well, you don’t necessarily have to be a zen dude to be like Bruce Lee. He actually skips the rope less than you think, Bruce Lee would often only do this exercise three times a week with 30 mins each.
Like other ancient martial arts, Jeet Kune Do requires a lot of kicking, and doing the zen dude fitness made his feet lighter in the air. This is because the exercise helped the muscles and calves of Bruce Lee stronger. If ever you don’t have any skipping rope, you may do jumping jacks instead although it would be more tiring as your arms keep on moving as well.
8. Punch/Box Training
It is clearly seen on Lee’s shoulders and serratus how much punch training or boxing he does. Throwing punches might look easier than done but it is actually difficult to maintain arm positions. Nevertheless, Bruce Lee treats this training as another cardiovascular and agility trainer.
This is because punching against Wing Chun or punching bags increased Lee’s speed in both arms and legs. Bruce Lee even said so himself that performing shadow box is good for building up speed. You could try doing so but with a proper trainer is much suggested.
Cross-training is a good regimen as it allows you to perform the different techniques to “beat” your opponent. The goal here is not really to beat them but to make use of the strength and agility that you have built up. It is also good for losing weight as it requires you to move a lot, therefore, body fat would be shed.
Bruce Lee is also known for his cross-training with his peers. He had sparred with the following back in the days according to McGlothlin:
- Jhoon Goo Rhee aka Pioneer of TKD in America (10th Dan TKD Black Belt)
- Gene Lebell (10th degree red belt in Judo/9th degree black belt in Jiu Jitsu/professional wrestler )
- Joe Lewis (Twice voted the greatest fighter in karate history)
- Chuck Norris (8th degree Black Belt in TKD/3rd-degree Black belt in Judo/3rd degree Black Belt in BJJ/5th-degree black belt in Karate)
- Ed Parker (Judo/Boxer/Founder of Kenpo) Dan Inosanto (Black Belt in BJJ/Authority of Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Martial Arts, Pencak Silat)
- Hayward Nishioka (9th degree black Belt in Judo/Gold Medallist for Judo Pan American Games),…
It’s no surprise that Bruce Lee got to train with these people, however, you have to be in a boxing match to do cross-training. You could look for a professional trainer or train with a Marcy Circuit Trainer like he did.
10. Heavy Bag Training
Aside from Circuit Training, Bruce Lee would make use of Heavy Bag Training when he is alone. There he would act as if he is in a real fight as he simulates every move through the heavy bag. Bruce Lee would often emphasize the importance of taking practices such as this seriously, therefore, he would train against the heavy bag the right way and not passively.
Although the heavy bag does not attack, they help you build more power and improve your techniques, balance, reflexes, and strength. This would work only if you would constantly move while sparring with the heavy bag. Think of it as a real person just like how Bruce Lee does.
Photo: Orange Blossom Water
11. Cool-Down Training
With all those suggested workouts to achieve a body like Lee, you might think that cooling down would not give much effect anymore. Well, isn’t obvious how the Bruce Lee workout program consists of high-intensity interval training? After all those exercises, your heart would beat like crazy, your temperature would at least be 35 degrees, and your blood vessels widening.
Cooling down would help your body know that you are done exercising so it wouldn’t encounter a shock phase and body breakdown. Cool-down stretches also help in preventing cramps after you wake up. That is why you shouldn’t skip cool-down exercises no matter how tired you may be.
12. Be Consistent
Knowing the secrets the have a body like Bruce Lee does not make you a boy Bruce right away. You have to be consistent in your routine otherwise it wouldn’t work. Bruce Lee did not master his skills in Wing Chun in just a day or two of doing it, he was practicing even if he was already good enough.
Likewise, if you want to imitate Bruce Lee’s physique, you’d have to consistently work for it even if you think you’ve done enough already. You don’t have to go through a hellish routine every day, all you need is a consistent regimen that you’d strictly follow every week.
13. Schedule Your Training
Speaking of a consistent regimen, Bruce Lee did not go through all those exercises at once. Although he was consistent, he had a different regimen for each day. Bruce Lee would schedule bench press day, bicep curls day, cross-training day, and more.
Similarly, you don’t have to spend the whole day in the gym to achieve a body like Bruce Lee. You could break down the exercises and group them into days. With that, exercising would not be much of a burden to you knowing that you wouldn’t do them all at once. As long as you are consistent, you’d achieve your goal.
14. Take Rest into Account
Consistent is the key but so does rest. The human body can only take as much and if we push it beyond our limit, untraversable events could happen that we might regret. Get proper sleep to keep your body energized during exercises and know when to stop when your body is giving in. However, taking your needed rest is different from making excuses.
Rest when your body REALLY needs it because if you take rests in between workouts, it is likely that continuing the workout would be difficult for you. This is because the body thinks that you are done, and therefore, you would be too lazy to resume. So, rest is important but do not take advantage of it to get out of your routine but to avoid body breakdown.
15. Look After Your Diet
Now diet does not necessarily mean starving yourself to lose weight. Just like sleep, your diet affects your mood, your energy, and how you function on a daily basis. That is why looking after your diet also contributes to achieving your goal to have Bruce Lee-like body. All you need to do is watch what you eat.
Bruce Lee might not have body fat but he himself had 5 meals a day. You might wonder how come eating 5 meals a day did not affect his body fat at all. Well, Bruce Lee ate smaller portions of every meal, and the Bruce Lee diet that he follows mainly consisted of vegetables, healthy Chinese food, protein shakes, and vitamin supplements. Therefore, you have to take your portions and choice of food into account when deciding your own meal plan.
16. Drink Plenty of Water
I could give you dozens of reasons why you should drink plenty of water but for starters, drinking water helps you lose weight. Drinking water is necessary to keep your bowel movements normal as it triggers bowel movements. It also prevents us from being dehydrated whenever we do our exercise as we perspire every time we do so.
With all the lifting of weights, building muscles are important and water helps in building such that eventually helps in protecting our joints. Furthermore, we often use our joints when exercising, and drinking water helps us in lubricating these joints, making us more flexible. There are a lot of reasons why we should drink water but it is especially important when we have a body-building goal in mind.
17. Eat More Protein
Following an exercise routine requires a lot of energy to use and protein is what we need to get through our training. This. is because proteins consist of amino acids that help in building and repairing bones and muscles. Foods like lean pork and beef, seafood, white meat, beans, and low-fat cheese are just some of the examples of food that are high in protein.
You might think that meat like lean pork and beef or white meat would just give you a few extra pounds but in fact, the Bruce Lee diet also included organ meats which are high. in protein as well. Remember that eating more protein would give you extra weight for anything. How much weight you gain from eating such food is how much energy it will give you to burn even more calories as long as they are healthy fat.
18. Do Not Be Disheartened Quickly
It is easy to be disheartened especially when you are just starting out but know that it took Bruce Lee years to achieve the goals that he had. You may take a rest but do not give up, find the motivation to keep on training if you really want to succeed. Bruce Lee once said “Having no limitation as limitation” as he encourages us to keep ongoing.
People tend to get disheartened when it is too stressful or if the results do not appear right away. It is okay to feel so once in a while because taking on a challenge to be like Lee is a really big challenge. Bruce Lee had moments when he felt demotivated as well. He would take that chance to be by himself, to meditate, to write, or to interact with others as Bruce wanted to make himself available when he was feeling low.
19. Keep a Workout Journal
Keeping a workout journal would help you see where you’ve come so far and the progress you’ve made. Having all your experiences recorded would remind you of how it felt when you first started and how you would feel in the future. Keeping a workout journal would give you the sense of fulfillment that comforts you in times that you are stuck.
Workout journals do not have to be lengthy as long as it is something that tracks your progress, you are good to go.
20. Do Not See It As a Burden
Everything is harder when we don’t look at the positive side. Do not see your routine as a burden, instead, look forward to doing it. Remember that we manifest what we attract and the longer we think about how much of a burden training is, the less we’d want to do it. Bruce Lee even once said that “If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done.”.
Therefore, for us to get through our training, let’s just do it right away and approach it positively. This is why maintaining good health also affects our condition to train as our mindset is highly affected. A good night’s sleep, a balanced diet, and. a hydrated body are always a must.
21. Do Not Tolerate Cheat Days
Cheat days do not cheat on anyone but ourselves. What is the use of creating a detailed workout and meal plan if you are going to cheat your way through? Furthermore, cheating once would lead to another, and another, and another. It will be harder to be consistent if you cheat once as you would likely want to cheat again.
“Knowledge will give you power, but character respect” – Bruce Lee
Yes, even though you learned everything you have to know to achieve a body like Bruce’s, it will not be beneficial if you cheat your way through. Knowledge is not enough, you’d have to respect your plans and schedule because again, cheat days do not cheat on anyone but ourselves. Let’s have respect for ourselves, do not tolerate cheat days.
1Q1. How tall is Bruce Lee?
Bruce Lee’s height is 1.72 meters. That is 5.6 in feet.
2Q2. What Dietary Supplements Bruce Lee is taking?
Bruce Lee took protein, vitamin, and mineral supplements. His protein drinks mainly consisted of eggs, peanut butter, yeast, wheat, granular lecithin, and bananas.
3Q3. How did Martial Arts Help Bruce Lee achieve his Superstar Body?
Martial arts require great strength, coordination, and spatial awareness. To achieve those, Bruce Lee had to work on his body first.
4Q4. What comprises Bruce Lee’s diet?
Bruce Lee mainly ate healthy Chinese food, supplements, tea, and organ meats. He would eat 5 small portions of them a day.