Thanks to my friend, Jarell Lindsey, owner of Muscular Strength System, for this awesome guest blog post!
Bruce Lee is the face of fitness in America. Even 40 years after his death, he is an icon for one of the best physiques that the movie industry has ever seen, and every ounce of his flesh produced terrible strength. At his bodyweight of around 140, Bruce Lee was known to completely demolish 300 lb heavy bags with his kicks, and punch with a force strong enough to completely splinter pieces of wood. More than power, he had dexterity, able to catch pieces of rice thrown into the air with a pair of chopsticks. He trained for function first and foremost, and the rest seemed to follow.
So how can one hope to even get near Bruce Lee’s strength? Just as it wasn’t for him, it will not be easy for you. In all honesty, Bruce Lee was one of those one-of-a-kind people, but that shouldn’t discourage you from training your utmost for Bruce Lee strength. Here are four tips on how to get there:
Dedication. First, if you don’t have dedication, you can forget about the rest of these tips, because you’ll never get anywhere near the Dragon’s level of strength without using his greatest strength, which was his almost manic level of dedication to training. You better believe that if there was a single moment in the day that Bruce Lee wasn’t training, he was thinking about it. Moments like watching TV or standing in line were opportunities for extra training. A walk along the beach turned into sprints or multiple-mile jogs. Are you this dedicated to your strength? If not, that’s okay for now, because you can get there. But you’ve gotta start by doing at least one fitness related thing a day. If you can’t go to the gym everyday, walk a mile or two in the morning. If you feel up to it, make it a jog. Always think about how to improve your strength in the little things you do everyday, and it’ll become second nature.
Pyramids. Bruce Lee did a lot of pyramid training with his workouts; for a man who exercised only for function, pyramids were key. The biggest argument that martial artists had against lifting weights was that it’d make them slow and bulky. Bruce Lee proved that, by starting heavy and working your way down, you can improve strength and power without sacrificing speed. Say, for punch power, Bruce would start punching with 50 lbs for 10 reps, 40 lbs for 15 reps, 30 lbs for 20 reps and so on. So, are you ready for some intense functional strength? Incorporate these into your workouts.
Cardio. I know a lot of big, strong guys who don’t think cardio is necessary as long as they just “lift weights faster”. If Bruce Lee, who had one of the best physiques of the modern era, wasn’t too good for cardio, I’m not either. Truth of the matter is, cardio will give you the endurance to go much longer and harder in your workouts, and leaving out cardio keeps you from reaching your best fitness potential. If you’re a fighter, you know how important cardio is to keep you sane and stable for those last few rounds or that final period of the fight. It takes more that just heavy lifting to have athletic function. Bruce Lee really pushed the limit with his cardio, running 5 and 10 miles like an Energizer bunny, but the most important thing I’ve taken from his running is his interval training. Bruce wouldn’t just run aimlessly for years or sprint himself to heaven; he’d sprint, jog, shadowbox, jog and shadowbox, sprint, and repeat or switch up the pattern. This interval training is the king of cardio; it teaches the heart to be able to spike it’s activity rate from a resting heart rate more comfortably. Basically, interval cardio teaches your heart to go from 0 to 60 faster than other forms of cardio, or a lack of cardio altogether.
Isometrics. This was Bruce Lee’s secret weapon in his training, and it should be yours too. Think of isometrics as taking your body and filling it up with titanium. Isometric exercises train you from the inside out, strengthening your bones and tendons/ligaments in addition to your muscles. This is what helped Bruce Lee get that “sinewy strength” people often talk about. Isometrics are interesting because you don’t move at all during your exercise, but it gives you some incredible strength benefits. You can push or pull against an immovable object like a wall, or you can load the machine up with supra-maximal weight in your strongest range and contract against it like there’s no tomorrow. Trust me, your limbs will feel like they just got treated with adamantium, and your resulting strength will be proof of that. Happy training 🙂
About the Author
Jarell Lindsey is an avid physical culturist, and owner of MuscularStrengthSystem.com. He is an advocate of isometric training, and enjoys catch wrestling, sparring, or exercising in his free time. His training advice can be found on fitness, martial arts, and health sites across the web. Coming from a family plagued with various health conditions, he has been in pursuit of the best methods of health management and strength training around since youth. He is currently studying for a Bachelors in Exercise Science, and he hopes to motivate more youth to pursue physical fitness as a lifestyle. He offers training and diet advice, interviews from leading fitness experts, and self improvement advice. Ultimately, he encourages a physical culture revolution to overcome the modern health crisis.