Bruce Lee Fitness - How to Train Like Bruce Lee

How can the Bruce Lee fitness workout breathe fire into your training?

Let these 6 dragon exercises show the way.

Train Like Bruce Lee

Why would you want to train like Bruce Lee? Lee wasn't only a movie star and martial artist - he was also a student of exercise science. Because of this, his thirst for knowledge would result in a strength training routine where each exercise was tirelessly tested for its efficacy.

Until his death in July of 1973, Lee would amass a vast personal library of well over 2,500 books that not only featured the current writings of the day, but included the strongmen of yesteryear, such as Eugene Sandow.

This attention to detail saw Lee train all the elements of total fitness, including muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility.

Photo courtesy of Cameron Russell

Bruce Lee Physique

So did this workout program make the Bruce Lee physique strong? Placing special emphasis on his arms, Lee could perform single biceps curls with over 70 pounds and would execute one-armed chin ups for 50 repetitions.

More arm training included static contractions where Lee would hold a 125 pound barbell at arms length, and yet more arm training would see the "Little Dragon" exercising with all manner of wrist curls and commission custom-built gym equipment to work his grip.

This desire to maximize his physical potential saw Lee constantly evolve his weight training until he settled on the following workout.

Bruce Lee Fitness Workout

This routine served Lee well from 1965 until 1970 and fit in perfectly with Lee's philosophy of getting the maximum results from the most economical expenditure of energy.

Could this Bruce Lee workout do the same for you?

  1. Clean & Press
  2. Squats
  3. Pullovers
  4. Bench Press
  5. Good Mornings
  6. Barbell Curls.

Bruce Lee Fitness

On first examination, many of these exercises will appear familiar to you. After diligent research of all the available strength training and bodybuilding literature, Lee would concentrate on the basics to transform his body - the same proven basics we promote on this site.

Armed with just a handful of exercises, Lee would not only train his muscles, but would train the strength of the connective tissues such as the ligaments and tendons.

The Bruce Lee body wasn't concerned about the size of the muscle - what mattered to Lee was training for function.

Super Squats

Training for function would lead Lee to a muscle building workout that was efficient and brief. Unlike the typical marathon routines that were prevalent at the time, Lee would perform the above exercises for just 2 sets and 8-12 repetitions.

Of all the movements, the squat exercise was the cornerstone of Bruce Lee's barbell training. He had dozens of articles expounding the merits of this mass builder, and would perform the exercise in strict and standard fashion.

These same articles would also champion the benefits of squats and pullovers. While there is no evidence to suggest Lee ever supersetted pullovers with squats, there is every reason to believe this is likely, as pullovers were considered a productive rib box expander and effective accompaniment to deep breathing squats.

Just like J. C. Hise and Roger Eells before him, Lee would take full advantage of this dynamic duo.

In Summary

How can the Bruce Lee fitness workout breathe fire into your training?

Let these 6 dragon exercises show you how.

Bruce Lee Fitness to Muscle Building


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Bruce Lee Bodyweight and Height 
Bruce Lee was 5'7" and 145-147 lbs. He was 165 lbs at one point but felt it was too much muscle so he cut down to 145-147 lbs.

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