When training for martial arts, you are told to avoid excessive bicep curls and other isolation movements. However, movements such as concentration curls and dumbbell kick-backs were an important part of Bruce Lee’s arm routines.
Why? What did Bruce Lee know that later sport-specific trainers failed to understand?
Well, Lee’s arms weren’t for show. They were the bi-product of the training he engaged in to develop functional strength. What Bruce Lee understood was that lifting heavy objects develops the potential for increased power.
So, first make your body strong, then add speed to the equation, and you’ve got explosive power. Bruce Lee didn’t just go to the gym and call it a day. He had two training sessions per day: one weight training, and one technique training. So, after he trained his arms hard, he took that increase strength and developed it into power by practicing his punches at a lightning fast pace.
Just how Strong were his Arms?
Saying that Bruce Lee was a strong guy is an understatement. Here are some of his amazing feats of strength:
- 50 1 arm chin ups.
- 50 1 arm push ups with only his thumb and index finger.
Get Crazy Pushing Strength!
Wanna be able to do that many one-arm pushups? Well, you’re first going to have to start building up those triceps. Here are three of Bruce Lee’s Top Triceps moves:
This movement is an isolation triceps movement, and is done with a barbell – either standing, or sitting. Grab the barbell about two-hand widths apart. Raise the bar over your head, and lower it behind your neck. Here’s a video for a better idea:
Triceps Raise (Barbell Kick-Back)
This is a strange looking exercise. It is basically a kick-back performed with a barbell. You start off with the barbell behind you so that it is touching the back of your thighs. Then, keeping you arms straight, left the barbell up, while bending forward, until the bar is parallel to the floor. Here’s what it looks like:
The final movement that Bruce Lee performed was the Dumbbell Kick-Back. This is a slightly easy to perform variation of the Barbell Kick-Back. Bruce used two dumbbells at the same time to perform this movement. However, the common execution today is one arm at a time:
How did Bruce Lee Train?
Now, when we actually look at this exercise, they’re not much different than what you see guys doing in the gym. And earlier I said that what gave him such explosive power was the fact that he combined his strength training with his martial arts practice.
However, the most important thing I noticed when studying his routines was that he trained his full body in a workout. He never trained only his arms in one session. He trained everything.
Even though Bruce Lee’s weight training sessions resembled typical bodybuilding training, he was able to maintain his athleticism because he did so much of everything else. Martial Artist Scott Sonnon has combined dumbbell training with athletic format training to bring you a program helps you build functional muscle with carryover to both sport and life. The name of the program is TacFit Mass Assault, and you can learn more about it here.