Bruce Lee's Isometric Workout

Bruce's basic isometric workout incorporates 8 different exercises. They build strength using positions from basic, large multi-joint lifts like the squat, bench press, and deadlift.

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Practice the workout 2-3 times a week, on off days from your normal strength training. Hold each position for just 6 - 12 seconds.

You'll get it done in around 15 minutes, but tensing with as much force as possible is the most important part of the routine. It seems short, but it works!

Bruce Lee, who used this isometric workout to build his strong body. This image was originally posted on Flickr by Peta-de-Aztlan.

Bruce Lee's Isometric Workout

This workout is the same one that Bruce Lee used to develop his impressive musculature. My source for this was The Art of Expressing the Human Body by Bruce Lee and John Little, an excellent book about Bruce's strength training.

Click HERE to download a PDF of this isometric workout. Just click and wait for it to download, or right-click and select 'Save Link As...'

1. Press Lockout

Set a bar in the power rack at about three inches below the position your arms would lockout in a bench press. Push up against the bar like you're doing a bench press, with your hands shoulder width grip.

2. Press Start

Set the bar at about chin altitude, right where the bar starts from, and push up against it like you're starting a bench press. Use the same body and hand position as in 1.

3. Rise on Toes

Place that bar at shoulder height (when standing) in the power rack. Tensing your body, get under the bar and push up by flexing your ankles and rising up on your toes.

4. Pull

Set the bar about six inches down from your hip altitude (while standing). Rise on your toes slightly and pull up on the bar with all your might!

5. Parallel Squat

Place the bar in the position it would be in at the bottom of your squat with your thighs parallel to the floor. Squatting down and getting your shoulders under the bar, push upward with your legs and butt.

6. Shoulder Shrug

Set the bar up in the power rack at hand altitude when your arms are fully extended downward. Grasping the bar with hands at shoulder width, shrug your shoulders upward as much as possible.

7. Dead-Weight Lift

Set the bar at about two inches below knee altitude. Bending over at the hip and bending your knees slightly, grasp the bar and pull upward as if you are in the middle of doing a deadlift.

8. Quarter Squat

Place the bar at about 4 inches below the altitude it would be at if it were on top of your shoulders, as if you were doing a squat. Get under the bar, as if your were about a quarter of the way down into your squatting position

From there, get the bar over your shoulders. Then, push upward with your thighs and glutes (butt muscles).

Getting It Done

It's a great workout with 8 basic isometric exercises. Now get out there to your gym and get ripped like Bruce!

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

• Click HERE to learn more about isometric exercise!


• Click HERE to leave 'Bruce Lee's Basic Isometric Workout' & go back to the Home-page!

Lee, Bruce, and John R. Little. 1998. The Art of Expressing the Human Body. Boston: C.E. Tuttle Co. Pp. 35-38.

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