He died long before the days of Swiss balls, fat burners, or elliptical trainers. Yet to this day, Bruce Lee’s picture-perfect abs continue to draw the envy of elite bodybuilders.
Lee knew better than anyone that in order for him to jump, punch, and kick butt, he needed a rock solid core. Not only that, but Lee was an avid fitness model and nutrition buff that was well ahead of his time.
Here’s how Bruce was able to sculpt his world-famous washboard abs:
You’ve probably heard that it’s best to work your abs once per week, 8-12 reps, 3-4 sets. If alive today, Lee would have none of that.
Lee did upwards of 90 reps per set –every day. But that was just the beginning of his unorthodox training routine: he would rather back down in a fight than do set after set of boring old sit-ups.
According to his biography, here are a few of the exercises that he incorporated into his core-building routine:
- Frog Kicks
- Twists of all sorts (crunching twists, side to side twists, and seated twists)
- Leg raises while resting shoulders on bench (yes, he was upside-down)
All of those twists sculpted his obliques that many find difficult to target.
The lesson from this is not to necessary do 90 reps per day, but to think outside the box regarding your abs routine. Instead of sticking with the dogmatic 8-12 rep range, mix it up with reps into the 20s and 30s. This kind of variety whips a bored muscle into shape!
To shed stubborn belly fat, Lee had a religious cardio conditioning routine.
His favorite forms of cardio were running and pumping away on a stationary bike. But unlike most gym-goers, he didn’t sit idly on the bike while reading last month’s issue of GQ. He was an avid fan of interval training –alternating sprints with jogging and heavy peddling with light.
Sure enough, new research supports the fact that interval training is more effective at trimming chubby bellies than steady-state cardio.
It’s been said that 6-packs are made in the kitchen, and Lee knew that as well as anyone. Although not a vegetarian, the emphasis of Lee’s diet was fresh fruits and vegetables. When he did eat meat, it was lean meat like chicken and fish.
Take a page out of Lee’s book and ensure that the basis of your diet is fresh, unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, and lean meats.
Maybe you’ll never be able to achieve Lee’s famous “1 inch punch”, but with abs like his, you probably won’t care.