Why do most people believe that Bruce Lee training and workouts are shrouded in secrecy or are some kind of mystery?
It’s no secret that Bruce Lee training and workouts used a combination of weight lifting and isometrics to produce his incredible physique, power and strength. And it’s no secret that he had to stop using free weights, because of a back injury due to performing an exercise called Good Mornings.
Bruce Lee also used a combination of body weight exercises and a device called the Tensolator. But in reality it was a combination of isometrics and isotonic’s that yielded the best results.
Why use isometrics in the Bruce Lee training and workouts, even though all the newspapers and magazines of that day were saying that the results achieved through isometric exercise were not true, because it was discovered that the users were taking steroids?
Bruce Lee was no dope, he did his research, but he was influenced by Bob Hoffman. Hoffman, who owned the York Barbell Company and was the coach of the United States Olympic weightlifting team was a big proponent of isometric training. What swung Bruce Lee over was Hoffman’s position that strength was the most important quality in any sport or physical endeavor.
More strength, he reasoned, and the ability to effectively control that strength by practicing your sport would make it possible for the individual with more strength to outperform his competitor.
Bruce Lee knew this to be true. When two equally skilled individuals are matched up, the stronger of the two will always win!
Many people when they first hear about isometrics wonder how an exercise with no movement could produce results. Let’s take for example, a bicep curl. It takes about 2 seconds to curl the bar from your thigh to chin level. The hardest part of the exercises is not at the beginning or at the end but in the middle. This is where gravity or leverage causes the greatest difficulty, and the greatest muscle growth.
Unfortunately, the muscles are only in this position for a fraction of the second. With isometric contraction, the muscle would be held in this position for 10 to 12 seconds. So in theory, one isometric contraction would build as much muscle as 12 repetitions performed in the traditional way.
Bruce Lee felt that you needed to give 100% effort, to the isometric contraction, instead of the 60 or 70% that Drs. Hittinger and Muller in their 1950s report on isometrics concluded. Later on, the doctors realized that a 100%, isometric contraction held for just about one second yielded the same results. That was just one of the strengths, of the Bruce Lee training and workouts.