Bruce Lee, the Martial Arts Legend on Abdominal Training

Bruce Lee’s Ab Workouts

Bruce Lee’s abdominal muscles were chiseled and exceptional. They were very well defined, well developed, and strong. Lee followed some simple rules to ensure that his abs stayed in great shape. 

The main rules are:
Diet is the most important thing when building abs. Learn how to eat in order to build muscle and keep off fat. A high protein and low simple carbs approach is a great way to build muscle and lose fat.
Losing fat is the second key. If you have a layer of fat over your abs you will never see them unless you combine good nutrition with training.
Work your abs like any other muscle. Modify exercises constantly so you don’t stagnate.
Bruce Lee taught that “abdominal exercises never reduce the waist.”

Bruce Lee's Abs Tips:
Bruce Lee himself often used to comment on how he trained his abs. In doing so he helped other people build their own. Bruce learned how to build abs from champion bodybuilders and spent many years perfecting the art of abdominal development. He believed that the abs were vital to provide balance and core strength in the body.
“The abdominal and waist region coordinate all parts of the body and act as the center of generator. Therefore, you can promote the ability to control the body’s action and master your will more easily.” Bruce Lee.

One of the best tips that he offered, which has been tried and tested by many over the years, is that you should always curl your body up as if rolling up a newspaper when doing a crunch.
Do not sit up and down like a see-saw, but curl your upper body up starting with your head, then neck, then chest. Keep your abdominals engaged (tensed) and your attention focused on them at all times. Do not simply go through the motions.

Lee concentrated on five exercises for stomach and abdominal development. He found that these were the best exercises to help build and maintain his perfect six-pack abs. He would also only perform 1-3 different exercises on any one day, and very rarely, perform all five in the same session or on the same day.

Bruce Lee’s 5 Favorite Abdominal Exercises:
Waist twists – 4 sets of 90 repetitions
Sit-up twists – 4 sets of 20 repetitions
Leg raises – 4 sets of 20 repetitions
Leaning twists – 4 sets of 50 repetitions
Frog kicks – 4 sets of 50 repetitions
Bruce's additional favourite Ab Exercises:
Roman chair sit-up
Leg raises (excellent for the lower abs)
Side bends

References and Resources:
The Art of Expressing the Human Body
“Warm Marble – The Lethal Physique of Bruce Lee” by John Little”
“From Icon to Lifestyle, the Marketing of Bruce Lee” A New York Times piece on Bruce Lee.

Susan Arruda