The gym card appears to show Lee’s training on May 27, 1965. It was primarily focused on his arms, notably his biceps, with a few routines dedicated to his triceps.
The complete flow Lee wrote in his gym card at Hak Keung Gymnasium in Hong Kong, which he reportedlyvisited three times a week in 1965, was as follows:
Squat x three sets x 95 pounds (43 kilograms) x 10 repetitions (or reps)
French Press 1 x four sets x 64 pounds (29 kilograms) x six reps
Incline Curl x four sets x 35 pounds (15.8 kilograms) x six reps
French Press 2 x four sets x 64 pounds (29 kilograms) x six reps
“Con” Curl (or Concentration Curl) x four sets x 35 pounds (15.8 kilograms) x six reps
Push Up x three sets x 70 to 80 pounds (31.7 to 36.28 kilograms) x 10 reps
Two Hand Curl x three sets x 70 to 80 pounds (31.7 to 36.28 kilograms) x eight reps
Triceps Stretch x three sets x three pounds (1.36 kilograms) x eight or six reps
Dumbbell Circle x four sets x 16 pounds (7.2 kilograms) x infinite reps or until failure
Reverse Curl x four sets x 64 pounds (29 kilograms) x six reps
Wrist Curl 1 x four sets x 64 pounds (29 kilograms) x until failure
Wrist Curl 2 x four sets x 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) x until failure
In addition to those routines, Lee also added sit-ups with 12 reps and calf raises with 20 reps for five sets each using his body weight.
The French press — not a coffee maker — is a type of exercise thattargets the triceps muscle group. Another term used for this exercise is called the standing skull crusher.
Lee’s gym card came from an excerpt from his notes, which was later edited into the book “The Art of Expressing the Human Body” by John Little.
Some reports relay that the widely circulating routine was not his complete regimen, as this only targeted his arm muscle groups without working out his back or chest muscles. In today’s terms, this routine could be considered as Lee’s “arms day,” according toThe Bioneer.
Lee’s exercise routine went through two evolutions throughout the years that incorporated simpler exercises.
The first set of changes involved almost identical sets and repetitions of two sets and eight to 12 reps for clean and press, barbell curls, behind-the-neck presses, upright rows, barbell row, bench press and barbell pullover. The only exception to this routine was the barbell squats, which Lee did for two sets with 12 to 20 reps.
After 10 years, Lee reportedly changed it again to as follows:
Clean and Press x two sets x eight reps
Squat x two sets x 12 reps
Barbell Pullover x two sets x eight reps
Bench Press x two sets x six reps
Good Morning x two sets x eight reps
Barbell Curl x two sets x eight reps
According to reports, Lee used the latter training program to tone his body for the movies “The Big Boss” (1971) and “Way of the Dragon” (1972).
In addition to the past weightlifting programs, Lee also started using theperipheral heart action (PHA) training method, a set of exercises developed by a former Mr. America, Bob Gajda, in the 1960s.
Lee reportedly learned this method while reading Iron Man, one of his favorite magazines about bodybuilding, weightlifting and powerlifting.
The late martial arts star used the philosophy of PHA, a full-body circuit that maintains blood circulation throughout the body instead of focusing on a single muscle or muscle group.
Some of the benefits of using the PHA method include burning off body fat, maintaining muscle mass and strength and improving cardiovascular fitness, such as the heart and lungs.
Here is what Lee used for this exercise routine without taking breaks in-between them:
Pull-up for 30 seconds
Seated Leg Press for 30 seconds
Bilateral Alternative Hip/Knee Extensions for 30 seconds
Shoulder Press for 30 seconds
Standing Calf Raise by using shoulder press for 30 seconds
Alternating Cable Curl for 30 seconds
Standing Unilateral Arm Adduction for 30 seconds
Bench Press for 30 seconds
Regular Deadlift for 30 seconds
Kneeling Pull Down Behind Neck for 30 seconds
Triceps Push Down for 30 seconds
Sprint for 1 1/2 minutes
Standing Wrist Roller for one minute
and Neck Flexion/Extension for one minute
Lee also continued honing his martial art skills alongside his weightlifting and cardio exercises.
Some of his routines include training for punching, kicking and practicing on a wooden dummy, which all consisted of three sets with varying repetitions. He also listed a couple of stretching exercises, such as forward and side stretches for three sets with 12 repetitions each, and mentioned that he also practiced his Sil Lum Tao, hand techniques and Wing Chun fist forms.
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