Enhance Your Strength and Explosiveness with Bruce Lee’s Isometric Routine

Bruce Lee Jump Kick
Have you ever done isometrics? Bruce Lee was a big fan of isometric training. It was something he did 2-3 times a week. Isometrics are an excellent way to develop strength, speed, explosiveness, endurance, body control, and postural strength. All these aspects are needed to enhance and improve your martial arts techniques. It certainly helped Bruce, and you will see significant improvements with your punching, kicking, and defense etc. as well.

What are Isometrics? 

Isometric training is a force generated against an immovable object. For instance, when you are pushing against a wall or trying to pull a car, of course, with the parking brake on, you can't. However, you can use isometrics in your strength training routine to strengthen your whole body as well as a muscle's specific range of motion. Isometrics lets you train at any angle possible using any implement. You can use something so simple as a rope.

Training different angles are essential to strength development because the force changes in each range from the bottom, middle, and top. During a full range of motion, you are never working 100% of the time. Let me explain

For example, the hardest part is not from the start or the finish during a chest press. Instead, in the lower to the middle part of the press at the isometric position, it produces the greatest amount of force. When you lower the weight, your isometric strength is needed to reverse the direction and push the weight up. As you move the weight up above the midline, the force of the movement begins to get easier to the start position. However, your muscles only remain in this lower-mid position for about a second or two. And this part of the movement is where explosiveness starts. So, if your isometric base is not strong, then speed and explosiveness will not be effective.

Isometrics are an excellent way to solve weaknesses and deficiencies in specific parts of a motion. The weakness in a particular part of the motion will cause you to cheat and compensate to finish the rep. In consequence, the muscle fibers will not become stronger because of compensating the movement.

Benefits of Isometrics

There are many excellent benefits to isometrics.

Enhances and improves the isometric part of your movement to be fast and explosive. The isometric portion of the movement is the platform for the explosiveness to occur. Think of it like bouncing a ball on the concrete or sand. Bouncing it on the concrete makes the ball bounce faster and higher. Also, with isometric training, your strength develops 15 degrees above and below the isometric point. For this reason, you only need to do 1-2 positions, but three works great!

Improved flexibility because of the PNF response in the isometric movement, meaning applying resistance to a stretch will improve flexibility.

Improved body control synchronizing all your muscles to fire at the same time with your nervous system.

Isometric positions can be adjusted to sticking points in the movement where there is weakness in a particular part of a range of motion.

Enhances and boosts the capacity and ability of the nervous system. This carries over into improving endurance.

Stimulates, activates, and strengthens postural muscles that improve alignment. Isometrics strengthens muscles that help to improve joint stability and mobility. If you have neck or any back, or lower back tension or pain, isometrics can help resolve them.

How to do Isometrics?

A good isometric routine consists of 3 parts of the movement. First, you will use maximal effort to lift or move a weight isometrically holding for 6-12 seconds. Then, you can choose the angles you want to train or where you feel weakest.

Bruce Lee’s Isometric Routine

Bruce Lee performed a simple isometric routine using eight different exercises. He completed each exercise once with maximum effort for 6-12 seconds.

Shoulder Press Lockout

Set the bar 3 inches below your lockout position, and then push upwards as hard as you can.

Press Start

Set the bar at chin level and push up as hard as you can.

Rise on Toes- Calf Raise

Set the bar in a position above your shoulders. Then rise on your toes and push the bar as hard as you can.

Full Body Pull

Set the bar about below waist level and pull it up as hard as you can, doing a calf raise simultaneously.

Parallel Squat

In the parallel position to the floor, push as hard as possible into the bar.

Shoulder Shrug

Position the bar or handles below your waist level, pull up with your shoulders, and trap as hard as possible.


Set the bar below your knees. With your feet shoulder-width apart and flat back, push as hard as you can with your hamstrings and back.

Quarter Squat

In the quarter squat position, push as hard as you can into the bar.

Here is a video of Bruce Lee's isometric routine.


You can modify your isometric exercise using specific martial arts techniques and movements. Look into your martial arts technique and see what needs improvement or train particular ranges of motion in your techniques. Or just do general training. In any event, you will feel the difference. One rep for each of the 1-3 motions is plenty, using 100% force for 6-12 seconds. The routine should only last 15-20 minutes.

I will show more isometric training exercises using resistance bands next month on my YouTube channel. Subscribe to get the notifications.


If you would like to know more about how to build strength instantly, check out my book.


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