When you ask someone to imagine manliness they might see images of Dirty Harry, Lumberjacks, and outrageous beards. They might see themselves kicking major arse while saving a burning orphanage or rescuing that secret lover they’ve coveted for so long. And what manly fighter epitomizes annihilating the competition more than Bruce Lee? He might not be tall or have 200 lbs of muscle, but we know he could end a fight-and anyone’s life-in seconds. Limber guys like Bruce Lee aren’t usually on the Top 10 manliest men list. But Bruce Lee IS. And he earned his flexibility and legendary physique through intense devotion to refining his craft-his body. One thing that may be overlooked in developing fitness and physique like Lee is a good stretching routine.
Proof of stretching routine-Bruce Lee’s pin-point accuracy and extreme speed:
I just watched it again 10 times and counted: 2 kicks, 9-12 punches (I literally can’t count them), at least 3 trapping moves, and a two-handed shove. IN 5 SECONDS.
Benefits of Flexibility-Watch these insanely fast kicks:
Consider that sometimes Bruce Lee’s fight scenes were SLOWED DOWN so you could catch every punch and kick. How did he do move so quickly? It wasn’t just strength and fast-twitch muscle fibers. It was the flexibility and elasticity that afforded his body the ability to recoil an arm before blast-off to jettison it back out to smite his opponent like a piston.
Bruce Lee is regarded as the greatest on-screen martial arts talent ever to perform. He’s regarded my many as the greatest martial artist ever. Which I contend can’t be true since so many haven’t been filmed to be judged by the masses. Still, Bruce Lee is the man. He freaking created his own martial form. He’s the modern day inventor of mixed martial arts. Who before him was bringing together several martial arts, including wrestling and jiu jitsu, and cutting away the pomp, frills and wasted movement?
Here’s more stuff that Bruce Lee had accomplished that’ll napalm you’re brain:
- Lee’s striking speed from three feet with his hands down by his side reached less than one tenth of a second
- Although many martial art films are sped up, Lee’s striking were at times too fast to be captured on film at 24 FPS, necessitating many scenes to be shot in 32 FPS then slowed down so viewers could capture his movements.
- In a speed demonstration, Lee could snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
- Lee could perform push-ups using only his thumb and index finger
- Lee performed a side kick while training with James Coburn and broke a 150 lb heavy bag
- Lee could use one finger to leave dramatic indentations on pine wood
What to learn from Bruce Lee about stretching routines and increased flexibility:
- Stretch for at least 15 minutes a day.
- Bruce was a man of obsession and intensity. He was frequently exercising or stretching throughout the day.
- While on set he often continued his stretching routine while watching film to stay loose in between cuts.
- His regimen was to limber up at every opportunity. If you can’t find it within yourself to set aside 15 minutes for a stretching routine, do it while watching TV, getting up for a bathroom break at work, and especially before and after exercise.
- Moderation: Although he was a man of extremes, Bruce Lee wouldn’t encourage you to overstretch or bounce during your stretching routine.
- Overaggressive stretching can trigger a signal to the brain to protect (tighten) the muscle. If that muscle tightens while stretching you can pull or even worse, tear it.
- Get warm before you stretch.
- Something interesting about Bruce Lee is that he includes warming up and stretching before a fight in a number of his films. Including Enter the Dragon and Way of the Dragon. Right before he fights Chuck Norris in the latter film you can see some of this routine.
I searched long and hard for credible sources on what Bruce Lee would suggest as the best stretching routine. Here’s the best I found from Motley Health.
A Bruce Lee Stretching Routine to Increase Flexibility
- Seated Hamstring Stretch – stretches the rear thigh muscle
- Hurdlers Stretch – stretches the hamstrings and groin
- Seated Groin Stretch – opens the hips and stretches the groin and inner thighs
- Standing Hip Stretch – stretches the hip and buttocks
- Lunging Stretch – stretches the hips, buttocks and front thighs
- Thigh Stretch – stretches the large muscles on the front of the thighs
- Calf Stretch – stretches the back of the lower legs
- Lower Back Stretch – vital stretch to warm up the lower back before exercising.
- Side Stretch – stretches the muscles along the core
What do stretching routines and flexibility like Bruce Lee mean to a man? Having more fun with your kids, not throwing out your back while reaching down, you’ll be a little more ready to defend yourself in a bar fight, sleep better, prevent injury and recover faster from workouts.
Want to learn more about how Bruce Lee got his legendary physique? Or hear from Bruce directly about the martial art revolution he created? Check out these books.