Bruce Lee’s 3-Minute Workout



“The most important thing to me is, how, in the process of learning how to use my body, can I come to understand myself?”—Bruce Lee

I’m always looking for better ways to get rapid results and realize my physical potential.

Bruce Lee developed a great way to relieve stress from your body, while cultivating exceptional health and fitness benefits for your body, mind, and spirit.

It only takes 3-minutes and you can do it in bed.

Imagine a simple routine that you could do anytime, anywhere, from your bedroom, hotel room, or living room.

Overview of Bruce Lee’s 3-Minute Workout

It’s fast.  It’s simple.  It’s effective.  It won’t make you as lean, muscular, and powerful as Bruce Lee.  Lee had specific exercises for that.

Instead, it will help you kickstart your day, move your body, relieve stress, stretch your muscles, and practice your mindfulness while developing your mind-body connection.

The first four exercises are static contraction, where you hold the movement under tension by contracting your muscles.  The last two exercises you perform in the standard, non-static contraction way.

1. Full Body Stretch

Extend your arms and legs as far as you can and hold for 3 seconds, relax for 2.  Repeat that 5 times.

  • Perform 5 full body stretches.  Extend your legs as far as you can in one direction and reach your arms as far as possible in the opposite direction.  Maintain each stretch for 3 seconds and then relax for 2 seconds.

Total time: 25 seconds

2. Back arches

Arch your back pushing your hips towards the ceiling as high as you can.  Hold for 3 seconds, relax for 2.  Repeat 5 times.

  • Perform 5 back arches: Bend your legs until the backs of your thighs are just touching the backs of your upper calves, and then slowly push your hips upward toward the ceiling while simultaneously flexing your buttocks muscles and pushing gently with your legs.  Maintain each arch for 3 seconds and then relax for 2 seconds.

Total time: 25 seconds

3.  Leg tensing

Extend your legs as far as you can and tense them for 3 seconds, relax for 2.  Repeat 12 times.

  • Perform 12 leg tenses: Slowly extend your legs as far as you can, and then tighten the muscles of your thighs.  Maintain this fully contracted position for 3 seconds.

Total time: 60 seconds

4. Abdominal tensing

Suck in your gut, crunch your abs as tightly as you can.  Hold for 3 seconds, relax for 2.  Repeat 10 times.

  • Perform 10 abdominal tenses: Deliberately and fully contract your abdominal muscles in a manner similar to what you would do if (please forgive the imagery) you were having a bowel movement.  Maintain this maximal contraction for 3 seconds and then relax for 2 seconds.

Total time: 50 seconds

5. Sit-up touching toes

Lie flat on your back, extend your legs all the way, sit up and touch your toes.  Do this 5 times.

  • Perform 5 sit-ups touching toes: Simply place your back flat upon your mattress with your legs fully extended in front of you and your arms extended behind your head.  Now, slowly raise your torso, reaching forward with your hands until they come into contact with your toes.  Hold this position briefly, and then return to the starting position.

Total time: 10 seconds

6. Bent leg raises

Lie flat on your back, raise your legs up toward your chest.  Do this 5 times.

  • Perform 5 bent leg raises.  Place your back flat upon your mattress with your arms outstretched behind your head.  Slowly bend your legs and draw them up toward your chest, pausing briefly once they have been drawn as far back as possible.  Return your legs to the starting position.

Total time: 10 seconds

Your Strength Comes from Your Core

The abs have it.  By working on your core, you build your strength from the inside out, and if you’re really good, you work on your Chi (life force), too.

Bruce Lee placed considerable emphasis on the abdominal region, considering it to be the most important area to keep fit and healthy.  In a newspaper interview in the early 1960’s, Lee commented:

‘My strength comes from my abdomen.  It’s the center of gravity and the source of real power.’”

The Power of Static Contractions

The power of static contractions is that you can do them anywhere, anytime, at your own pace with no dependency on any equipment, gym fees, or special physical abilities.

The barrier to entry is low and the rewards are high, and you get out of it, what you put into it.

Static contractions are simply contracting your muscles and holding the tension.

They are convenient and you can do them anywhere.  For example, nobody stops you from working out your abs, the next time you are in a long, boring meeting.  Simply contract your abs and practice increasing your ability to tense them.  A lot of Pilates practitioners are masters of this move.

  • Bruce Lee place a high premium on the value of static contraction exercises not only recommending it specifically for his students but also incorporating it into his own training.  It is certainly one of the easiest answers for anybody who is looking for a more convenient way to be physically fit
  • Anyone from child to senior citizen, can benefit from Lee’s program of static contraction exercises, and in terms of convenience, it’s truly a method of exercise that has no peer–all it takes is a total of three minutes a day! 
  • Another convenience factor is that these simple exercises can be performed anywhere and at any time (you can do them in your bedroom, hotel room, or living room)–and under almost any conditions.”

No Excuses

There are always reasons to argue why you don’t have time, or it’s too complicated, or you can’t afford it.

But a 3-minute workout that helps you move better, breathe better, be better, is tough to dismiss.

  • Lee’s personal program of static contraction requires no real skill to speak of.  It doesn’t take much practice, and, in fact, it’s one of those rare activities that you actually can do well the very first time
  • It is also a private activity, and like running (of which Lee was also ardent devotee), the competition, so to speak, is against only yourself.  The sessions are short, and the results are quick to reveal themselves. 
  • There exists no need to change into expensive workout clothing, and there are no fancy exercise machines you need to purchase, not any hefty membership fees to lay out to join the local health club. 
  • As for the time investment, nothing has yet to compare with the simple and yet highly effective form of exercise, as, again, only three minutes of exercise performed every morning will increase your overall health to a remarkable degree.”
  • If you can’t invest 3-minutes in yourself before you start your day, something is wrong.  You can’t take care of other people, or function effectively, if you can’t even take care of yourself.

The better you take care of yourself, the better you can serve others, and realize your potential.