Sunday, 27 January 2013


written by Ed Wong


Teaching combatives and functional fitness has allowed me the privilege to do seminars both locally and internationally. It seems wherever I go, two common question are always asked, “How do I train on a budget?!” and “How is it possible to train with time constraints?!” I am going to attempt to answer both questions with the same answer.

Being a student of Jesse Glover (Bruce Lee’s First student and assistant instructor in America). I had a chance to get an in depth look into Bruce Lee’s training and fighting methods .Jesse was Bruce’s training dummy ,friend and colleague when he lived in Seattle and studied at the University of Washington. This allowed Jesse to have full access to the “Dragon” every minute 7 days a week .In this regard, I consider Jesse one of the most knowledgeable men regarding Bruce Lee’s personal training regime and combative tactics. Bruce was a fanatic when it came to training. Bruce would train whenever he had a chance. According to Jesse, if it was at school, he would place his palms underneath the desk and push upward or place his fist against the back of a chair at the movies and push forward. In both situations he is contracting and tensing every muscle fiber, tendon and ligament and holding the positions for either a few seconds to a minute.
Bruce was doing one of the most efficient exercises for everyone.
Enter the Isometrics!

Bruce was doing one of the most efficient exercises for all athletes.
Isometric exercises are defined as force applied to a resistant object. They have a part to play in a number of programs for muscle strengthening. A typical example is pushing against a brick wall. Although there is a build up of tension in the muscles there is no actual movement. But your entire body’s musculature, tendons and ligaments are firing into the pressing movement. This will build strength and increase muscle tone. The proof is in the pudding, all you have to do is look at Bruce Lee’s physique.
To increase strength it is necessary to maintain a position in any one exercise for between 6 to 30 seconds. The exercise should then be repeated 5 to 10 times, each time ensuring maximum muscular contraction. Its very important to tense your entire body at 100 percent and contract your entire body all from your toes to your neck and everything in between to reap the full benefits of isometrics.
A number of important points regarding isometric exercise need to be emphasized:
1. Any one isometric exercise will only increase muscle strength at one joint angle. To strengthen the other joint positions requires repetition of further corresponding exercises.
2. Isometric exercises on their own are not recommended for strength training. They must only form part of a complete exercise program.
3. If you suffer from heart disease or raised blood pressure you should consult your physician before attempting any exercise. During muscular contractions in this form of exercise, blood pressure can rise quite profoundly.
Isometrics is time well spent. It provides some basic strengthening of the muscles, therefore prepping you to be able to start some type of exercise regime. It also a great “accent item” to your current training program.
Plus it’s very economical. Economy to me is defined as saving time and energy. Isometrics can be done anywhere, anytime and any place. There is also no need for equipment.
The amount of exercise you can do is endless and only limited by your imagination. I have provided some sample exercises.

Punching Isometric: Stand 1 foot in front of a wall, raise both arms and place both fists against the wall –shoulder width apart. Look straight ahead and apply pressure forward with 100 percent intensity. Contract your entire body and push from the ground with your feet, to the legs, up to through the back, chest, into your arms finally into the fists. Hold the position for 6 -10 seconds for 10 sets.

Single leg Isometric: Stand 1.5 feet from a wall, raise your leg and place your entire foot on the wall-toes facing up, keep a slight bend in the knee. Keep both hands up and makes a fist, tense and contract your entire body ,push forward into the wall with both legs. Think about pushing your foot through the wall. Hold the position for 6-10 second for 10 sets per leg.

Body Isometric: Stand perfectly still; head up and feet shoulder width apart. All you need to do is tense your entire body and hold the contraction for 6-10 second for 10 sets.

Desk Isometric: Sit close to your desk, place both palms facing up underneath your desk and exert upward pressure. Hold for 6-10 seconds for 10 sets.

In fighting you always want to do the most damage in the least amount of time. If we take that same idea to our training than your spending your time training for more efficiently, leaving the rest of your day for other things that complete our well being.
Isometrics provides you with maximum effect in a short period of time. Who wouldn’t want to lose weight, gain lean muscle mass, improve fighting ability and increase flexibility in 10 seconds.

Stay safe and stay healthy-Ed Wong
I would like to dedicate this article to my teacher, Jesse Glover

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