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A Champion Rock Climber Tried Bruce Lee's Grueling Training Program

Men's Health logo Men's Health 6 days ago Philip Ellis
a man standing in front of a mirror posing for the camera: In a new YouTube video, professional climber Magnus Midtbø tries the strength-building circuit workout of action movie legend Bruce Lee. © YouTube In a new YouTube video, professional climber Magnus Midtbø tries the strength-building circuit workout of action movie legend Bruce Lee.

In his latest video, professional climber and YouTuber Magnus Midtbø takes on the workout that martial arts movie legend Bruce Lee used to maintain his strong, lean physique. "Bruce Lee was able to do a lot of amazing stuff, and pound-for-pound I think he was one of the strongest people to ever live," he says. "It's kind of similar to the physique you want in climbing; he's light, he's strong."

Lee reportedly credited the routine (which he did 3 times a week) with maintaining his strength, without building too much muscle that would interfere with the agility or mobility needed for martial arts. The circuit workout consists of 2 rounds of 8 exercises, with 1 minute of rest in between each set. "A lot of these exercises I haven't even heard of," says Magnus. Here's the workout in full:

  • 8-12 x clean and press
  • 8-12 x barbell curl
  • 8-12 x behind the neck press
  • 8-12 x upright row
  • 12-20 x barbell squat
  • 8-12 x barbell row
  • 8-12 x barbell bench press
  • 8-12 x barbell pullover
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Magnus completes 2 sets each of all 8 exercises in around 20 minutes; faster than he expected. "That's probably why [Lee] did it 3 times a week, this was just on top of all the other training I assume," he says. Upon finishing the routine, he sees some potential benefits for climbers who might be interested in incorporating some of these exercises into their own training.

"I definitely feel like I'm using muscles I've never used before," says Magnus. "I don't know if this will be beneficial for climbing, but it could be very good antagonist training. In climbing we pull down all the time, but it's good to do some antagonist training as injury prevention. If it can help you stay away from injuries, it's definitely a good thing."

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