How strong was Bruce Lee?

Sure, Bruce Lee was fast, and agile, and the most universally revered martial arts star in history. But how strong was he? Regardless of the man's combat prowess, he was still an extremely slight guy — a stick figure in a yellow jumpsuit, if you will. 

Turns out, he was pretty heckin' strong! As Martial Tribes attests, Lee didn't focus on gaining big muscles, but rather on muscle contraction and fine-tuning the nerves that control the muscles. As such, he was capable of releasing tremendous amounts of "twitch muscle" power in short bursts. While sheer physics prevented his 5'8 frame from bench-pressing elephants, his intense training and sheer force of will still bestowed him with incredible strength. He was built like a gymnast, had little body fat, and while he was no body builder, he was extremely muscular in the places that fit his needs — for instance, his lats were so massive that they actually stretched to his sides. 

As such, Lee could perform feats of strength that are usually well out of reach for a man his height and weight. Reportedly, he was known a hold a 75-pound weight "horizontally in one arm," and do 50 one-armed chin-ups. Let's see the world's strongest man — or, for that matter, anyone — do that. 

How did Bruce Lee become so strong?

Some bodybuilders bulk up to become powerful-looking. As CNN tells us, Bruce Lee did the opposite: He became strong by deliberately making himself lean and lithe. He turned his body into a compact package of power and prowess by following an absolutely "fanatical" training program, choking down raw meat smoothies and vitamin supplements for sustenance. He was a bodybuilder, in a sense, but the body he built was the original lean, mean fighting machine. As a result, Lee was capable of doing push-ups with only two fingers and delivering a devastating one-inch punch that, as Popular Mechanics reports, has inspired actual scientists to study how a punch that strong can be thrown in the first place. So, yeah. While he might not have been able to lift trucks (as far as we know), we think it's fair to say that he was a strong, strong dude.