Unlock Muscle Growth: Embrace the Power of the ‘Bro Split’ Workout

If building bigger muscles is your fitness goal, you’ve likely encountered the “bro split” workout. This routine involves training every major muscle group once a week so you can give each one your undivided attention and rev up the volume.

“Bro splits got their name from being associated with regular gym goers who didn’t approach training in a science or research-backed way,” explains Domenic Angelino, CPT at Trainer Academy. “Separating workouts by muscle group and training each muscle group once per week is what intuitively sounds like it’d make sense … It ended up becoming used to contrast against the more nuanced approach that professionals in the industry use when structuring and prescribing workout programs.

This method of training your muscles has mixed reviews; some swear by it, while others prefer embracing a more science-backed approach. Nevertheless, it’s important to remember that what matters at the end of the day is sticking to a workout you enjoy most, Angelino stresses.

Continue reading as we dive deeper into the bro split workout, its potential benefits, and a sample routine.

How do you structure a bro split?

As previously noted, the bro split calls for you to focus on each major muscle group once a week and then wait until the following week to resume training them. Bro splits are typically performed anywhere from three to six days per week.

“There’s an inverse relationship between the number of training days per week and the number of muscle groups trained in each workout,” explains Angelino. “If a bro split involves five to six training days, one to two muscle groups will be involved in each workout. If a bro split involves three training days, you can expect at least two muscle groups to be involved in each workout. The exact number, however, can vary.”

How can a bro split workout help you build bigger muscles?

man dumbbell bicep curl, concept of strength workouts for men to build bigger arms

Bro split workouts help fuel muscle growth due to the fact that you’re getting a lot of volume by focusing on individual muscle groups. “[In addition,] each workout gives a good number of sets and repetitions for that muscle group,” says ​​Jordan Fernandez, CPT at Trainer Academy. “Focusing on each area in a given workout provides substantial overload to drive muscle gains for that group.”

In addition, training the same muscle group back-to-back provides metabolic stress, which in turn promotes additional muscle growth. “It’s also easier for you to recover fully between each time you train the same muscle when on a bro split,” explains Angelino. “This can help you limit the amount of fatigue that carries over between workout weeks. Fatigue can hamper the amount of progress you can make in the long term. It can be helpful to use a bro split if you feel you’d otherwise struggle with recovering fully between sessions for reasons related to your lifestyle, which could help you build bigger muscles a bit more easily than some alternative training styles.”

Who is the bro split beneficial for?

buff man doing wide-grip pull-ups

Bro splits are typically recommended for and most effective for individuals who are already well-trained, Angelino tells us. “This is because that person will require greater training stimulus overall to continue building muscle,” he explains. “There’s a natural resistance to adaptation that comes with continued growth, so it takes more to continue making progress after a while. Someone like this could benefit from having a pretty high training volume in a given workout [as] you’d find in a bro split that focuses on one muscle group per day.”

The bro split workout receives mixed reviews.

Fitness enthusiasts and trainers alike provide mixed reviews about the bro split.

“Bro splits inherently involve you training muscles at a low frequency,” Angelino says. “This means that you only have one chance to apply a training stimulus to your muscles each week: one chance to give them a reason to grow. This is a bit limiting because research has found that generally providing your muscles with more frequent training stimulus, up to a point, will help them get bigger.”

Angelino believes it’s usually more productive to train your muscles more than just once a week. “[In addition,] there’s an upper limit to the amount of training stimulus you can apply to a muscle within a workout, at least in terms of what actually matters,” he adds. “It’s the same reason that people don’t spend all day in the gym. Once you’ve had an adequate training volume, doing more doesn’t help.”

TikTok user and fitness coach Akliftzz is a major advocate for the bro split, explaining in a video, “Is the bro split really holding ya’ll back? No, it’s not. Let’s say you’re doing the bro split, and you’re doing all [the right things]; you’re sleeping enough, you’re hydrated, you’re fueling your body properly, you are recovering, you are training hard, and you’re progressing in your movements over time. You are going to grow a lot more by doing the bro split than if you’re a science-based and you’re not doing all those other things right. It comes down to the fundamentals.”

Here’s a sample bro split workout:

middle-aged man doing barbell back squats

Angelino breaks down a sample bro split workout below.

Day 1: Legs

  • Barbell Back Squats (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Dumbbell Reverse Lunges (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Dumbbell Goblet Squats (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlift (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Leg Presses (3 sets, 12 reps)
  • Hamstring Curl Machine (3 sets, 12 reps)
  • Seated Calf Raise Machine (5 sets, 15 reps)

Day 2: Chest

  • Barbell Bench Presses (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Barbell Incline Bench Presses (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Wide Grip Weighted Chest Dips (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Smith Machine Decline Bench Presses (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Incline Chest Flyes (3 sets, 12 reps)
  • Low-To-High Cable Chest Flyes (3 sets, 12 reps)

Day 3: Back

  • Barbell Bent-over Rows (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Dumbbell One-arm Row (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Wide Grip Pull-ups (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Neutral Grip Pull-ups (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Rope Face Pulls (3 sets, 12 reps)
  • Dumbbell Reverse Flyes (3 sets, 12 reps)

Day 4: Shoulders

  • Standing Barbell Overhead Presses (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Standing Dumbbell Neutral Presses (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • L-Sit Dumbbell Presses (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Standing Kettlebell Overhead Presses (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Front Raises (3 sets, 12 reps)
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises (3 sets, 12 reps)

Day 5: Arms

  • Barbell Bicep Curls (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Barbell Skullcrushers (4 sets, 8 reps)
  • Dumbbell Hammer Curls (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Dumbbell Overhead Tricep Extensions (4 sets, 10 reps)
  • Reverse Cable Curls (3 sets, 12 reps)
  • Rope Tricep Pushdowns (3 sets, 12 reps)

Day 6: Rest

Day 7: Rest

Alexa Mellardo

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More