The Ultimate Guide to Training Splits – Part 1

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A1Supplements Training Splits Bro SplitsWhat’s the best workout program?

This question has been asked in gyms and bodybuilding forums more times that you probably care to know. People are always searching for that one program that’s going to unlock their untapped potential and unleash a torrent of epic gains in size and strength. They believe that there’s got to be a better program out there, and the reason they’re not making the gains they want is because they aren’t using the perfect training split.

Well, we’re here to help.

We’ve got a series of articles that are going to explain all of the various training splits including:

  • Bro splits
  • Upper / Lower splits
  • Full body
  • Push / Pull / Legs
  • PHAT
  • And many more.

Today, we’re going to focus on the training split many of you here are probably using — the bro split.

Before we get to the inner workings of the bro split, let’s go over some ground rules about training programs in general.Rules for Training Splits

  1. There is no one perfect split for all lifters.

    Understanding this is crucial to your success in weight lifting. There is no one perfect workout for every athlete all the time. Goals change, lifestyles change, interests change. What may be the right program for you now may be the wrong one for you two years from now.

    Remember that fitness is a journey, and with that comes the understanding that you’ll have to grow and adapt along the way, which inevitably means changing up your workout routine from time to time.

    The bottom line is that when it comes to training, find the split that motivates you to push yourself and get in the gym and crush the weights!

  2. Consistency

    No matter how great or perfect a workout routine may seem, it’s not going to build any muscle if you aren’t consistent. To make gains, you have to be willing to put in the work day in and day out, year after year.

  3. Evolve

    As you mature in your lifting career, so will your training. While you may start with bro splits, you may move onto upper/lower splits, and then onto full body workouts later in life. Add and subtract from your training as you progress, failure to evolve, will result in failure to continue building muscle and strength.

  4. Be Smart

    A workout routine is no good if it gets you pushes your body too far, impairing your ability to recover sufficiently, or worse, gets you injured in the process. Just because some elite drug-fueled pro bodybuilder made gains on a particular workout doesn’t mean it’s the right program for you.

    Part of training is knowing your limits and knowing how much you can push past them and what your body can handle.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get onto the Bro Split!A1Supplements Training Splits Bro SplitsWhat is a Bro Split?

Also known as the “body part” split, the bro split involves segmenting your training days to focus solely on one major muscle group. A common example of the bro split is:

  • Monday — Chest
  • Tuesday — Back
  • Wednesday — Legs
  • Thursday — Shoulders
  • Friday — Arms

Now, technically arms consists of two muscle groups (biceps and triceps), but they’re so small compared to the other major muscle groups that working them together on a single day won’t hurt your gains. Quite the opposite in fact, as you can get a sick arm pump by training the two muscle groups of the arm back to back!

As you can see, the bro split approach to training involves organizing your workouts based on which muscle group or groups you want to train. FYI, skipping leg day isn’t an option!

Now, bro splits can be grouped any number of ways, allowing you to train every day or only 4 days per week. Here are a few examples of ways to organize the bro body part split:Option #1

  • Monday — Chest
  • Tuesday — Back
  • Wednesday — Legs
  • Thursday — Shoulders
  • Friday — Arms
  • Saturday — OFF
  • Sunday — OFF

Option #2

  • Monday — Chest & Triceps
  • Tuesday — Legs
  • Wednesday — Back & Biceps
  • Thursday — OFF
  • Friday — Shoulders
  • Saturday — OFF
  • Sunday — OFF

Option #3

  • Monday — Chest & Biceps
  • Tuesday — Off
  • Wednesday — Back & Triceps
  • Thursday — Off
  • Friday — Legs
  • Saturday — OFF
  • Sunday — OFF

Option #4

  • Monday — Chest & Back
  • Tuesday — Off
  • Wednesday — Shoulders & Triceps
  • Thursday — OFF
  • Friday — Biceps & Legs
  • Saturday — OFF
  • Sunday — OFF

As you can see, there’s a multitude of ways that you can set up your body part split, depending on which muscle groups you like to train together or how much time you have allotted on certain day for training. On days when you’re crunched for time, it might be best to do arms, whereas a day that’s more relaxed you can save for legs, as it usually takes the most amount of time (or it should at least). Ultimately a bro split boils down to training a muscle group with a lot of volume one time per week and then allowing it to rest for the rest of the week.Pros of the Bro Split

Bro splits are appealing to the guys who like to be in the gym as frequently as possible. They’re also ideal for those who love to train a muscle until it’s completely and utterly broken down and won’t contract a single time more. If that sounds like the way you enjoy training, then the bro split is for you.

Another advantage of the bro split is that it allows you to maximize the number of compound and isolation lifts you can use to target a certain muscle group. Unlike full body workouts or upper lower splits, you don’t have to divide up your daily volume across multiple muscle groups, you can focus all of your effort and strength into on single group of muscles.

Finally, bro splits can also be time efficient. Even though you’re in the gym for 4-6 days per week, when you’re only training one muscle group, you’re not going to be in there for 2 hours only working a single muscle group. Chances are you can get everything you need to do accomplished in as little as 30-45 minutes, cooldown included!A1Supplements Training Splits Bro SplitsCons of the Bro Split

One of the drawbacks to the bro split is its low frequency approach to training. While you are hitting it with a lot of volume on one day, you’re not doing much else with it the rest of the week. Research has shown the training a muscle group multiple times per week is superior for muscle growth than training it fewer times per week.

If you’re a newbie to the gym and not familiar with the standard barbell lifts, bro splits may not allow you enough frequency to get comfortable with the lifts.

Another thing to consider is that bro splits really take a beating if you miss a workout due to illness, injury, or schedule conflicts. Missing one day means you’re not working that muscle again at all, meaning it’s two weeks in between workouts — not exactly ideal for optimal gains.

Are Bro Splits Effective For Building Muscle?

Bro splits have come under fire recently in the bodybuilding community as being a “waste of time” for natural lifters looking to build muscle and strength. Now, let’s be clear, for the novice trainee a bro split is not the most efficient way for them to build size, but by no means is it a “waste of time.”Yes, you’re only working a muscle group once per week, which we know is inferior to training it multiple times per week, but still, just because it’s “inferior” doesn’t mean a bro split can’t work for building muscle.Sure, a bro split may not be “optimal”, but if a lifter enjoys following a bro split and they are consistent with their training and use the principles of progressive overload, then can (and will) make gains, assuming proper nutrition and rest.

Could you be missing out on some untapped gains by not training a muscle group more frequently, probably so, but you’re not at risk of losing muscle by following a bro split (unless you skip leg day that is!).

At the end of the day, part of weightlifting is selecting a training program that suits your lifestyle. A program that is conducive to your schedule and one that you enjoy doing and attack with enthusiasm is much more likely to produce gains that some “perfect” workout routine developed to sell books.Nutrakey



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