Are you getting the most out of your workout routine?
Studies show that changing up your workouts keeps your muscles surprised and ensures that they continue to grow and strengthen… but, when you’ve tried a number of different movements, what else should you do?
Well, if you’re looking to switch up your workout routine but you’re not sure what to try, changing up your weekly split (which body parts you target and when) can be a great idea.
There are a number of ways to split your training and each comes with its own pros and cons.
The bro split was originally considered to be the best training split out there but these days there are many alternatives…
So, is it worth coming back to basics with the bro split? In this article we explore the pros and cons…
What Is a Bro Split?
Put simply, a bro split is where you focus on one body part per day.
A popular example of the bro split is as follows:
Monday: Back. Key movements: rowing-based movements, pull ups, chin ups
Tuesday: Chest. Key movements: press ups, TRX flys, chest dips
Wednesday: Quads/Hamstrings. Key movements: squats, lunges, single leg deadlift
Thursday: Shoulders/Calves. Key movements: decline push ups, calf raises, handstand press up
Friday: Biceps/Triceps. Key movements: tricep dips, inverted row, TRX curl
Saturday: Rest Day
Sunday: Rest Day
The theory behind this is that you can really focus on each muscle group and you will then have 6 days rest before training it again.
Because of this, your workouts when doing the bro split tend to be a bit longer and more intense, with more reps and sets.
Pro’s Of The Bro Split:
- It’s easy. You don’t have to put too much planning into your workouts, you’ll still get your two rest days in and you’re unlikely to forget which body part you’re supposed to be focusing on each session. This can have a great impact on keeping motivation levels up too.
- When you have been training for a while, whether this has been with calisthenics or weight training, your muscles will begin to require around 4-6 days rest. The bro split provides you with the rest needed to go into every workout and give it your all.
- By training each body part just once a week, you are able to increase the intensity of your exercises and, ultimately, make progress. In calisthenics, what this means is that you are more likely to be able to complete advanced moves more quickly.
- It can be a more efficient way to work out. When you’re working out specific muscles, you only really need to warm up these muscles rather than ensuring that your whole body is completely warmed up.
- Bro splits allow you to work out more intuitively. You are able to focus on what feels right as you work out each body part, rather than thinking of multiple muscle groups at once. This can also improve that mind to muscle engagement which is important to improving your strength and gaining muscle.
Con’s Of The Bro Split:
- It isn’t time efficient for building muscle or increasing strength. Unless you have been training for a great number of years, frequency is often key to making progress with strength or hypertrophy. By following the bro split and only focusing on one muscle group at a time, you are not pushing your muscles as much as you could. If you are looking to gain a lot of strength or muscle in a short space of time, intensity is important and this is best achieved by working muscle groups at least twice a week. Since, as a rule, muscles tend to recover within 2-3 days, you can afford to work out this often without risking injury.
- You may not stay as lean. Full body training splits tend to increase your metabolism and by focusing on a bro split based routine, it may not be as easy for you to stay shredded and lean.
- You can’t afford to skip a workout. No matter how motivated you are, sometimes the day just isn’t long enough… Sometimes deadlines take over and you don’t get to fit in your workout for the day. The problem with the bro split is that it really doesn’t allow for you to have to skip a day’s workout without your whole routine becoming out of kilter.
- Many people find push/pull based splits to be easier to plan for. Whilst, in theory, a bro split is easy to construct, many calisthenics moves in fact work multiple groups and it can be difficult to work out where they should fit into your split. If you are new to calisthenics, it might be better to stick to a split that allows you to pair movements and to get the most out of each workout in this way.
So, overall, would we recommend the bro split workout routine?
Yes… but it depends.
Like anything in the world of fitness, it depends on your current fitness level, on your goals and on your preferences.
If you are looking for a maximal intensity split that will allow you to increase in strength or gain muscle quickly, you should focus on full body or push/pull splits.
If, though, you like the idea of really focusing on one muscle group, on improving mind to muscle connection and progressing through the more advanced calisthenics moves week on week, the bro split workout routine has many benefits.
If you’re new to calisthenics training, you may find it slightly more difficult to plan for your work outs with the bro split routine.
On the other hand, if you’ve been training for a number of years, your muscles likely require 4-6 days of recovery and the bro split could be an ideal way to work out.
So, take your time when reading this article and planning your split to see what might work best for you…
And maybe bookmark this page to return to when you’re ready to switch up your routine.
Chris is an experienced Calisthenics practitioner focused on isometric exercises and street workout. He founded thehybridathlete.com in 2017, which was subsequently acquired by theyhybridathlete.com
He is based in Portland and has been working out using solely his own body weight and bars for the past 6 years.