Bro splits are heavily used in the bodybuilding industry due to their simplicity and ability to quickly maximize hypertrophy and strength effects.
Based on my experience as a coach and 25-hour research, I produced what I believe is the best bro split routine for building muscle and increasing strength over time.
My team tested the whole workout routine, and I, so you can rest assured the effects are as we mentioned in the article, and the program is injury-free.
After reading the article, you will know how to implement this bro split routine into your weekly schedule and progress each following workout for even greater gains.
- The best Bro Split Workout Plan involves a five-day routine targeting different major muscle groups to maximize muscle growth and strength.
- Bro splits are a popular workout tactic in bodybuilding, dividing the weekly workload into separate days to ensure ample recovery and concentrated focus on individual muscle groups.
- For beginners, it's advisable to stick to bodyweight exercises to avoid the risk of entering the overtraining syndrome too quickly, as recommended by Sports Health.
- In my opinion, a well-structured bro split workout routine can be highly effective for maximizing muscle growth and strength gains over time.
Bro Split Workout Routine
If you seek to hit one muscle group with sufficient volume weekly, you must start with a bro split routine, according to the Einstein .
As someone who's been in the fitness game for years, I know the value of a well-structured workout routine.
However, if you are still a beginner, you may want to stick to the bodyweight exercises since you may enter the overtraining syndrome rather quickly, according to the Sports Health .
In addition, to maximize muscle growth with this training split, you must incorporate basic principles of progressive overload .
You must increase the reps, sets, external resistance, or total training volume each following workout.
Below you can find the entire 5-day bro split to increase the muscle-building effect of all major muscle groups.
"Whether your goal is to build muscle and burn fat, get stronger, or become more athletic, you need to know what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. And an essential step in formulating a thoughtful training plan is choosing the right workout split. "
- Ben Pollack, Certified Personal Trainer
Day 1: Chest
The chest day focuses on targeting muscles such as the pectoralis major (all fibers), anterior deltoid, and triceps brachii.
Here is the entire workout:
- Barbell bench press - Perform 4 sets for 5-8 reps and rest for 2-5 minutes before you recover and begin the following set.
- Dumbbell incline bench press - Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps and rest for 3 minutes before starting the following set.
- Lean away dumbbell lateral raise - Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps and rest for two minutes between each set.
- Cable flys - Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps and rest for 90 seconds between the sets for maximal hypertrophy results.
- Dips - Perform 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for 2 minutes between each set to allow for sufficient recovery time.
- Push-ups - Complete 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for 90 seconds between the sets
Related: Best Chest Fat Burning Exercises
Day 2: Back
The back day focuses on targeting muscles such as latissimus dorsi, erector spinae, trapezius, and posterior deltoid muscles.
Here is the entire back workout:
- Deadlift - Perform 4 sets of up to 5 reps and rest for 5 minutes before starting the following set.
- Lat pulldown - Complete 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
- Bent over row - Perform 3 sets for 8-10 reps and rest for 2 minutes between each set.
- Single leg deadlift - Complete 3 sets of 10-12 reps and rest for 3 minutes between each set.
- Inverted row/pull-ups - Perform 3 sets of 10-12 reps and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
- Farmer's Carry - Complete three 45-second sets and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
Day 3: Shoulders
The shoulder day targets all three shoulder heads(lateral, anterior, and posterior).
Here is the entire shoulder workout:
- Standing overhead press - Perform 4 sets of 5-8 reps and rest for 3 minutes before starting the following set.
- Incline dumbbell bench press - Complete 3 sets of 8-10 reps and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
- Upright row - Perform 3 sets of 8-10 reps and rest for and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
- Reverse fly - Complete 3 sets of 10 to 12 reps and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
- Shoulder shrugs - Perform 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
- Single arm kneeling kettlebell press - Complete 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
Day 4: Legs
The leg day focuses on targeting lower body muscles such as the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, adductors, and hip flexors.
Here is the entire leg day workout:
- Back squat - Perform 4 sets of 6 reps and rest for up to 5 minutes before starting the following set.
- Romanian deadlift - Complete 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
- Hip Thrust - Perform 10 reps for 3 sets and rest for 3 minutes between the sets.
- Bulgarian split squat - Complete 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for 2 minutes between the sets.
- Lateral lunge - Complete 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
- Calf raises - Perform 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
Day 5: Arms
On the arm day, the focus is on developing primarily upper arm muscles such as the biceps and triceps brachii.
Here is the entire arm day workout:
- Close grip bench press - Perform 4 sets of 8 reps and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
- Hammer curl - Complete 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
- Cable triceps pushdowns - Perform 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
- Zottman curl - Complete 12 reps for 3 sets and rest for 90 seconds between the sets.
- Overhead tricep extension - Perform 3 sets of 12 reps and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
- Hanging leg raises - Complete 3 sets of 10 reps and rest for as little as possible between the sets.
Related: 12 Best Arm Exercises of all Time
What Is a Bro Split?
A bro split is the common workout type that targets all major muscle groups across the week by dividing them according to each day.
The bro split is mainly a bodybuilder split type because it allows for sufficient recovery between the days you exercise the same muscle group.
It also allows you to focus on one muscle group at a time, which is excellent for muscle growth.
This approach can lead to some serious gains, based on my experience.
Do Bro Splits Work?
From my perspective as a coach, I can confidently say that bro splits are effective for most people, except complete beginners, as they provide the right balance of training volume, intensity, and essential rest periods.
This approach allows ample recovery before the next workout, enabling a concentrated focus on individual muscle groups—a proven method for optimizing hypertrophy.
In our previous example of the best bro workout split routine, we divided the whole week into the 5-day split.
The 5-day split emphasizes different muscle groups each following day, allowing you to enter fresh into every workout and only care about focusing on the particular muscle group at the time.
These days will not only focus on large compound movements such as squats and bench presses. They will also feature isolation or single-joint exercises to help develop muscle hypertrophy, according to the Asian Journal of Sports Medicine .
Bro Split Pros
Bro splits are straightforward, emphasizing daily focus on individual major muscle groups.
This streamlined approach simplifies warm-ups, saving time and energy previously spent on extensive warm-up routines, based on my experience.
Furthermore, exercises in the bro split workout routine are intentionally designed to be uncomplicated.
The workout's intensity naturally decreases from start to finish, with large compound movements taking precedence early on and isolation exercises concluding the session.
In addition to the physical aspects, it's essential to recognize the role of psychological factors in bro split training. Many individuals find motivation and a sense of accomplishment in completing intense, focused workouts, which can contribute to the effectiveness of this routine.
It Gets You on a Regular Program
The 5-day split will quickly build the habit of regularly visiting the gym.
The only days you will have rest are the weekends, which are perfect enough for full-body recovery.
If you follow the split workout routine for a couple of weeks, the habit will be instilled, and you will regularly visit the gym without much procrastination.
It Results in a Pump, Every Time
The bro splits will always pump your muscles during the actual workout.
This is because the bro splits are the local type of workout, meaning you will target the specific muscle group each following workout.
When you hit a specific muscle group long enough during the training, the blood flows more to the particular area, making the pump look better.
It Hammers Upper Body
Bro splits are hard on beginners, and they often hammer their bodies due to increased weekly training volume.
However, if you incorporate proper and sufficient rest and nutrition, you can easily recover for every following workout session, based on experience of my clients.
This is what produces the best results over time.
"Building a lean, muscular physique complete with peaked biceps and a ripped midsection isn’t as easy as those 1970s movie training montages make it seem — it takes a lot of time, steadfast dedication, and sacrifice."
- Anthony O'Reilly, Certified Personal Trainer
Bro Split Cons
Not the Best for Beginners
Bro splits are not suitable for beginners due to their complexity.
Novices often lack the motor skills and knowledge required for the various exercises in a split workout routine.
Additionally, beginners may experience significant fatigue after just a few workouts due to the higher training volume involved, according to my personal training experience.
For those new to weightlifting, it's advisable to begin with a full-body workout routine for a few months before transitioning to split routines.
If you've been engaged in full-body training for approximately three months and are considering a safe switch to split routines, you can start by incorporating bodyweight variations of the exercises from the program mentioned earlier.
This gradual approach allows your body to adapt smoothly to the new training regimen without excessive fatigue.
Not Great for Max Strength
A 5-day workout split is excellent for strength development but not quite for maximal strength development.
This is because you must have at least one strength workout 72 hours after the first, which is not true with our split routine.
However, you can add workouts or change the order or quantity of exercises in each workout as you get experienced to fix this and exercise the same muscle group more times in a week.
This is not advisable for novice lifters or intermediaries who just started with the bro splits.
If you want to develop maximal strength, you should pick the basic workouts like chest/biceps, back triceps, and leg split, which you can perform two times a week to make 48 to 72 hours of rest before exercising the same muscle group again.
Too Much Isolation, Too Little Compound
Sometimes, if you pick the wrong exercises, you may experience a lack of building strength and functionality with bro splits.
However, if you follow the program described above, you don’t have to worry since I included compound and isolation exercises to develop your body holistically.
Remember to always put the compound exercises at the beginning of your workouts because they are more taxing for your nervous system.
Respectively, leave the isolation and single-joint exercises for the end of the workout since they require less energy and are less complex to execute.
The Best Way to Progress Using a Bro Split
From my experience, to progress in bro splits, employ the principle of progressive overload. This involves gradually increasing the number of reps, sets, training volume, or frequency to enhance strength and hypertrophy.
Continuously challenging yourself in each workout is key to making progress. One effective method is to increase the external resistance in your exercises during successive workouts.
After several weeks of consistent progression, it's important to incorporate deload weeks to allow for recovery. Following the deload period, resume your training with higher resistance levels. This strategy, known as the 3/1 progressive overload cycle, is particularly beneficial for beginners.
Also, nutrition plays a critical role in supporting your bro split workout. Consider meal timing, macronutrient and micronutrient intake, as well as proper hydration to fuel your body effectively for the intense, muscle group-focused nature of the routine.
Do Bodybuilders Use Bro Splits?
Yes, bodybuilders use bro splits. Bro split workout routine is excellent for targeting each major muscle group with sufficient load and intensity during the week to boost muscle growth and keep the training volume high.
Should Skinny Guys Do Bro Split?
Yes, skinny guys should do bro splits. A bro split routine will target all small and major muscle groups to boost muscle growth in the entire body and even build specific muscle group strength.
Is Bro Split Bad for Hypertrophy?
No, a bro split is not bad for hypertrophy. With bro splits, you can easily achieve hypertrophy or growth of major muscle groups since the workout split enables you to keep the training volume high and exercise each muscle group sufficiently to build muscle over time.
How Can I Maximize Hypertrophy Effects With Bro Splits?
To maximize the hypertrophy effects of bro splits, you must use a high-quality protein powder after each intense workout session.
High-quality whey protein powder will allow for faster muscle recovery after the workout, and boost the anabolic effect, meaning you will build muscles and strength easier.
Whey protein powder is the best protein for strength and hypertrophy workouts because it enters the bloodstream fast, allowing you to immediately have protein at your disposal for recovery and muscle growth.
Read our guides on the best protein powders in 2023 to pick the one that will suit your needs the most and allow you to build muscle while doing bro splits:
Let me know how you plan to implement this bro split into your current workout routine.
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