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  1. #1
    Registered User ycpspartan's Avatar
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    Are Bro Splits Really As Bad As People Claim?

    Over the past few years I've heard a lot about the importance of training frequency i.e. training each muscle twice per week, the benefits of minimalist training (power building), etc, but I still see a lot of 4-5 day split routines floating around.

    My question is, can naturals benefit from a 4-5 day split or is that a serious misconception in the"bodybuilding/ training community"? I can't imagine that many people are just plain wrong to waste time on splits, but maybe they are?
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    Emotional inTelligence etet1919's Avatar
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    Naturals can absolutely gain hypertrophy, strength and stamina through many "bro-splits;" it's not a misconception, but mainly a question of preference due to time management, muscular recovery, genetics, personal interest....I believe naturals can follow any bro split "to the best of their ability," but should obviously not expect the same results as a "non-natural" (including individual recoverable volume rate, especially from hard sets, in general). I'm sure the men that have years of experience in bro-split training will weigh in soon, as well...
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  3. #3
    I love my power hour MrCarrot's Avatar
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    I always used to do a bro-split in my teens and twenties. This time around I'm doing upper two days a week and lower two days a week. I have to say that the vast majority of people I see in the gym appear to be doing some kind of bro split - not all of them but most of them I would say. I can't really say what has been most effective for me as my diet has been drastically different each time I've gotten into lifting.
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    Registered User leidenesLK's Avatar
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    Yes, bro splits can work. Total weekly workload is most important. The biggest issue with bro splits is usually the brogrammer who fks up the volume distribution between muscle groups. Say on an U/L routine you need 2 sets each for bis/tris 2x a week and 6 sets each for quads/hams 2x a week to progress. 24 sets on a bro leg day sounds fairly common, but you don't often see an arm day stop at 8 sets... This is based on the bro mentality that 1x a week means you need to feel like you annihilated your muscles. This isn't true and often leads to the lopsided volume distribution I mentioned. Total workload at the end of the week is most important. If you're past the beginner stage, do a bro split if you want.
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    Registered User ycpspartan's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by leidenesLK View Post
    Yes, bro splits can work. Total weekly workload is most important. The biggest issue with bro splits is usually the brogrammer who fks up the volume distribution between muscle groups. Say on an U/L routine you need 2 sets each for bis/tris 2x a week and 6 sets each for quads/hams 2x a week to progress. 24 sets on a bro leg day sounds fairly common, but you don't often see an arm day stop at 8 sets... This is based on the bro mentality that 1x a week means you need to feel like you annihilated your muscles. This isn't true and often leads to the lopsided volume distribution I mentioned. Total workload at the end of the week is most important. If you're past the beginner stage, do a bro split if you want.
    Do you know of any off hand that have proper volume distribution?
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    Registered User gcoulson's Avatar
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    The other "issue" with bro splits is it's easier for folks to drop/neglect leg day. Legs are integral in a full body workout and an upper-lower, so it's harder to ignore them. But when legs have their own day, it's easier to skip/replace with something else.

    Based on my own experience running bro splits back in my prime.

    I still progressed well and gained serious muscle, but probably not as efficiently as if I had gone another route. My programming was also so unbalanced with a tonne of pushing and arm work, ultimately my wrists packed up.
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    Train hard play harder Tommy W.'s Avatar
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    Brad Schoenfeld just released a study showing that overall weekly volume per muscle group drives the train and not frequency in both natural and enhanced lifters.
    If you don't get what you want you didn't want it bad enough
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    In terms of program balance for a beginner, bro-splits are a problem waiting to happen. And it's not just bro-splits. I cringe a little every time a self-described novice decides on a PPL or even an U/L. Bro-splits can be done correctly. I just don't have much faith that a novice can pull it off without guidance.
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    Registered User grubman's Avatar
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    As others have said or implied...there is nothing wrong with a bro-split. The reason they have a bad rep is it’s usaually the WRONG people using them and the WRONG people designing them.

    Once you are advanced enough that a bro-split can work, you are usually experienced enough with how your body responds to EVERYTHING and how to properly design your custom routine.

    Unfortunately, many of the people doing bro-splits are beginners who read Joe Schmo bodybuilders routine in a magazine...this is what prompts the “get off the bro-split!!” responses, and gives the impression bro-splits are “bad”.
    Last edited by grubman; 03-27-2019 at 11:24 AM.
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  10. #10
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    The primary issue, as many others have said, is that they aren't getting enough volume in. Yes, something is better than nothing by far, but that doesn't make it the most efficient. Technically I ride my bicycle across Long Island, but it would be a lot more quick and efficient to just drive.
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    Here is the latest study take away's as of 3/23/19.
    "Frequency seems to have at best a minor effect on muscle growth when total volume is equated.
    There may be a slight benefit to training muscle groups twice per week as opposed to once on a volume equated basis, but higher training frequency's do not enhance results.
    Increasing training frequency's can be used to accumulate greater volumes."

    The biggest program with bro splits is probably junk volume. A typical chest day speaks for itself with 5-6 exercises in one session. You can only stimulate so much growth in a workout and you can easily achieve that with a less extreme approach to training.
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    Registered User DemiBrah's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ycpspartan View Post
    Do you know of any off hand that have proper volume distribution?
    Legs shoulders mon

    Chest tris Tues

    Rest

    Back bis thurs

    Legs shoulders or lacking body part fri

    When you get used to that routine switch Monday and Tuesday

    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    Here is the latest study take away's as of 3/23/19.
    "Frequency seems to have at best a minor effect on muscle growth when total volume is equated.
    There may be a slight benefit to training muscle groups twice per week as opposed to once on a volume equated basis, but higher training frequency's do not enhance results.
    Increasing training frequency's can be used to accumulate greater volumes."

    The biggest program with bro splits is probably junk volume. A typical chest day speaks for itself with 5-6 exercises in one session. You can only stimulate so much growth in a workout and you can easily achieve that with a less extreme approach to training.
    Higher volume and set count improves conditioning which has tertiary effects on lifts. Bbing isn’t just about maxing muscle growth you should be making it easier to lift more and more often to improve your ability to stimulate growth
    Hm.

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    Originally Posted by DemiBrah View Post
    Legs shoulders mon

    Chest tris Tues

    Rest

    Back bis thurs

    Legs shoulders or lacking body part fri

    When you get used to that routine switch Monday and Tuesday



    Higher volume and set count improves conditioning which has tertiary effects on lifts. Bbing isn’t just about maxing muscle growth you should be making it easier to lift more and more often to improve your ability to stimulate growth

    Legs Shoulders then Chest Tris sounds like a disaster waiting to happen especially if you are trying to run muscle groups more then x1 a week, I wrote up a big post about how to make things work (from my limited experience) but the forum crapped out on me.

    You are lacking intensity and/or not progressively overloading to be able to handle back to backs on crossover muscle groups.
    Last edited by johndoethethird; 03-27-2019 at 12:56 PM.
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    Registered User TAWS6's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johndoethethird View Post
    Legs Shoulders then Chest Tris sounds like a disaster waiting to happen especially if you are trying to run muscle groups more then x1 a week, I wrote up a big post about how to make things work (from my limited experience) but the forum crapped out on me.

    You are lacking intensity and/or not progressively overloading to be able to handle back to backs on crossover muscle groups.
    Another flaw with splits is that everyone "needs" to split up their upper body into bits and pieces but for some reason legs are never split. Lower body is almost always neglected on a body part split.
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    The hate on bro splits is overrated. I made most all of my gains on a bro split. I've since smartened up, and my current "broish" split has me hitting everything at least twice every 8 days, with priority body parts getting hit 3x

    That said, new lifters don't need separate Chest, back, arm, delt and leg workouts
    Last edited by jk202; 03-27-2019 at 03:08 PM.
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    Nice and concise for you
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29489727

    And here's the in-depth version
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4836564/

    Summary: Weekly sets are most important, and you should really base it around your schedule. If you have time for a 20-set chest workout, go for it. But if you'd rather hit four 5-set chest workouts a week, that'll give essentially the same results. Experiment and go with what feels good.
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    Originally Posted by TAWS6 View Post
    Another flaw with splits is that everyone "needs" to split up their upper body into bits and pieces but for some reason legs are never split. Lower body is almost always neglected on a body part split.
    True af. Guys complain about genetics being the reason for their chicken legs, then hit chest, tris, bis, and shoulders three times a week with one hour set aside for quads, hammies, and calves all together.
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    Originally Posted by johndoethethird View Post
    Legs Shoulders then Chest Tris sounds like a disaster waiting to happen especially if you are trying to run muscle groups more then x1 a week, I wrote up a big post about how to make things work (from my limited experience) but the forum crapped out on me.

    You are lacking intensity and/or not progressively overloading to be able to handle back to backs on crossover muscle groups.
    I guess that depends how **** your workouts are

    Been bro splitting 10 years and all my boys that I’ve trained bro split and have 10lbs on you after only 2 years of lifting at the same height while starting 15 lbs lighter


    Thoughts?


    Originally Posted by bLinkMoore View Post
    True af. Guys complain about genetics being the reason for their chicken legs, then hit chest, tris, bis, and shoulders three times a week with one hour set aside for quads, hammies, and calves all together.
    That’s why 50% of your training days should be legs. Personally I have an isolation focused day with compounds and a compound focused day with isolations. My squat went from 200x2-4 to 455-5 in about 2.5 years although I eat like an animal and train really hard so that helps

    Number of days going to the gym pales in relevance compared to your intensity of sessions anyways I can gain on 3 day splits or 5 just have to vary my volume and intensity. The worst copers are the guys who think they can’t grow calves because they don’t view calves as a short bellied muscle with a long tendon like forearms and therefore don’t comprehend how much work you need to put into them on leg day
    Last edited by DemiBrah; 03-27-2019 at 06:49 PM.
    Hm.

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    Originally Posted by johndoethethird View Post
    Legs Shoulders then Chest Tris sounds like a disaster waiting to happen especially if you are trying to run muscle groups more then x1 a week, I wrote up a big post about how to make things work (from my limited experience) but the forum crapped out on me.

    You are lacking intensity and/or not progressively overloading to be able to handle back to backs on crossover muscle groups.
    Originally Posted by DemiBrah View Post
    I guess that depends how **** your workouts are
    Also how ****ty their execution is. If you can't train chest the day after shoulders, logic should tell you that you suck at using your chest.

    Same for the moose knuckle that told me I was crazy for thinking I could hit back the day after biceps

    This has been awesome for me, 6 on 1 off
    1. DELT 1, BICEP (all delts)
    2. BACK 1, TRICEP
    3. CHEST 1, SIDE DELT, BICEP
    4. LEGS 1, REAR DELT
    5. DELT 2, LATS, TRICEP (front / side delt only)
    6. CHEST 2, REAR DELT, BICEP
    7. LEGS 2, TRICEP
    Last edited by jk202; 03-27-2019 at 07:16 PM.
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    Originally Posted by gcoulson View Post
    The other "issue" with bro splits is it's easier for folks to drop/neglect leg day. Legs are integral in a full body workout and an upper-lower, so it's harder to ignore them. But when legs have their own day, it's easier to skip/replace with something else.

    Based on my own experience running bro splits back in my prime.

    I still progressed well and gained serious muscle, but probably not as efficiently as if I had gone another route. My programming was also so unbalanced with a tonne of pushing and arm work, ultimately my wrists packed up.
    Not just leg day. Inconsistency in general will mess up a bro split much more than most programs.
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    Bro splits are fine imo. Just depends on your schedule and preferences.

    As long as you train every body part at least once weekly you’re fine. If you only have 3 days you can do 3 full body or PPL. If you have 4 or 5 days UL or bro split. Doesn’t really matter.

    Much more important that whatever you do fits your schedule and preference so you can stay consistent.
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    Bro Splits are the best. That's why guys who do it are on average much bigger than guys on novice programs their whole life.
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    Originally Posted by Tommy W. View Post
    Brad Schoenfeld just released a study showing that overall weekly volume per muscle group drives the train and not frequency in both natural and enhanced lifters.
    Agree. Bro Splits are the best. Because it allows me to fully concentrate on the muscle that I am working on. I get a great pump and I feel good about myself. I also don't feel the need of spreading volume twice a week which ultimately gonna increase the total volume in a week which is the main driver of muscle growth not frequency, unless I want to bring up a lagging body part.

    Bro Splits are great. The fact that many people think you can't make gains optimally using Bro Splits as a natural is nonsense. Obviously, if you can't recover, the lessen the volume in each session. Don't just blindly follow Kai Greene's 40 sets of biceps and triceps workout you have seen on Youtube, and blame Bro Splits for that. Obiviously, they have been doing it for years and are supported by supraphysiological amount of you know what. So, you have to adjust it based on your case.
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    Demibrah, I will get back to you when I have another 1yr into training and on a bulk (only 1yr in consistently ATM and mostly maintaining or cutting)

    Both your and jk202 "splits" are highly customized and both of you have a good amount of years under your belts (so that's not even debatable)

    Can noobs run the exact same programs ? probably
    Will they make gains on just about any program ? ofcourse they will

    I was just trying to point out on having the basic fundamentals of strength-hypertrophy with enough volume while managing fatique avoiding injuries etc etc aka "trying" to perfect the actual programs.

    90%+ of people in the gym run bro-splits probably close to 80% if not more of those IMO aren't maximizing the potential they can get with modifications.

    I'm open to hearing peoples opinion and I listen to the reasoning even if it doesn't make sense or I might not fully agree.
    Last edited by johndoethethird; 03-28-2019 at 02:29 AM.
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    Originally Posted by johndoethethird View Post
    Demibrah, I will get back to you when I have another 1yr into training and on a bulk (only 1yr in consistently ATM and mostly maintaining or cutting)

    Both your and jk202 "splits" are highly customized and both of you have a good amount of years under your belts (so that's not even debatable)

    Can noobs run the exact same programs ? probably
    Will they make gains on just about any program ? ofcourse they will

    I was just trying to point out on having the basic fundamentals of strength-hypertrophy with enough volume while managing fatique avoiding injuries etc etc aka "trying" to perfect the actual programs.

    90%+ of people in the gym run bro-splits probably close to 80% if not more of those IMO aren't maximizing the potential they can get with modifications.

    I'm open to hearing peoples opinion and I listen to the reasoning even if it doesn't make sense or I might not fully agree.
    I agree. Everyone should spend at least a year or two getting strong. From there, focus on your goals.
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    Bro Splits are the best. That's why guys who do it are on average much bigger than guys on novice programs their whole life.
    Any scientific data to back that up?
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    Originally Posted by gcoulson View Post
    Any scientific data to back that up?
    I like science, but i also like results. People love to quote studies and data till their blue in the face but the studies don't mean **** if they're not matched with real world results
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    Originally Posted by jk202 View Post
    I like science, but i also like results. People love to quote studies and data till their blue in the face but the studies don't mean **** if they're not matched with real world results
    Don’t even get me started on “studies”...

    Study shows CONCLUSIVELY that working out 1 day a week yields more muscle than working out 3 days a week!!*

    *Fine Print: Study done on 8 random 20 year old men with no lifting experience for a total of 2 weeks. 4 men performed 1 sessions per week of leg extensions on HAMMER STRENGTH leg extension machine, while the other 4 did 3 sessions of leg extensions on a universal machine. The men in the HAMMER STRENGTH group showed an increase of .000001% more mass after 2 weeks than the other group. There was no monitoring of diet, sleep patterns, lifestyle, or genetics. Study paid for by HAMMER STRENGTH.
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    Originally Posted by grubman View Post
    Don’t even get me started on “studies”...

    Study shows CONCLUSIVELY that working out 1 day a week yields more muscle than working out 3 days a week!!*

    *Fine Print: Study done on 8 random 20 year old men with no lifting experience for a total of 2 weeks. 4 men performed 1 sessions per week of leg extensions on HAMMER STRENGTH leg extension machine, while the other 4 did 3 sessions of leg extensions on a universal machine. The men in the HAMMER STRENGTH group showed an increase of .000001% more mass after 2 weeks than the other group. There was no monitoring of diet, sleep patterns, lifestyle, or genetics. Study paid for by HAMMER STRENGTH.
    Exactly.

    One of my favorite quotes from Joe Bennett (Hypertrophy Coach) was in regards to EMG nerds:

    "People love to quote EMG studies to say X exercise is better than Y. An EMG study probably registers more muscles active when you're taking a **** than it does a squat, that doesn't mean you'll build more muscle taking ****"

    ^something like that lol
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    Originally Posted by BenMcLeodNZ View Post
    Bro Splits are the best. That's why guys who do it are on average much bigger than guys on novice programs their whole life.
    .

    Why is it bro split vs novice?
    Unless you are conflating full body and novice.

    In which case well...
    You're going to have to tell Thor and Eddie Hall they are small guys cuz they don't bro split... Or every other strongman ever... Or weightlifter....

    Every split works, for every level of advancement. Some just suit particular goals and levels slightly more, I.e higher frequency benefits newbies who need to learn lifts, and people who have competition lifts and need a high level of specificity.
    I'd you don't have to care about a handful of lifts more then you can get away with less lift frequency and more exercise variation
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