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Evidence-based articles & blogs to help with making training more effective, nutrition more flexible & life more enjoyable.


Bro Splits: Pure Magic or Pure Shite?

Back when I was a skinny, insecure teenager, I’d spend hours every night reading through the interviews on the Simply Shredded website. ​ Time and time again I’d read that these dudes that I looked up to were all training one muscle a day & pounding it into oblivion. ​ I’m talking 30-50 sets a session, 8 hour arm workouts and always focusing on one single muscle group at a time. ​ And for some reason, despite all of the evidence we now have, some people still hit chest on Monday, Back on Tuesday and so on. ​ Maybe a Bro Split is a great idea if you’re happy to train 11 days a week and take copious amounts of gear... ​ But if you’re just looking to build a bit of muscle or get a little leaner, here’s why following a Bro Split might be a bit of a shite plan.


The reason you need a full week to recover from a training session is because you’re only training that muscle once per week, and with so much volume that it is a genuine assault on your body each time you do it.

When you start training a muscle more frequently and with a more reasonable amount of volume each time, you’ll notice something crazy happens… It recovers quicker, too!



I’m sorry to break it to you but the vast majority of the guys you follow that do these sorts of splits, like pro bodybuilders, the guys that get on the Olympia stage and your favourite Tiktokker are likely all taking drugs.

Which means they’re working with a little more than creatine and sleep to recover!

On top of that, these guys are going to respond to whatever training they do, but that doesn’t necessarily make it optimal for you.



If you aren’t taking drugs, do you really want to be following a protocol that isn’t optimal for making gains? Building muscle naturally is already hard enough - believe me, I’ve been at it for over 15 years now.

A study from Stuart Phillips in the "American Journal of Physiology" found that following resistance training, muscle protein synthesis spiked to 65% above baseline after 24 hours, was 34% above baseline at 48 hours, and then more or less returned to normal.

Keeping muscle protein synthesis elevated is vital to maximise your growth potential. So waiting 7 days before training a muscle group again is leaving you with up to 5 whole days where MPS is down at baseline.

A second study, from the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" concluded that (when training volume was matched) subjects who trained just one day per week only had 62% of the strength gains of those who split their work over 3 days per week.

By only hitting each muscle group once a week, you're potentially compromising both your ability to build & retain muscle & strength.



Lifting weights is a skill. If you want to get better at it, especially the exercises that you’re using to grow, you want to practise. You’ll likely get much better at a skill, any skill, if you practice it more frequently.

If you were trying to learn a new language, do you think you’d be able to pick it up quickly if you were only studying it once a week? Probably not, right?


Consider your typical Monday workout. It’s Chest, because... yaknow 'Chest Monday'.

Flat Barbell Bench Press, Incline Dumbbell Press, DB Flyes, Cable Flyes, Push Ups, Chest Press Machine. The list goes on!

By the time you get to those last 3 exercises, your chest is already going to be pretty beaten up, so your performance is going to be pretty half-arsed.

Whereas if you split these 6 exercises up into two sessions, and performed 3 chest exercises on Monday, then 3 on Thursday, you'd likely end up getting through far more 'quality' work, and ultimately lift more total weight over the course of that week, because you aren't as tired from murdering your pecs beyond the point they can even recover in one nasty “Chest Monday”.



The real issue here is with the total amount of volume these sorts of programs typically include - it’s just way more than you actually need to make gains.

More recent research suggests that realistically all we need to be making optimal gains is somewhere in the vicinity of 4-6 hard sets per muscle per session seems to be the sweet spot. Meaning if you’re doing anything more than that, we’re getting into ‘junk volume’ territory.

You could simply be doing better things with your time, or instead, hitting that muscle group more frequently knowing that 3, 4 or 5 plus exercises per muscle per session is just overkill.

So where do you go from here?

Easy - if you’re currently only training each muscle group once per week, then split each of those sessions in half, and mix and match them. Now, you’re hitting muscle groups twice per week, still getting through the same amount of total work, but because you aren’t driving those muscles into the ground each time you train, you’ll end up lifting heaps more total, by the end of the week.

From there, you can probably consider whether the total amount of volume you’re doing is actually necessary, and focus instead on reducing total volume for a focus on higher quality, more efficient reps.

Or if you want a plan laid out for you, where you won’t need to worry about whether or not you’re doing too much, you can grab a FREE copy of my brand new Strength Training Templates inside my Facebook Group.

That's free too - you've just got to be in there to access it.

You can join my free Facebook Group & score your copy of my Strength Training Templates

>>> HERE <<<

See you on the inside, bro ????????

- N