As a personal trainer, something that I think about a lot of the time is which training split is best? Which one will affect your body the most? Which one will help to increase muscle mass, or to shred fat, and get you the results that you are after?
The truth is, there is no such thing as a universal best workout split. It all depends on preferences, lifestyle and habits – and you, as an individual.
The Bro Split
‘Bro split’ is the term to describe training each muscle part on individual days, e.g., chest on Monday, shoulders on Tuesday, back on Wednesday, arms on Thursday, and legs on Friday.
Push, Pull, Legs
Push, Pull, Legs is a much more popular approach, an example of this would be e.g., Push = chest, triceps and shoulders. Pull = back & biceps and then Leg day.
Which to choose
Both of these approaches to training are beneficial, for different reasons. Bro split can be more appealing for people who are looking to shred fat, as you focus on a singular muscle part each day, meaning that you are able to exert more energy per day. It’s probably not going to be the best approach for a gym-goer who is looking to gain muscle quickly.
Pros of bro split:
- Provides more enjoyment factor as you get to focus on 1 muscle group per day.
- It’s a simple & easy training plan to follow
- Usually a shorter workout (compared to training more than 1 muscle group in 1 session)
- Doesn’t take full advantage of protein synthesis. Your muscle grows a full 36 hours after being trained and then it stops. With bro split workouts, they aren’t growing as much as they could as they are only trained once a week.
Push, Pull, Legs is something that I’d personally recommend to anyone who’s looking for quick and sustainable muscle growth, it’s a more advanced workout plan than bro split, but it can provide more benefits:
Pros of push, pull, legs:
- Train every muscle group twice a week, more volume on training = more potential for increased muscle mass
- Limits overlap between exercises
- Provides a clear and ample rest time for muscles
- Fatigue of muscles
- Time consuming, less rest days than bro split (dependant on frequency of individual)
As well as these 2 training splits, there are alternatives e.g. Full body workouts every other day & upper and lower.
Personally, I’m currently training push, pull, legs and then upper and lower. For example, see a week plan below:
Monday = Push
Tuesday = Pull
Wednesday = Legs
Thursday = Rest
Friday = Upper
Saturday = Lower
Sunday = Legs
The Upper and Lower provide a variation of exercises, as the majority of exercises that you are performing for your main session are compound. I use these days to work on ‘secondary’ exercises, ones that, for me, aren’t too important but will still make a difference to the body/muscle mass.
Applying this to workout goals, if your plan is to gain muscle mass – using the findings above, push, pull, legs seems the best training split to follow.
If your plan is to shred fat/lose weight, it’s best to follow either plan – bro split will allow more recovery for the muscles, whereas push pull legs will exert more energy per session (depending on exercises).
The Bottom Line
As mentioned above, any training split is dependent on the individual and how it can fit into their lifestyle and preferences.
Hopefully this article has provided you with more knowledge to take away and use in your sessions!