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Why Do So Many Bodybuilders Run the Bro Split?

If the bro split is seen to be an inferior training split to its many counterparts, why do so many top bodybuilders use it?

Muscular and fit bodybuilder doing bro split

I'm sure you've heard loads and loads of people say it before.

You'll hear people constantly talking about how bad the bro split is, and how inefficient it is due to the fact that it stacks all of your volume for each body part into a single training session.

You'll hear people recommending practically any bodybuilding workout split except for the bro split.

Heck, WE even have an article talking about that here at Gympulsive.

And if this particular workout split is such an ineffective or inferior method of training, why do so many bodybuilders follow this training style?

Why do so many of them continue to do it, even if we know that they aren't the best approach for most people?

In this article I'm going to take a deeper look into this topic, taking a look at the reasons why bodybuilders use bro splits, and whether it actually works for them.

Let's get into it.

Why Do Bodybuilders Use Bro Splits?

Unlike most of the people reading this article, competitive bodybuilders actually do have some valid reasoning behind bro splits.

  • They need to work on specific body parts.

  • It's simply fun to use a bro split.

Bodybuilders Need to Work on Specific Body Parts

The main and primary reason why so many bodybuilders utilize the bro split is the fact that working on individual muscles, and targeting the right body parts is often more important to them than building muscle across the entire body is.

When competitive bodybuilders step on the stage and show off their hard work, in the eyes of the judges every single detail matters.

Man with muscular imbalances and using bro split to target weak points

Every single imbalance, every single weak body part, it all makes a massive difference

For example, let's say that your chest was extremely dominant over the rest of your upper body.

Having an overdeveloped chest often causes your shoulders and arms to look smaller in comparison, which is definitely not what a competitive bodybuilder who needs to impress the judges wants.

In this case, the bodybuilder would be able to make use of a bro split by placing an emphasis on his or her shoulders and arms, so that they have a chance to catch up to the overdeveloped chest.

Normally this wouldn't be too great of an approach for your everyday lifter just wanting to look a little bit better.

However for a competitive bodybuilder where every small detail matters, this would a be a very reasonable approach to solving the issue.

The bodybuilder would be able to work around the bro split, possibly placing a little bit less of their focus on their chest day and more on shoulders, arms and back.

You can compare this to the average lifter, and probably most of the people reading this article as well.

They just need more muscle mass, everywhere. They need to develop everything more.

So using a bro split, which usually only allows you to train each muscle group once per week is not going to be the most effective approach.

Ideally for the most of us we should be looking to hit each muscle group twice a week or more. Again, if you haven't already checked out our article about the most popular workout splits and their pros and cons, we highly recommend it.

Overall the main idea is the fact that bodybuilders need specificity, and bro splits make it easy for them to target and really hone in on a singular muscle group that they need to work on.

Most people on this planet aren't going to need that specificity in order to make good progress.

It's Simply More Fun for Them to Do a Bro Split

Another reason that so many bodybuilders use the bro split is due to the fact that they simply enjoy doing it more.

Man doing bent over barbell rows and working back and biceps

I will admit, bro splits are very fun to do.

Heading into the gym knowing you're going to absolutely annihilate your chest or your arms is an exciting thought.

I'm sure many lifters could agree with this.

Bro splits are fun.

However, we know that they aren't as effective as other bodybuilding splits, so surely they would choose the path of better results over more satisfaction right?

Well, there's no law saying that you HAVE to do what's optimal.

Muscular and athletic man holding dumbbell and showing off his muscles

You can do whatever you like, just like you can pick whatever exercise you want to do, regardless of whether or not it's the best choice you could make.

It's not to say that bro splits don't work, because it's evident that they do.

The older bodybuilders were making use of this split everywhere you looked.

However to be truthful with you, so many of the top bodybuilders in the world are on crazy amounts of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs) that simply giving their bodies any stimulus for growth, no matter how optimal, is going to lead to A LOT of growth.

Basically no matter they do in the gym, as long as they do it with enough intensity, it's going to lead to growth.

That's the reality of the effects that their PEDs have on them.

Please note: This is certainly not healthy. Bodybuilding, at the top level is not healthy at all. Athletes have to maintain ridiculously low body fat levels, and often the states of their bodies are extremely unsustainable.

Please don't take any inspirations from this article to go and do anything new. Consult with your coach or doctor first.

Most Bodybuilders Today Aren't Using the Bro Split

You should also note that in the modern world today, most bodybuilder actually aren't running the bro split.

Most have come to realize that there are simply better alternatives for their time.

And unless they have specific instructions from their coaches, most have moved onto workout splits such as push, pull, legs done six days a week.

It was the old school bodybuilders that rocked this training split, and it clearly worked well for them.

Just take a look at people like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jay Cutler!

Moreover, bodybuilding, like many things in life revolves around trends and following whatever the 'latest and greatest' methods of doing things are.

In the old school bodybuilding times, this meant doing the bro split.

When people read magazines and newspapers, all they would see was these massive, ripped guys promoting bro splits and chest day on Monday.

Every new and aspiring bodybuilding would then want to follow suit and do the same thing as everyone else, seeing as it was so effective.

That's where this all came from.


While the bro split may not be the best option for the average lifter and gymgoer, it certainly is a viable option for some of the top competitive bodybuilders due to the specificity and flexibility for targeting certain muscles.

However if you take a closer look, you'll likely notice that many of your favorite current bodybuilders aren't really utilizing the bro split that much anymore.

I hope you've found value in this post, and have enjoyed reading through it!

If you did, don't forget to share it with your friends so that we can reach more people!

Does your favorite bodybuilder use the bro split?


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