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Bro Split At Home: Train Like a Sculptor Method

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Across my 20+ years in fitness, I’ve personally experienced a whole range of training approaches. I’ve trained like a bodybuilder. I’ve tipped my toe in powerlifting. I was a CrossFitter for a couple of years. I competed in weightlifting. 

My point? 

I’ve seen and done it all over the years. Including this workout style.

This bro split was the formative years of my lifting. Those early days when I could recover like Wolverine and had as much time as I needed to lift.

Here’s how you do it, and why it’s effective…

Steve doing back squats with a barbell

The Bro Split Overview: Training like a sculptor

Bro split general infographic

Workout 1 – Chest Day

ExerciseSetsRepsStart Weight*End Weight*
Barbell Bench Press51090125
Dumbbell Fly51025**45**
Incline D’bell Bench Press51035**55**
Decline D’bell Bench Press51035**55**
Landmine Press510 (per side)6585
Cable Crunch51290120

*Example starting weight (it could be more or less) with the weight you will lift when you finish the 90 days (in lbs)

**Weight of the dumbbell in each hand (lbs).

Workout time required

60 mins

Workout focus

A complete burn out of the chest and associated pushing muscles.

Workout 2 – Back Day

ExerciseSetsRepsStart Weight*End Weight*
Chin Ups58-10BodyweightBodyweight
D’bell Seal Row51045**60**
Cable Row51080120
Pull Ups56-8BodyweightBodyweight
Reverse Fly51510**15**
Russian Twists5122030

*Example starting weight (it could be more or less) with the weight you will lift when you finish the 90 days (in lbs)

**Weight of the dumbbell in each hand (lbs).

Workout time required

60 mins

Workout Focus

A complete burn out of the back and associated pulling muscles.

Workout 3 – Leg Day

ExerciseSetsRepsStart Weight*End Weight*
Lunges512 (per side)45**60**
Stiff legged deadlifts51280120
Split squats512 (per side)45**60**
Calf raises52510**15**
Hanging leg raises510BodyweightBodyweight

*Example starting weight (it could be more or less) with the weight you will lift when you finish the 90 days (in lbs)

**Weight of the dumbbell in each hand (lbs).

Workout time required

60 mins

Workout focus

A complete burn out of all of the leg muscles.

Workout 4 – Arm Day

ExerciseSetsRepsStart Weight*End Weight*
Tricep Pushdowns5125070
EZ Bar Curls5124060
Incline D’Bell Curls51215**20**
Hammer Curls51215**25**
Hanging leg raises510BodyweightBodyweight

*Example starting weight (it could be more or less) with the weight you will lift when you finish the 90 days (in lbs)

**Weight of the dumbbell in each hand (lbs).

Workout time required

60 mins

Workout focus

A complete burn out of all of the arm muscles.

Workout 5 – Shoulder Day

ExerciseSetsRepsStart Weight*End Weight*
Military press5105080
Lat raises51215**25**
Upright rows5125080
Incline reverse fly51210**15**
Seated dumbbell press51225**45**
Barbell ab roll out510BodyweightBodyweight

*Example starting weight (it could be more or less) with the weight you will lift when you finish the 90 days (in lbs)

**Weight of the dumbbell in each hand (lbs).

Workout time required

60 mins

Workout focus

A complete burnout of all of the shoulder muscles.

Equipment needed for the Bro Split workout

To complete the exercises included in this workout, here’s all of the equipment you will need. If you have all of these items, you’ll be able to do with workout without a single change…

Rogue Ohio Cerakote Bar

Rogue Ohio Bar Cerakote
Read our best Olympic barbell guide here

This is the bar that we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 120 hours of research and tested over 100 barbells.

It is affordable but comes with some high specs. The Rogue Work Hardening and 190k PSI tensile strength mean the bar will last a lifetime in a home gym.

It is a multi-purpose bar with a 28.5mm diameter shaft and composite bushings in the sleeves. This means it’s balanced for heavy slow bench presses but you can also perform snatches and fast overhead lifts.

Example Bro Split schedule 

The bro split needs a lot of training days. Here’s how most people would do it across a five-day schedule…

WorkoutChestBack LegsArmsShouldersRestRest

If you could put a rest day midweek and train one weekend day then that’s ideal. 

Each workout should take no around 60 minutes, so there’s a lot of training time. You should be able to commit to 5 hours a week to perform this program properly.

What weight should you lift? 

To figure out what you should be lifting, perform your first set of an exercise with a weight you know will be very easy. Then build up the weight on subsequent sets until you’re lifting a suitable weight.

In practice, it looks like this…

Example: Your workout needs you to squat 3 sets of 5, but you’ve never done a squat before so don’t know what weight to lift.

  1. Perform a warm-up set with an empty barbell (45lbs is a mens Olympic barbell).
  2. Add a little weight (around 5lbs) to the bar and complete 5 reps.
  3. Repeat this until you reach a point where you can’t manage a set of 5 reps with good form.
  4. Make a note of the last weight you could perform the full reps with good form.

This is your ‘working weight’ and will be the basis of your training going forward. Here’s an example of what a beginner client achieved in their session to work out their starting weight…

ExerciseStarting weightWeight failed setWorking weight for first workout
Goblet squats10lbs30lbs25lbs
Barbell row44lbs60lbs55lbs
Bench press*44lbs60lbs55lbs
Skull crusher*5lbs12.5lbs10lbs
Lateral raises*5lbs10lbs7.5lbs
Chin upsUsing resistance band
Overhead press44lbs50lbs44lbs
Incline bench press*5lbs22.5lbs20lbs
Bicep curls*5lbs12.5lbs10lbs

Repeat this process for each of the exercises you do in a workout. That will give you the information you need. 

Always start easy, lift with good form, and don’t over-exert yourself in the beginning.

Warm up

Bro split warm up

I’m warming up the same way for each workout here. 

It doesn’t change, regardless of the workout I’m doing. It’s quick, simple and gets me warm and ready for the session ahead…

5 minutes full body cardio. I either use the air bike or rower, depending on which one is either free or I feel like doing on that particular day.

I will always use a full body machine, so I avoid a bike erg or ski erg, because they’re either upper or lower body centric. 

Good options include…

  • Rower
  • Air Bike
  • Cross Trainer
  • Treadmill

Once I have done this, I head into this mini-circuit. I repeat it 10 times…

  • 3 Air Squats
  • 2 Push Ups
  • 1 Burpee to standing

This means I’ve done 5 minutes of cardio and 60 reps of a bodyweight circuit. Then I’m good to go. My blood flow has increased, my heart rate has increased, my muscles and connective tissues have started to work. 

It’s now time for me to get to work!

Bro Split Workout Program…

Workout 1 – Chest Day

Barbell Bench Press5101 min
Dumbbell Fly5101 min
Incline D’bell Bench Press5101 min
Decline D’bell Bench Press5101 min
Landmine Press510 (per side)1 min
Cable Crunch5121 min
Bro split workout 1

1. Barbell bench press

We’re going to maximize the volume and hypertrophy elements of the workout with each exercise here. With this in mind, the barbell bench press is a great way to push heavy weights for big reps.

It’s the classic chest exercise, so let’s exploit its effectiveness here! Pick a weight that will see you hit failure at 8-10 reps.

Equipment needed for barbell bench press:

REP AB-3000 Bench

REP AB-3000 Weight Bench
Read our best weight bench guide here

This is the weight bench we recommend for ‘most people’.

We compared over 70 benches against 12 criteria. This is our highest-ranked flat, incline & decline (FID) bench.

Some adjustable benches can be a bit wobbly when on the incline. But the AB-3000 is very sturdy.

With a height 18mm it’s comparable to benches that cost twice as much.

2. Dumbbell chest fly

An Arnold favorite, the dumbbell chest fly is a perfect exercise to add into a bro split. Sure, it’s an effective exercise for building the chest.

What’s more though, is that it stretches and opens up the chest more effectively than any other chest exercise I know. For that reason, it always belongs in a chest day.

Equipment needed for dumbbell chest fly:

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Adjustable Dumbbells

SMRFT Nüobell 80LB Classic
Read our best adjustable dumbbell guide here

These are the dumbbells we recommend for ‘most people’.

We have spent over 50 hours of research and compared over 100 dumbbells. Adjustable dumbbells make sense for most home gyms as they save space.

The Nüobell dumbbells go all the way to 80lbs per hand. This means they are much more versatile than most 50lbs adjustable dumbbells. You can use these for heavy shrugs, squats and bench press etc.

The main reason they are the top pick is because of their shape. They actually feel like real dumbbells and are not awkward to lift like some others.

3. Incline dumbbell bench press

I consider the incline dumbbell bench press the most home-gym friendly form of the exercise. If you use a barbell, you need specialist equipment or a spotter.

With dumbbells, these aren’t an issue. They’re also a better option for increasing the range of motion. Aim for failure at 8-10 reps. 

Equipment needed for incline dumbbell bench press:

4. Decline dumbbell bench press

As anyone who has read my article on lower chest training will know, decline exercises must feature in any kind of chest workout in order for it to be fully effective.

As a bro split, we want to maximize every element of muscle growth we can, so we have to include declines here.

Like the incline dumbbell bench press, this is a more home-gym friendly version of the exercise than with the barbell. 

Equipment needed for decline dumbbell bench press:

5. Landmine press

The landmine press is a great exercise for the upper chest. It’s also an exercise that allows a lot of flexibility of movement, which means you can adjust technique.

The exercise requires core and torso stiffness, so provides an additional abdominal training benefit too. It’s also a new exercise for many who follow a bodybuilding workout plan.

Equipment needed for landmine press:

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plates

Rogue Fleck Bumper Plate
Read our best bumper plates guide here

Bumper plates are ideal for a home gym.

They can last a lifetime and allow you to do additional lifts which require you to drop the bar.

Our team has compared over 100 types and the Rogue Fleck plates came out on top.

They are great value, use color allowing you to quickly see how much you’re lifting and the pattern will give your home gym a unique look.

6. Cable crunch

The cable crunch is a way to train the abs with weights, without stressing the lumbar spine.

I like the exercise because there isn’t much in the way of excess rounding of the spine, and you can control the movement properly.

The cables allow you to really engage the weight throughout. You feel the effects of the weight both as you crunch, and then return to the starting position. 

Equipment needed for cable crunches:

REP FT-5000

REP Fitness FT-5000 Cable Machine
Read our best cable machine guide here

This is the cable machine we recommend for ‘most people’.

We compared over 100 cable machines against 10 criteria. This is our highest-ranked cable machine.

The main reason is this is commercial-like quality for a reasonable price.

It also boasts a 224lbs weight stack on both sides. Comparable models have sub 200lbs.

Some cable machines can feel a bit wobbly during certain exercises, but the FT-5000 provides exceptionally stable and smooth resistance throughout the entire range of motion.

Workout 2 – Back Day

Chin Ups58-101 min
D’bell Seal Row5101 min
Cable Row5101 min
Pull Ups56-81 min
Reverse Fly5151 min
Russian Twists5121 min
Bro split workout 2

1. Chin ups

I like chin ups, because they’re more accessible than pull ups for most people, and they hit the biceps hard, as well as the back.

More bang for your buck, so to speak. The other benefit to the chin ups is how much they stretch the lats in the bottom position. This helps to improve shoulder health too.

Equipment needed for chin ups:

2. Dumbbell seal row

The dumbbell seal row is a fantastic way to build back, rear deltoid and biceps strength. It’s a unilateral exercise, it doesn’t require much in the way of technique, and it takes the lower back out of the equation.

It allows you to perform a full-range horizontal row without stressing the lower back. It’s a great exercise for building back muscle. If you don’t have boxes, place the bench on weight plates to raise it. 

Equipment needed for dumbbell seal rows:

3. Cable row 

The cable row is essentially the seated version of the seal row. I like it because you can lean forward and back, allowing for a huge range of movement and lat stretch.

This increases the time under tension, which translates into increased muscle building and strength.

The cable row was a big favorite of Arnold, and who are we to criticize an exercise used by the GOAT of bodybuilding!

Equipment needed for cable row:

4. Pull ups

The pull up is a very challenging exercise for many people. Whilst I prefer chin ups for most people, the pull up is a great way to train your back.

The vertical pull up can be assisted in thos case, allowing you to hit your rep numbers. If you find pull ups easy, add a weight to fatigue you at 6-8 reps.

Equipment needed for pull ups:

5. Reverse fly

Personally, I like the reverse fly on a bench more than the bent over version. I like it more because I find by supporting the chest, you put less pressure on the back.

This allows the lifter to concentrate on maximizing the contraction of the muscles. You lift a light weight here, but you get the benefit from really squeezing the muscles as you go.

Equipment needed for reverse fly:

6. Russian twists

The Russian twist is an ideal way to add rotation into your workout.

The important point with Russian twists is to make sure you rotate through the torso, rather than just move your arms from side to side.

Lift a lighter weight than you’d expect to, but emphasize the movement quality each way. 

Equipment needed for Russian twists:

Workout 3 – Leg Day

Squats5121 min
Lunges512 (per side)1 min
Stiff legged deadlifts5121 min
Split squats512 (per side)1 min
Calf raises5251 min
Hanging leg raises5101 min
Bro split workout 3

1. Squats

Squats are a great exercise for so much more than the legs. They help to engage the core, and to a lesser extent the upper back.

In this case, we’re going with relatively high volume squats, and we want to be hitting failure at the end of the sets. Keep your form good throughout and hit ful depth each time.

Equipment needed for squats:

REP PR-4000 Power Rack

REP-PR-4000 Power Rack
Read our best squat rack guide here

Looking for an affordable yet high quality power rack?

Look no further!

After comparing over 100 types of squat racks the PR-4000 came out on top.

You can add any attachment to it (including cables, dip bars and plate holders). You can even add additional uprights to back to make it even more of a beast!

The 1 inch westside hole spacing means you can position the spotter arms to the ideal height when you bench press. So you can safely drop the bar and have a full range of motion when you lift.

And the 3×3″ 11 gauge steel make this the best value rack we could find.

2. Barbell lunges

The barbell lunge is a way to force each leg to work hard on their own. Unilateral exercises like this one are great for building serious strength and muscle mass in both legs.

They also help to iron out strength imbalances between the two sides. Typically a lifter can lift more with barbell lunges than dumbbells, so push yourself here. 

Equipment needed for barbell lunges:

3. Stiff legged deadlifts

My preferred hamstring exercise is the stiff legged deadlift. It’s a way to lift a lot of weight with your hamstrings, but there’s also benefits to the glutes and lower back as well.

Another ‘bang for your buck’ exercise. The eccentric (lowering) phase of this exercise helps to maintain hamstring flexibility, which keeps the lower back healthy as well. 

Equipment needed for stiff legged deadlifts:

4. Split squats

I can’t remember the last time I programmed a leg workout without these in. I love them.

They’re unilateral (and we already know the benefits of that), plus the rear foot elevation helps to stretch the hip flexors, which is a big deal.

Most of us are tight in there, so it’s really helpful for leg, hip and back health.

Equipment needed for split squats:

5. Calf raises

Possibly the most neglected muscle of them all, the calf rarely gets the attention it deserves. You should always make sure you hit the calf muscles to reduce your injury risk.

We go high rep on calf exercises, because they’re a muscle that is used to hard work. Lift up and down through a full range of motion to make the exercise effective.

Stand on plates to create the lift you need. 

Equipment needed for calf raises:

6. Hanging leg raises

These are another one of those multi-function exercises. It’s great for the abs because it’s effectively a reverse crunch and it doesn’t stress the back.

As well as being a great ab exercise, it’s excellent for helping you to build grip strength, and it’s a good way to stretch the lats, which improves shoulder health too.

Equipment needed for hanging leg raises:

Workout 4 – Arm Day

Dips5101 min
Tricep Pushdowns5121 min
EZ Bar Curls5121 min
Incline D’Bell Curls5121 min
Hammer Curls5121 min
Hanging leg raises5101 min
Bro split workout 4

1. Dips

The dip is a great way to hit the triceps hard. It’s another big bang for your buck exercise. As well as using the triceps through a large range of motion, it also hits the chest and shoulders.

At the bottom end of the movement you stretch the chest and shoulders a lot too, so it’s not just a great muscle builder, it’s a stretch as well.

If you are able to do more than 12 dips, add a weight to fatigue at the 12 mark.

Equipment needed for dips:

2. Tricep pushdowns

The tricep pushdown is another exercise that allows you to hit your triceps along a large range of motion. In this case we’re using a straight bar, but a rope is fine as well if that’s all you have.

The aim is to keep the triceps under tension from the top to bottom of the movement, maximizing the muscle building capacity of the exercise.

Equipment needed for tricep pushdowns:

3. EZ bar curls

The EZ bar curl is a fantastic way to engage the biceps during a curl. Being a bar with different angles, it’s a much more elbow and wrist friendly option than a straight bar.

I like the EZ bar for the higher rep work (10+ reps) because of the additional engagement and the more comfortable lifting position.

Equipment needed for EZ bar curls:

4. Incline dumbbell curls

This is possibly the best curl variation of them all. The incline allows the arms to hang down straight at either side.

This gives you an almost 180 degree range of motion. With a barbell, it’ll naturally rest in front of your body, so it’s not quite a complete curl.

That’s taken away with the incline dumbbell curl. It’s also a unilateral exercise, so builds equal strength on both sides.

Equipment needed for incline dumbbell curls:

5. Hammer curls

The standing hammer curl is an additional unilateral bicep exercise to really pump up the arms.

The exercise is another test for the forearms, and the different angle of the wrist changes the way the exercise hits.

Some people can lift more with the hammer curl than the standard curl, so you might need to nudge the weights up here.

Equipment needed for hammer curls:

6. Hanging leg raises

I’ve said before, the hanging leg raise is a go-to ab exercise for me. They’re great for the abs because it’s effectively a reverse crunch and it doesn’t stress the back.

It’s also excellent for helping you to build grip strength, and it’s a good way to stretch the lats, which improves shoulder health too.

Equipment needed for hanging leg raises:

Workout 5 – Shoulder Day

Military press5101 min
Lat raises5121 min
Upright rows5121 min
Incline reverse fly5121 min
Seated dumbbell press5121 min
Barbell ab roll out5101 min
Bro split workout 5

1. Military press

The military press is a strict press, designed to build strength and muscle mass in the upper body. Unlike the push press or the push jerk, there is no involvement with the legs.

It’s a pure shoulder and arm movement. Squeeze the glutes together when pressing, to ‘lock’ the lower back in position. Don’t arch the back either.

Equipment needed for military press:

2. Lat raises

The lat raise is a way to hit the medial deltoid very effectively, and almost in isolation.

A lot of shoulder exercises hit the triceps, upper chest and anterior deltoid most, and the medial delotid is an afterthought.

With the lat raise we target the medial delt mostly. It’s one of the msot effective isolation exercises of them all.

Equipment needed for lat raises:

3. Upright rows

The barbell upright row is an exercise that divides opinion. Some people love them, others think they are risky and/or painful.

The reason they think this is because the movement puts you at risk of shoulder impingement.

In my experience the exercise only becomes an issue if your overall training program isn’t balanced, and the shoulder is put at risk.

Using an EZ bar instead of a straight bar can help ease shoulder issues if you suffer from them.

Equipment needed for upright rows:

4. Incline reverse fly

The incline reverse fly is an excellent way to target the rear deltoid.

This small muscle is incredibly important, because when it is strong it helps to improve shoulder health, offer shoulder stability and improve overall strength.

It’s also an accessory exercise for the upper back, not just the shoulders.

Equipment needed for incline reverse fly:

5. Seated dumbbell press

Just like the standing military press, the seated dumbbell press is a way to force the shoulders to work hard.

By taking the legs out of the exercise, you force the upper body to do all of the work, using no momentum to help.

It’s a great way to build shoulder strength, and it’s another unilateral exercise. 

Equipment needed for seated dumbbell press:

6. Barbell ab roll out

An anti-extension exercise, the barbell ab roll out is a seriously big challenge for the abs.

It trains them in a different direction to most ab exercises, using extension rather than flexion to engage the abdominal muscles.

It’s healthier for the spine, it’s tough work and also works as a great shoulder stabilizer at end range too.

Equipment needed for barbell ab roll outs:

5 Bro Split Workout bonus tips

Bro split bonus tips

1. Hit failure on every exercise

The purpose of the bro split is to refine a great physique. This kind of training approach is best when the heavy work has already been done, and we’re improving from a solid base.

We’re not expecting strength records here, but that doesn’t mean you don’t work hard.

You’ll notice in this workout we’re lifting at a higher rep range. The weights are lighter, and as such the demands on the nervous system aren’t as high.

This means you’re experiencing a different type of fatigue. One that you can recover from more quickly. This is why I want you to be going to failure on the final set of each exercise.

It is worth noting that Brad Schoenfeld et al found there was very little difference between muscle strength and hypertrophy of a split or full body workouts. So if it’s hypertrophy you’re after you just need to work harder.

2. Keep the rest periods to 1 minute

With lighter weights, we want the training density to be higher. This means keeping your rest periods to a strict 60 seconds. There’s a couple of benefits to keeping your rest periods tight…

  1. It helps to keep your heart rate up – this means you’ll be burning more calories in the workout, and therefore increasing your rate of fat burn.
  2. You’ll keep workouts more efficient – by monitoring rest periods your focus will be on recovering and then working, rather than scrolling on your phone. 

Intensity and density of training are key to making a bro split workout work well and deliver results for you.

It might mean you drop your weights slightly, but that’s fine as long as it benefits your lifting and workout quality.

3. Rest hard

When you’re training 5 days per week with this level of intensity, you need to make sure that you’re resting properly.

What this means is that you prioritize your sleep, your stretching and your nutrition. 

When it comes to nutrition, I suggest you follow the diet advice we give in the ‘Nutrition for Fitness’ guide. 

Ensuring you are resting properly means you’ll be fresh, recovered and ready for your next workout.

It’ll mean the demands of a 5 workouts per week bro split will be OK, and you’ll be able to cope with them and avoid overtraining. 

4. Limit your cardio

This bro split workout plan involves five workouts per week. That’s plenty of training time to achieve your fitness and physique goals.

You don’t need to increase your weekly workout time by adding cardio in as well.

The purpose of the tight rest periods in the workouts is to keep heart rate high. By doing this you turn your resistance training workouts into a cardio workout as well.

Two birds, one stone kind of thing. As well as building muscle you’ll be burning fat, so you don’t need to do any additional cardio.

Adding cardio to your workouts will increase your training time, reduce your available rest time and put too much pressure on your body.

5. Don’t skip workouts

In a bro split workout every body part is given its own day. The exception being abs, because we add that into every workout at the end.

You therefore can’t skip a workout – if you do, you’ve missed an entire body part.

You might think that if you skip a workout it’s OK, you can just add it in another day. That’s a silly thing to do though, because you end up with double the training volume on another day.

That doesn’t just make that day harder, it also means your additional work will suffer because of your reduced energy levels.

Finally, you’ve got even more work to recover from. Nobody wants that!

If you miss a day try to get it in at the weekend to make up for it (or whenever one of your rest days are!)

Steve working out with a heavy pair of dumbbells

Bro Split Workout program: The bottom line

You’ve built your strength, now you want to build your muscle and refine your physique. That’s where the bro split comes in. 

We train each body part with maximum intensity and effectiveness. We’re the sculptors carving the statue from the rock!

Re-read the article and familiarize yourself with the workouts, the exercises, and the technique. Print the workouts out, get your favorite workout music on and get busy – there’s a physique to build. 

You’re 12 weeks from your best shape ever…

Check out our advanced weight lifting routine plan after you’re finished with this.

Want to improve your home gym?

Use the hours of research, testing and experience inside the ultimate guide to build a home gym. Find out…

  • The 4 items of kit every gym needs
  • What you should avoid
  • Where to find bargains and discounts

Click here to learn more about how to build a home gym.

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Steve Hoyles is a certified personal trainer and gym owner. Since graduating with his Sports Science degree in 2004 he's worked in the fitness industry, helping thousands of people reach their health and fitness goals. His writing has been read by millions of people in over 200 countries as he inspires to help as many people as possible live a healthy lifestyle.

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