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Bro Split vs. PPL: Which Workout Routine Is Right for You?

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two men are working out illustrating different workout approaches_bro split vs ppl
Kris Gethin post Reviewer Kris Gethin post Reviewer
Verified by Kris Gethin
Professional Natural Bodybuilder, Transformation Trainer, IRONMAN triathlete, Co-founder of the Kris Gethin Gyms franchise

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If you’ve just joined a gym, you may have heard of the debate comparing the push-pull-legs split, or PPL for short, vs. the Bro Split, where you train different body parts (chest, back, legs, shoulders, etc.) each day of the week. Understanding which one would be best for you can be rather confusing if you are new to exercising.

In this article, we will compare the Bro Split vs. the PPL split, so you can pick whichever one better suits your needs and goals. 

Bro Split: Basics & Benefits

The Bro Split is designed to target a minimum of one and a maximum of two muscle groups per workout, with each muscle being worked only once a week. This allows you to pick a preferred training frequency for each muscle group and customize your workout length based on your schedule and your goals. 

A typical bro split workout schedule may look like this:

  • Mon: Chest
  • Tue: Back
  • Wed: Arms
  • Thu: Legs
  • Fri: Shoulders
  • Sat & Sun: Rest

Focusing on only one group at a time also allows you to utilize isolation exercises which develop specific areas of your physique that may be lacking.

Depending on whether you train one muscle group or two per workout, you can do as few as four training sessions a week or as many as six. Although 4-5 sessions per week is standard. 

This workout split is very easy to follow, which is why it is particularly popular among fitness enthusiasts. Those who train using the bro split method can focus all their attention and effort on one or two groups at a time, giving those muscles plenty of time to recover before their next workout. 

On the other hand, focusing on each muscle only once a week has given this split a bad reputation among some gym goers, as they believe it doesn’t provide the right training volume to promote muscle growth. 

Benefits of Bro Split

Below you can find the core benefits of the Bro Split:

  • Allows you to focus on individual muscle groups 
  • Can be tailored to individual goals and time availability
  • Allows for more rest and recovery time in between sessions that target the same muscle groups
  • Some people find this split more varied and enjoyable as you can target different muscles in each workout
  • You can achieve good training volume within a single session

Drawbacks of Bro Split

After evaluating the benefits of the Bro Split, below you can find the drawbacks of it:

  • Offers limited overall body development due to each muscle being targeted once per week
  • May lead to muscle imbalances, especially between the legs and the upper body
  • Requires more time commitment per workout to achieve a good training volume within  a single weekly session
  • Can lead to intense DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness), especially if you are a beginner
  • Involves a higher risk of injury due to the high training intensity individual muscles are exposed to in each session
  • Can only be used for hypertrophy and not strength training 

PPL Workout Routine: Basics & Benefits

PPL splits divide workouts based on the motion required to target the specific muscles of the upper body, which are pulling or pushing, and the legs. 

Pushing exercises require you to move weight away from your body, and they target the triceps, the chest, and the shoulders. Similarly, pulling exercises require you to move weight toward the body, and they target the back and the biceps. Since compound movements target several muscle groups at once, you can do more in less time, so PPL workouts tend to be shorter. 

A PPL is split into three different workouts, Push, Pull, and Legs. This means you can do each workout once a week and still hit every muscle group over three training days or twice a week to achieve a greater training volume for each muscle group. 

These workouts often incorporate more compound movements such as bench presses, bent-over rows, and leg presses or bodyweight variations like push-ups, pull-ups, and squats. PPL is one of the most popular splits among fitness enthusiasts because you can work on both strength and hypertrophy. Also, it is suited for all levels of experience.

Benefits of PPL

Below you can find the main benefits of PPL splits:

  • Allows you to develop the whole body evenly with fewer workouts
  • It’s a more time-efficient workout split, as it targets multiple muscle groups per session
  • Allows for better overall strength training as the emphasis is on compound movements in which several muscle groups work together
  • Suitable for different fitness levels, even beginners
  • Provides a higher training frequency, which is beneficial for muscle development [1]

Drawbacks of PPL

Below you can find some of the main drawbacks of PPL splits:

  • May not allow for enough rest and recovery time in between sessions targeting the same muscles
  • May not be ideal if you have specific goals for developing areas of your physique
  • IRequires a higher weekly training frequency to achieve an ideal training volume for each muscle group    
  • Sessions are usually higher in intensity as it mainly focuses on compound exercises and less on isolated movements

Bro Split vs. PPL

Both the Bro Split and the PPL are great ways to achieve results at the gym, although the two have some differences that may make them more or less ideal, depending on your specific fitness goals.

Below is a table comparing the PPL vs. Bro Split to help you thoroughly understand the main differences and characteristics of the two training styles. 

Bro SplitPPL
Muscle groupsOne or two specific muscle groups per workoutMultiple muscle groups per workout
Workout frequency4-6 days per week, with 1-2 rest days3-6 days per week, with 1-2 rest days
Time per workoutLonger workouts (60-90 minutes) to target specific muscle groupsShorter workouts (30-60 minutes) to target multiple muscle groups
Muscle balanceMay lead to muscle imbalances if weekly split is not balanced correctlyDesigned to balance overall body development with fewer weekly workouts
AdaptabilityCan be challenging for beginners and may lead to intense DOMSBeginner-friendly
Rest and recoveryAllows for more rest and recovery time between muscle groupsMay not allow for enough rest and recovery time between workouts

Bro Split vs. PPL: Choosing the Right Routine

To figure out which training routine will suit you best, you need to take into consideration the following factors when comparing the Bro Split vs. the Push-Pull-Legs split:

  • Fitness level
  • Time commitment
  • Individual goals

When to Choose Bro Split

The Bro Split benefits bodybuilders who need to achieve greater muscle pump and volume or those who want to target and develop specific body parts. 

The split is also good for people who have more time to commit to exercise and want to achieve muscle-building results.

When to Choose PPL

PPL is best suited for lifters with any level of experience, even beginners, who want to increase either muscle size or muscle strength, or both. 

PPL is also ideal for individuals with less time to go to the gym during the week or less time to commit to each workout, as this split allows them to achieve more over a shorter period. And if you want to achieve good training volumes for muscle growth, you need to achieve a higher training frequency per week.

Wrapping Up

Both PPL and the Bro Split can help you achieve your goals, although they both have specific characteristics that can be more or less ideal for you based on several factors. Below you can find the core takeaways of this article about Bro Splits vs. PPL:

  • The Bro Split targets a maximum of 2 muscle groups per workout, with each muscle only being worked once per week. This allows you to obtain great training volume in each session and provides more recovery time between workouts.
  • The Bro Split allows you to create a training schedule based on your time availability, as you can decide the number of muscle groups to train per session, as well as the duration and frequency of workouts.
  • The PPL split divides workouts into pushing and pulling motions for the upper body, and a leg session that targets the whole lower body.
  • PPL splits include three workouts that you can do twice a week if you want to achieve greater training volume. Although this also means it allows for less recovery and rest between sessions.
  • PPL can help develop your muscles evenly across the body, while the Bro Split may lead to muscular imbalances between the upper and the lower body if not followed properly.
  • The Bro Split is ideal for bodybuilders and those who want to target specific body areas. PPL is ideal for those who aim to achieve greater overall strength.
Disclaimer This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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