Become a HUSLA

Making the Shift from a Bro-Split to a Structured Training Plan | PT

Person Trainer & Coach Marcus interacts with a client.

— Marcus La Greca

When I think about the reasons I started training, Zyzz, Jeff Seid and Callum Von Moger come to mind. These now iconic fitness influencers had a massive impact on me, and probably on all of you too. 

I remember watching videos of these guys pumping out set after set, rep after rep, time after time until absolute failure. Obliterating any muscle group that they were training on any given day. Generally, their ideologies on training were very similar and they all relayed the same advice. Work as hard as you can, for as long as possible, as many times as you can a week. Then you will be as jacked, shredded and aesthetic as you need to be to fulfill your destiny. 

What I understood at the time, but can better identify now, is that this was a very egotistical attitude to training. Not only is it irresponsible to advocate training like this to beginner (and potentially non-enhanced) gym-goers but in my opinion, this is partially responsible for the superficial and unrealistic image that most (not all) gym influencers sell to their followers these days. 

This is what is now identified in the industry as ‘Bro training’ and is still religious for many gym-goers today. This blog wishes to discuss how many of these methods are outdated and could be hindering your progression. 

What is a Bro-Split? 

A bro-split generally consists of a bunch of isolation exercises that would target one, maybe two muscle groups per session. This means that each muscle group is only trained once a week, going balls to walls with very minimal rest periods. It is also generally accompanied by excessive amounts of tensing in the mirror, tons of protein and super-tight clothing. 

Bro-splits have shown to work for most untrained gym-goers in their first 6-12 months of training. This could be justified by our knowledge that the body of an untrained athlete is far more susceptible to gaining strength and muscle in the initial period of training. This is due to very little previous muscular adaptations. I have seen this with myself and with many clients that have come to me saying that a substantial amount of progress in muscle and strength gains was made in their first 6 months of training. However, after this period, they found themselves hitting a wall where not much further progress was made. 

We understand that people have been getting seriously jacked for as long as we can remember. Through the accomplishments of many old school fitness models and bodybuilders, history has proven that bro-splits do work. However, these days there are more efficient ways of getting jacked thanks to the rise in evidence-based training, the boom of the fitness industry and with many more experienced and dedicated athletes and coaches that have come with it. 

What have we learnt from evidence-based training? 

Evidence-based training has taught us that there are a number of principles that can be applied to a program to ensure that maximum muscle hypertrophy is achieved. The image below features some, but not all of these training principles.


How can adopting a HUSLA program with these principles work for you? 

At HUSLA, we individualise each program to be as enjoyable as possible. We understand that even the best-written program in the world is useless if a client doesn’t adhere to it. The perfect plan is no longer perfect which is why we manage each client differently under the umbrella of our philosophies. 

Before writing a program, we ask ourselves what is this client's overall goal? Generally, it’s that the client wants to get bigger and/or stronger so we select exercises, rep ranges and number of sets specific to these goals.  We know that to achieve hypertrophy, a rep range of 3-30 reps can be justified as hypertrophic when taken to RPE 6+ or with 4 or less RIR(reps in reserve). *Refer to RPE blog on for more info*. These rep ranges can be completed in 3-10 sets per session, per muscle group and up to 20 sets per week, per muscle group (in some cases more is applicable).

At HUSLA we are sure to be mindful of the stimulus to fatigue ratio. This means that we use a combination of both compound movements and isolation exercises based on a client’s overall goals. An example of a very fatiguing leg exercise would be a low bar back squat as it requires effort from a ton of muscles in the body, generating a lot of fatigue in more than just your legs. The opposite of this would be a leg extension which creates a lot more stimulation through just the quads. This makes it easier to create and hold tension for a higher amount of reps which is valuable in hypertrophy. 



An isolation exercise such as a bicep curl would be considered as 1 full set of bicep stimulation. A compound exercise such as a seated row would count as a 1⁄2 set. Applying the correct intensity to each of your exercises will also play a vital part in your progression. It is important to understand that each exercise can have more or less value depending on an individual and their goals. Just because you’ve seen a video of chest brah on the internet doing 1000 reps of decline cable flys 3 times a day doesn’t mean that it will work for you. 

Once exercise selection and total volume have been determined, it is important that a program is designed with correct training frequency. The frequency that any given muscle is being trained is extremely important due to the absorption of protein in the body. After a workout, our bodies are more susceptible to synthesising protein by up to 20%. This is known as the ‘anabolic window’, which was once widely thought to close 40 minutes post-training. Hence why you will see a lot of guys/girls with a protein shaker in their hand whilst they’re leaving the gym. We now understand that the anabolic window does exist, however can be extended for 24 hours. What was once known as the ‘anabolic window’ could now be thought of as the ‘Anabolic French Doors’. it is the total amount of protein your muscles can synthesise in a serving/in a day to repair soft tissue which is broken down during training to help them grow back bigger and stronger. Roughly 20-50 grams of protein post workout is optimal. As we understand that our bodies can absorb more protein after a workout, it is for this reason that it is recommended to expose muscles to a stimulus from 2-4 times per week. A perfect analogy for training frequency is comparing it to brushing your teeth. You probably brush your teeth for approx. 60 seconds, twice a day, 7 days a week. You know this amount of brushing is required to keep your gums and teeth at optimal health, however you wouldn’t brush your teeth once a week for 14 minutes and expect the same results. 

Periodisation is an important way to manage client long term goals. We have a set system which we use that includes four phases. 1) 1-5 rep range, 2) 5-10 rep range, 3) 8-15 rep range, and 4) 15-20 rep range. Generally, we cycle through these mesocycle to mesocycle and manage it based on clients' feedback. Fatigue management is generally managed through deload weeks. These periods can be dedicated through less volume, less intensity using RPE and an increase in calories.

There is still a time and place to be a heavy (don’t freak out)

As we can see from the list above; applying these training principles is vital for achieving muscle strength and size gains consistently. Once the honeymoon period of training is over,  our bodies start to adapt to the stresses and loads that once forced them to grow. Without a change in stimulus; progression in muscle size and strength slow right down. I would recommend seeking guidance as soon as possible to ensure that you are giving yourself the best opportunity to train as efficiently as possible. This means maximising progress and minimising injury, plateau and monotony.

To finish on an absolute high; even with a structured program there is still and always will be a place to release the inner bro from within. Tight clothes, sickening arm pumps (generally your green light for freedom of exercises selection), trance music, drop sets and heaaaps of pre workout will always have a place in our hearts and even in our programs. Like anything in life, a healthy balance is vital for long term adherence, fun and success. If you can monitor your bro-ness and follow a structured training plan, then in the words of one of the most aesthetic men to ever live... WE are ALL gonna make it brahs <3. 

If any of this blog has resonated with you and you are looking to take your training to the next level by adopting a structured training plan. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to message me directly.

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— Marcus La Greca