WOW: The Bro Workout

Complete 5 cycles of:

10 Dips
7 Pullups
10 Handstand Pushups
10 Inverted Rows

As with nearly all WOWs, this workout is scalable. Read on for beginner substitutes and variations.


Warmup: 2 Grok Hangs, 10 fist pumps.

As often as we like to poke fun of those lopsided, top-heavy dudes strutting around the gym and preening in front of mirrors with NO Xplode-stained mouths, you gotta admit: they have great arms. Today’s Workout of the Week is heavily influenced by their preferred mode of exercise. It’s The Bro Workout, an upper body-centric complex. See, full body workouts are important, but the lower body stuff that the general population tends to ignore, like squats and deadlifts, enjoy an exalted position in the evolutionary fitness community – almost to the point of neglecting the upper body. This WOW address this phenomenon. Biceps and triceps and lats are crucial parts of the body that contribute to the overall function of the whole and should never be neglected. And if they happen to develop striations or grow conspicuous underneath t-shirts, all the better.

Bicep curls, lateral raises, and tricep pulldowns are unnecessary, however; pullups, inverted rows, dips, and handstand pushups are sufficient for building both strength and big arms. Pullups and inverted rows will make you a stronger (not necessarily more skillful) climber, better at drawing things in toward your body, and allow you to give good hugs. They will also work the heck out of your biceps, even more so if you opt for palms-in chinups. Dips may not isolate your triceps, but they’ll force you to use your arms as the comprehensive tools that they are – and they’ll get bigger and more defined for it. Handstand pushups are just a badass way to train balance and the ability to push heavy things over your head; they’ll also help develop big strong delts and traps.

The Bro Workout will satisfy both your desire for a ripped, attractive upper body and to function effectively and powerfully in the world around you. We all want the looks that go along with the physical prowess. There’s no point in hiding that simple fact. In fact, it’s all part of the fitness package. How else does an animal like you display your prowess without having to constantly engage in something physical? Through appearance.

A few things to remember:

  • On pullups, drive your elbows toward your ribs for more lat and back engagement; squeeze your biceps and turn your palms inward if you’re going full-on bro to focus on your biceps.
  • You can do inverted rows on whatever you’re using to do the dips. Elevate your feet for a tougher go.
  • If you haven’t tried ballistic dips, where you throw your body up in the air at the top of each rep, try them now.


You can substitute free weighted movements for some of these if you prefer: overhead presses for handstand pushups, bent over rows for inverted rows. And you can, as always, add a weight vest to the pullups, dips, and handstand pushups to increase the difficulty. If you feel guilty about neglecting your legs (for even a single workout), toss in some squats or sprints afterward.

If you can’t complete a pullup or a handstand pushup, for example, use the PBF Essential Movements Progression and Self-Assessment to determine which movements you can complete. Even if you’re doing chair pullups and jack knife presses, that’s totally fine! Do what you can.

What are WOWs?

  • Workouts of the Week (WOWs) are an optional component of Primal Blueprint Fitness that add a fractal and often fun and playful quality to the basic PBF protocol.
  • In most cases WOWs should only be completed by those that have mastered Level 4 of each Lift Heavy Things Essential Movement. Also, it’s recommended that WOWsreplace one or both Lift Heavy Things workouts or the Sprint workout (depending on the WOW) each week instead of being done in addition to the Lift Heavy Things and Sprint workouts.
  • Learn more about WOWs and Primal Blueprint Fitness by getting the free eBook. And access all Workouts of the Week in the WOW Archive.

About the Author

Mark Sisson is the founder of Mark’s Daily Apple, godfather to the Primal food and lifestyle movement, and the New York Times bestselling author of The Keto Reset Diet. His latest book is Keto for Life, where he discusses how he combines the keto diet with a Primal lifestyle for optimal health and longevity. Mark is the author of numerous other books as well, including The Primal Blueprint, which was credited with turbocharging the growth of the primal/paleo movement back in 2009. After spending three decades researching and educating folks on why food is the key component to achieving and maintaining optimal wellness, Mark launched Primal Kitchen, a real-food company that creates Primal/paleo, keto, and Whole30-friendly kitchen staples.

If you'd like to add an avatar to all of your comments click here!