2 vs 3 Rotation for High Intensity/Low Volume Split

I am running a high intensity/low volume upper/lower. Quite DC-esque, written by Jordan Peters.
On exercise per body part, rest paused.

So basically my week looks like this:
Mon: heavy upper
Tues: heavy lower
Thur: light upper
Fri: light lower

I have 3 variations for each muscles group, let’s say incline smith, incline db Press, decline bench.

Every week i do one variation (everything rest paused)

So week 1 i do incline smith (5-10 RM) on monday; incline smith (15-25 RM) on thursday.

Week 2 i do do incline db (5-10 RM) on monday; incline db (15-25 RM) on thursday

Week 3 i do do decline bench (5-10 RM) on monday; decline bench (15-25 RM) on thursday.

Week 4 i start back the rotation and beat the logbook


Do you believe doing 2 rotations instead of 3 would affect progress?

No. 2 vs 3 rotations is unlikely to hurt and may actually help for some. Personally, I don’t like the 3 exercise rotation way of running that type of setup. Personally. The mind-muscle connection and groove with a given movement on a lower volume/high effort program is important. Mike Israetel just posted a video on this point.

Indeed! It seems to me that an eternity passes between when I do an exercise and when I do it again… however I understand that 3 rotations, compared to 2, have the objective of creating fewer stalls and reducing overuse injuries

I feel that 2 variations will be enough for most people. 3 variations will become more relevant the more advanced you get. Until 2 becomes an actual problem I’d just do whatever you prefer. There will be pros and cons to both but the cons of 2 will let you know when it’s time to switch to 3. Even if something does cause an overuse issue, in most circumstances you can just sub an exercise rather than adding a 3rd variation.

Once again, my experience only, a 3 exercise rotation A) Never helped with stalls, B) Regarding overuse injuries…this is coming from a former Olympic lifter and powelifter, it takes ME a lot to approach “overuse” on a given movement.

That’s more a matter of recognizing something else is going on (too high on the intensity/volume scale over long periods, maybe poor technique, etc).

@cdep89 @sirdanoman and by the way, even with 2 exercise variations i am hitting every muscle in 4 different ways: every exercise light and lower in different days, so probably It makes even more sense to have 2 exercise variations


Try it. If you “need” the variety, do the 3 way rotation. It just doesn’t click with me.

If I could give an example without being rude, here’s how I run a similar setup with a push-pull split.

My main “push” tonight is more horizontal press oriented. I’m back to a low incline barbell press after a summer of kettlebells (necessity, our basement has been demolished and we’re rebuilding so lifting outside with bells). I’ll do a secondary delt biased movement but its often a superset of lateral raise, delt sweeps, pull aparts, etc. Light, higher reps to failure.

Next time, I’ll start with a main overhead press and do a secondary chest biased movement with lighter weights, slower eccentrics, etc.

I get variety that way but keep close to the same movements. If I “stall” on one of my money lifts, instead of changing the lift; I change tempo, rep scheme, angle(inclines), etc and keep progressing that way. Novelty for the sake of novelty isn’t a thing…for me.