Complete Guide To Smolov Squat And Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routines

M&S Writers
Written By: M&S Writers
April 23rd, 2013
Updated: March 26th, 2021
Tags: Expert Guide
335.4K Reads
Smolov and Smolov Jr. are incredibly intense but effective approaches for improving your squat and bench strength. This guide helps you to maximize these routines.
This Guide Teaches You:
  • What to expect during the 13 week Smolov cycle.
  • Who is ready for Smolov and Smolov Jr.
  • About the program layout, and how you will be lifting during each week.
  • How to prepare for and recover from a Smolov training session.
  • What is needed in terms of diet and training to maximize Smolov.
  • How the Smolov Jr. bench press cycle is set up.
  • What the pros and cons of Smolov are.
Table of Contents:
  1. 1. Inroduction to Smolov
    1. 1.1. A Warning About Smolov Training
  2. 2. Smolov Program Layout
    1. 2.1. Introductory Microcycle – Weeks 1-2
    2. 2.2. Base Mesocycle
    3. 2.3. Weeks 7 & 8 – Switching
    4. 2.4. Weeks 9-12 – Intense Mesocycle
    5. 2.5. Week 13 – Tapering
  3. 3. Preparing For (and Recovering From) a Smolov Session
  4. 4. Tips For Smolov Success
    1. 4.1. Develop A Love For Food & Rest
    2. 4.2. Minimize Accessory Work
    3. 4.3. Choose Sensible Weights
    4. 4.4. Mental Preparation for Physical Pain
    5. 4.5. Only Do the Base Microcycle & 3 Sessions a Week
  5. 5. Smolov Bench Routine
    1. 5.1. The Smolov Bench Press Routine
    2. 5.2. Smolov Jr. Tips
    3. 5.3. Assistance Work
    4. 5.4. Protect Your Shoulders
  6. 6. Pros & Cons of Smolov Squat Routine & Smolov Jr.
    1. 6.1. Pros of Smolov Jr.
    2. 6.2. Cons of Smolov Jr.
  7. 7. Conclusion


If you’re lamenting your lack of squat progress and are seeking a ‘magic bullet’, you won’t find one here. However, if you’re ready, willing and able to go through 13 weeks of pure hell, we have something that could potentially add 50-100 pounds onto your existing squat 1RM.

You may have already heard of the Smolov squat routine and if you have, the following is a comprehensive guide that will enable you to learn more about the routine as well as mental and physical preparation and believe me, you will need it!

Smolov for squatsThis particular routine was developed by Sergey Smolov (hence the name) but was brought into the popular domain by Pavel ‘The Mad Russian’ Tsatsouline. According to Pavel, either of the 2 x 4 week loading blocks contains more heavy squatting than normally found in a full year of training of the typical ‘Western’ lifter. The entire routine is 13 weeks long and is divided into 5 distinct phases:

  • Weeks 1-2 – Introductory ‘light’ microcycle
  • Weeks 3-6 – Base Mesocycle
  • Weeks 7-8 – The Switching Phase
  • Weeks 9-12 – Intense Mesocycle
  • Week 13 – Tapering Week

The first 2 weeks helps you acclimatize to the brutal 4 week base mesocycle where you will squat 4 times a week. For most lifters, this is the period that provides the most gains but persevere through the switching phase and the next 4 weeks of pain and you could see even greater rewards not to mention oak trees where your legs once were and a new-found ability to attack heavy training.

A Warning About Smolov Training

If you are a beginner or early intermediate, the Smolov squat routine is not for you for a number of reasons:

Technique: To get through Smolov in one piece, your existing technique needs to be excellent. ‘Decent’ or ‘okay’ technique will almost guarantee injury since you will be squatting with weights you’re simply not used to. On the vast majority of days, you will be at near maximum exertion and those with shoddy or average technique will be hit hard. For those with proficient technique, Smolov will serve to solidify it.

Frequency: If you are a relative newcomer, you have not yet learned how to train at your full capacity and are still in a learning zone. To complete Smolov, you need to be inured to hard training to a certain degree and should be squatting relatively heavy weights twice a week at least. Making the jump from one hard session a week to four is too great a leap.

Mentality: When you get to the real ‘nitty gritty’ of Smolov, your mental strength will be tested to its limit. If you have spent your training life following traditional cookie-cutter programs, the intensity of Smolov will blow you away and reduce you to a weeping wreck about a week into the base mesocycle. You will regularly be in a situation where it feels as if you are about to fail every single rep. Beginners and early intermediates lack the ability to push through such barriers.

Additionally, the DOMS (muscle soreness) you get will test your desire to train.

Smolov Program Layout

Before beginning the program, you will need to choose your 1RM as everything is based on a percentage of this figure. It is advisable to choose approximately 90% of your existing 1RM for reasons that are outlined later on. The purpose of the introductory microcycle is to prime your body for the assault that lies ahead. You will work up to 90% of the 1RM you have plugged in for this program before tackling the 4 week base mesocycle which could boost your existing 1RM by 30-60 pounds.

Two weeks of ‘switching’ changes things up and involves dynamic effort squatting. The intense mesocycle will yet again test your mettle and could give you another 20-40 pound boost. Finally, you conclude the program which a one week tapering off period and a final max attempt to discover how many pounds Smolov has added to your squat.

(In the following cycles, sets are written before reps and the percentage is added at the end. 3 x 8 @ 65% means 3 sets of 8 reps at 65% of the 1RM you are using for the program while 10 x 3 @ 85% means 10 sets of 3 reps at 85% and so on. If you use 400 pounds as your 1RM, 65% is 260 pounds so you would be squatting 3 set of 8 reps at 260 pounds. It is best to round figures down rather than up.)

Introductory Microcycle – Weeks 1-2

Get ready for pain! This microcycle is used as preparation and really should not feel too heavy. You’ll squat 3 days on both weeks and the program is as follows:

Week 1

  • Day 1 – 3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%
  • Day 2 – Exactly the same as day 1
  • Day 3 – 4 x 5 @ 70%, 1 x 3 @ 75%, 2 x 2 @ 80%, 1 x 1 @90%

Week 2

  • Day 1 – 1 x 5 @ 80%
  • Day 2 – 1 x 5 @ 82.5%
  • Day 3 – 1 x 5 @ 85%

It is important to note that during week one, you are to squat three days in a row. The next three days are dedicated to stretching your legs to speed up your recovery with lunges a good choice of exercise. During week 2, you can elect to have a rest day between sessions if you wish and Smolov also encourages explosive drills such as jumps that are to be performed after the squat session.

Smolov for squats

Base Mesocycle

Hopefully, you will have increased your calorie intake accordingly during the previous two weeks and be fuelled up and ready for action. After successfully completing the first base mesocycle week, you will be asked to add 20 pounds (or 10kg if your gym uses plates in kilos rather than pounds) for the following week. If you get through this, you will be asked to add another 10 pounds for the third base mesocycle week and the whole thing looks something like this:

Week 3

  • Monday – 4 x 9@ 70%
  • Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75%
  • Friday – 7 x 5@80%
  • Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85%

Week 4

  • Monday – 4 x 9@70 + 20 pound increase from Week 3
  • Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
  • Friday – 7 x 5@80% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
  • Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 20 pound increase from Week 3

Week 5

  • Monday – 4 x 9@70 + 30 pound increase from Week 3
  • Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
  • Friday – 7 x 5@80% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
  • Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 30 pound increase from Week 3

Week 6

  • Monday & Wednesday – Rest
  • Friday – Work up to max single
  • Saturday – Work up to max single

Hopefully, you will understand why it is best to use a conservative 1RM. By week 5 of Smolov, you will be hitting several PRs a session so you need to be ready. For example, if you use a 1RM of 400 pounds, you will squat 10 x 3 @ 340 pounds in week 3 and 10 x 3 @ 370 pounds in week 5! If you start failing sets in weeks 4 and 5, you’re well on your way to failing the program. Provided you follow the tips outlined later on in the article, you have an excellent chance of success.

Weeks 7 & 8 – Switching

You will be grateful for the opportunity to rest those weary legs as this is a two week period with no regulated set and rep pattern. Smolov recommends dynamic effort squatting and it is best not to go above 60% of your new 1RM. In fact, you may prefer to stay closer to 50% and don’t go above 3 reps during a dynamic effort day. Some lifters like to follow Westside Barbell principles and box squat 12 sets of 2 but it’s really up to you.

Smolov also advocates negative squats which involve using a weight greater than your 1RM but only concentrating on the descent. In other words, you unrack the bar, squat down slowly until the bar rests on preset safety bars and leave it. Other explosive exercises that can be performed include box jumps and deep squat jumps. This period should be little more than an active rest so listen to your body and don’t go overboard.

Smolov for squats

Weeks 9-12 – Intense Mesocycle

As if the base mesocycle wasn’t intense enough! This is 4 weeks of grinding difficulty and Smolov took it from I. M. Feduleyev, a Russian weightlifting coach who originally designed it as a loading block on its own. The intense mesocycle grinds people into dust and many lifters elect to focus solely on the base mesocycle for this reason. However, if you’re ready for it, an extra 20+ pounds could be your reward.

44% of all reps used in the next 4 weeks will be in the 81-90% range with some 95% work thrown in for good measure though on the plus side, you’re only squatting 3 days a week now instead of 4. Due to the extraordinarily difficult nature of this section, you should once again take 10% off your new 1RM or else you will almost certainly fail.

Simply put, 5 sets of 5 reps @ 90% of your true 1RM just isn’t happening! If you get stuck, reduce the weights by 5% or more while keeping the same set/rep scheme. As Pavel said, ‘there will be days when you wish you had stuck to stamp collecting!

Week 9

  • Monday – 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 75%, 3 x 4@ 85%, 1 x 5@ 90%
  • Wednesday – 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@ 90%, 2 x 5@ 85%
  • Saturday – 1 x 4@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 70%, 5 x 4@ 80%

Week 10

  • Monday – 1 x 4@ 60%, 1 x 4@70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@90%, 2 x 4@ 90%
  • Wednesday – 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 3 x 3@ 90%, 1 x 3@ 95%
  • Saturday – 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 85%, 4 x 5@ 90%

Week 11

  • Monday – 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
  • Wednesday - 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 3@ 95%
  • Saturday - 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 4 x 3@ 95%

Week 12

  • Monday – 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
  • Wednesday – 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 4 x 3@ 95%
  • Saturday – 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 80%

Week 13 – Tapering

By now, you will be completely fed up with squatting but if you have made all the reps so far, it is certain that you’ll be smashing a 1RM very soon. You will spend Monday-Saturday resting with a light session thrown in before you attempt your 1RM on Sunday. If you are an experienced lifter with great recovery powers and a penchant for masochism, you could follow the Smolov final week plan:

  • Monday – 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 5@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 95%
  • Wednesday – 1 x 4@ 75%, 4 x 4@ 85%
  • Sunday – Max attempt

However, it really is best if you rest up since you have pushed your body to its very limit in the previous 4 weeks. This means week 13 should be as follows:

  • Wednesday – 1 x 4@ 75%, 1 x 5@ 85%
  • Sunday – Max attempt

Preparing For (and Recovering From) a Smolov Session

It is common sense to warm up properly before any training session so if you’re one of those people that does a half-assed job, you need to stop what you’re doing and pay attention! A poor warm up means you greatly increase your chances of sustaining an injury given the intensity of Smolov.


From about 60 minutes before your session, it’s time to get into training mode so consume whey protein, creatine, peanut butter and caffeine. The most effective way to do this is of course through a protein shake. Consuming this food gives you amino acids and oils which help you power through the demanding sessions. Obviously, the caffeine gives you that extra kick you need.

You can do 5 minutes on the treadmill or else you can jump rope before engaging in a dynamic warm up consisting of leg swings, high knees, shoulder cyclones, bodyweight squats and any other warm up exercise you want. Foam rolling is also an excellent idea following by some stretching for all areas of the body since the squat is the ultimate full body workout.

Smolov for squats

During & After Training

Do not be afraid to have sugar during training and snack on small sugary items like M&M’s during sets. This is not a necessity of course and you can avoid if you hate the idea of eating too much junk food but Smolov survivors claim it helps! After the session, immediately get some protein and trashy carbs before you even shower and have a proper meal within 60 minutes of your session ending. Never neglect to warm down so this means more light cardio, foam rolling and stretching. If you forget to do this, the intense pain you feel the following day will serve as a reminder not to do so again!

Tips For Smolov Success

You can’t approach Smolov in a haphazard manner. Regardless of your physical conditioning and training experience, you are about to go to war with the squat rack for 13 weeks so be ready for success with these tips.

Develop A Love For Food & Rest

If you’ve been training for a considerable length of time and have brought your squat up to a respectable level, you will hopefully have some idea of how to eat big to bring up your numbers. Generally, I would not recommend increasing calories to any major degree during a routine unless the weights stall.

Anyone can simply ‘eat’ and pile weight on the bar (and around their waist) but this often happens at the expense of proper training technique and progression. Normally, it is best to gradually increase calories as you get stronger to avoid unnecessary fat gain but Smolov is an exception.

If you’re scared of losing your abs or don’t want to gain weight, forget about Smolov. You will fail miserably on this program if you don’t drastically increase your calorie intake. This is one of those rare periods where eating ‘dirty’ food is actually encouraged. Obviously, you need to continue eating good quality food but now, you can add pizza, chocolate cake, candy, peanut butter and other forms of assorted ‘junk’ food that you shouldn’t normally indulge in.

You will need caffeine, sugar, BCAAs, creatine and other items in order to speed up your recovery because your body will be under immense strain. Forget your 6-pack for the time being and besides, this routine will strengthen your whole body, abs included so you’ll actually look like someone who lifts.

It should go without saying that sleep is a priority if you wish to succeed so tape those late night shows and go to bed! If you can manage 8 hours of good quality sleep a night, you greatly increase your chances of making it through Smolov in one piece. Cardio should consist of fast walking only and leave jogging/sprinting etc. on the back burner until the program is completed. Remember, a strength increase is the goal here so anything that potentially interferes with the mission must be ruthlessly cut out.

Smolov Jr for benchMinimize Accessory Work

In this case, all exercises aside from the squat fall into the ‘accessory’ category. Frankly, a couple of sessions will be enough to convince you to abandon accessory work but just in case you’re tempted, remember that it can impede recovery. Deadlifts are an absolute no-no and if you’re worried about that lift falling apart don’t be, because most lifters report an INCREASE in their deadlift despite not training it for months.

If you must, add a bench session a week but keep it relatively light. Chin ups or pull ups can stay as your back workout staple while grip work is also okay but as we already said, you’ll probably just want to warm down and go home after most squat sessions.

Choose Sensible Weights

As you can see, Smolov is based off a % of your 1RM. Those who have swallowed their pride and reduced their existing 1RM by around 10% (in other words, they used their training max) had a far greater level of success. ‘Hardcore’ lifters will tell you not to be yellow and go all-out but the secret to Smolov success is not to miss a single rep.

It is worth remembering that the original users of this program were on ‘special supplements’ which you probably don’t have access to. By the final week of the base mesocycle when you are seeing imaginary people during the seventh of your ten sets, you’ll be happy you made the decision to drop your 1RM by 10%.

Mental Preparation for Physical Pain

Just to clarify, this is almost certain to be the most demanding training period of your life to date. Think of the most difficult squat sets you’ve ever performed and imagine going through that set 26 times a week because that is what you face. Once you’re in the gym, it’s time for stony focus.

This is not the time to talk to bros nor is it the time to contemplate failure. Each and every time you go under the bar to squat, you must adopt a ‘do or die’ mentality and recognize that you are not leaving the rack until each rep is completed.

The Smolov squat routine will turn you into a squat rack hog so clearly, you’ll need to attend the gym during off-peak hours. The last thing you need is someone asking you ‘how many sets left?’ as they eagerly wait to curl in the rack.

You will need several minutes between sets and towards the end of the base mesocycle; the 10x3 could take an hour or so. You can pause between reps near the end of sets if you feel as if you could miss a rep. You don’t want the bar on your back for eternity but as long as your technique holds up and you hit depth, pausing between reps is perfectly acceptable.

Only Do the Base Microcycle & 3 Sessions a Week

For the majority of lifters, doing the full 13 week Smolov squat routine is mentally and physically too great a burden. As the base mesocycle is capable of providing you with significant gains, perhaps you could forego the intense mesocycle and focus on the first loading block instead.

If you go down this path, you still need to go through the two week introductory phase or else you’ll probably fail. If squatting 4 times a week is too daunting, revert to a three day: Monday, Wednesday, Friday split and extend the base mesocycle by a week:

Weeks 1-2 – Intro Phase

Week 3

  • Monday – 4 x 9@ 70%
  • Wednesday - 5 x 7@ 75%
  • Friday – 7 x 5@80%

Week 4

  • Monday – 10 x 3@ 85%
  • Wednesday – 4 x 9@ 70% + 20 pounds from first session
  • Friday – 5 x 7@ 75% + 20 pounds from first session

Week 5

  • Monday – 7 x 5@ 80% + 20 pounds from first session
  • Wednesday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 20 pounds from first session
  • Friday – 4 x 9@ 70% + 30 pounds from first session

Week 6

  • Monday – 5 x 7 @ 75% + 30 pounds from first session
  • Wednesday – 7 x 5@ 80% + 30 pounds from first session
  • Friday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 30 pounds from first session

Week 7

  • 1-2 light sessions and work up to maximum attempt on Friday.

Smolov Jr

Smolov Bench Routine

If you survive the Smolov squat routine and fancy bringing up your lagging bench, you can return to the trenches for another 4 weeks of war with the iron. This is essentially an adaptation of the squat routine’s base mesocycle and is known as Smolov Jr. It involves benching 4 times a week for 3 weeks followed by a final week where you test your max.

As was the case with the squat routine, Smolov Jr. should only be attempted by those with 2+ years of lifting experience and you must have rock solid form. Additionally, get yourself a spotter or else things may get ugly!

The Smolov Bench Press Routine

Once again, you need to find your 1RM and sensible lifters will subtract 10% off it and work from that figure. During the following guide, sets are written first followed by the reps and % of your chosen 1RM. So 7 x 5@ 75% means 7 sets of 5 reps at 75% of your 1RM.

Week 1

  • Monday – 6 x 6 @70%
  • Wednesday – 7 x 5 @ 75%
  • Friday – 8 x 4@80%
  • Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85%

Week 2

  • Monday – 6 x 6 @70% + 20 pounds from week 1
  • Wednesday – 7 x 5 @ 75% + 20 pounds from week 1
  • Friday – 8 x 4@80% + 20 pounds from week 1
  • Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 20 pounds from week 1

Week 3

  • Monday – 6 x 6 @70% + 30 pounds from week 1
  • Wednesday – 7 x 5 @ 75% + 30 pounds from week 1
  • Friday – 8 x 4@80% + 30 pounds from week 1
  • Saturday – 10 x 3@ 85% + 30 pounds from week 1

Week 4

  • Monday – Saturday – Rest
  • Sunday – Attempt new maximum with spotter

Smolov Jr. Tips

Most of the tips from the squat routine are applicable here. You may need to eat some dirty calories for a few weeks and it is best if you use a conservative 1RM. It is also possible to stretch the program out by an extra week through the process of benching 3 times a week instead of 4.

Assistance Work

As the bench press is not quite as physically demanding as the squat and the program is relatively short, you can get away with doing a little more accessory work. However, since this program is less than a month long, putting squats and deadlifts on maintenance mode is no bad thing.

Chin ups, pull ups, ab work and rowing exercises are the best choices. Weaknesses in the muscles involved in the bench will become painfully apparent during the four weeks so you’re better off doing as little as possible after benching besides some rowing work for balance.

Protect Your Shoulders

If your technique is poor, your shoulders will get battered during this program. As well as focusing on decent form and avoiding flared elbows, stretch and foam roll as much as possible before and after each session. Triceps, rhomboids and traps in particular will be extremely stiff and sore so pay attention to these areas.

Occasionally, you will be forced to really push and this may involve your butt coming off the bench. While it is better if this doesn’t happen, it is okay if it’s on set 10 of a 10 x 3 session during week 3 and the alternative is getting pinned beneath the bar.

Smolov Jr

Pros & Cons of Smolov Squat Routine & Smolov Jr.

Pros of Smolov Jr.

  • Frequent squatting and benching forces you to hone your technique or else you will suffer serious consequences.
  • If you’re prepared to do the work, you could enjoy a 30-60+ pound increase for 6 weeks (15-25 pounds in bench) of hard graft (including the intro cycle). This constitutes a serious return on investment.
  • As long as you eat the calories and make the reps, your legs and body will grow and you’ll put on some decent mass.
  • The level of intensity is such that once you return to a ‘regular’ routine, it will seem easy in comparison because you will be physically and mentally much stronger.

Cons of Smolov Jr.

  • Few people are able to last the full 13 weeks because of the brutal nature of the training.
  • The intense mesocycle does not constitute a large enough return on investment for the effort that is put into it. Most trainees would be better off sticking with the base mesocycle.
  • If you’re unused to such heavy training, injuries can quickly occur.
  • Both routines are best when used as a tool to peak for competition. We are all subject to the law of super-compensation which means that once we peak, a fall-off in strength will soon follow. Therefore, you may discover that your 1RM falls in the weeks after Smolov. Going through such a grinding program only to lose much of the gains will be frustrating to say the least. After completing a Smolov program, it may be a good idea to engage in a base building program and build your strength that way.


For those that make it through the Smolov squat routine, it is the ultimate strength and mass gaining program. Successful completion guarantees a new personal best squat and it will ensure your body becomes used to hard training. While the Smolov Jr. program is shorter and less taxing for your bench, it can have a profound positive effect in a short period of time.

It is worth noting that few people attempt the Smolov squat routine a second time which speaks volumes about its difficulty. If you are ready for the pain and prepared to make a few sacrifices during the next 6-13 weeks, the Smolov squat routine is a worthy program.

If you’re not yet prepared for the most difficult training regime of your life to date, focus on other programs such as Sheiko or Korte 3x3 and revisit the idea later on down the line.

Bobby Smith
Posted on: Sat, 09/08/2018 - 19:41

It’s supposed to be add 10lbs to not 20 week 2 of Smolov Jr. and 20lbs week 3 not 30

Posted on: Sun, 06/30/2019 - 05:03

Actually, it is supposed to be 20 pounds week 4 (Base Cycle Week 2) and and additional 10 pounds - so 30 pounds above week 3 weights - during week 5 (Base Cycle Week 3). I won't link other sites as they could be viewed as a competitor but a quick google around will confirm this.

It is supposed to be tough but 20 and 30 lbs is completely doable.

Posted on: Sat, 01/27/2018 - 15:15

can anybody please tell me how might I structre to add an additional week in the smolov bench by benching 3 times a week ?

Posted on: Wed, 01/04/2017 - 13:35

I've not found the intense cycle to be much more difficult than the base cycle to be honest. Once you're through the base, the high-rep sets basically go away. You don't do anything over 5 reps in the intense cycle, and in my opinion that makes it a little less grueling. This may be personal preference on my part - I'd rather do a 5 x 5 than a 4 x 9 regardless of the weight. You also get an extra day of rest each week in the intense phase, which helps immeasurably.

Flex bogus
Posted on: Wed, 01/21/2015 - 01:57

So a little confused it looks like the bench program is same as smolov jr?

Posted on: Sun, 12/28/2014 - 20:04

on week 3 of smolov jr bench press starting tomorrow and I love it haha. Excited to deload and test my 1 rep max after this!!

Posted on: Wed, 11/05/2014 - 03:08

Great Article! Thank you very much. I have found this training routine in the muscle&fitness magazine. But here it is much better explained!


Posted on: Sun, 06/29/2014 - 15:14

Is it alright to run smolov squat and smolov jr for bench at the same time?

Posted on: Thu, 03/27/2014 - 12:12

Every picture in this article is of someone that has terrible form.. In fact, muscle and strength is not a good place to read about heavy lifting.. PowerLifters don't have power, olympic lifters do...

Posted on: Mon, 03/03/2014 - 10:09

I'm doing a Smolov powerlifting program and am into Week 5 of the deadlift.

1RM is 165kg and I'm working to the letter (or number) of the program so, I'm regularly repping upwards of 132kg. It's a painful setup but, like the article says, it's more about technique and form than brute strength.

My form wasn't that good at first but, now it's coming on and I can beast single lifts at 150kg without any support or straps. Repping with 150kg will be a different story as Smolov seems to base itself around weights that are 80% and above you best. For those who've done Smolov before 80% is about equal to 70%+10kg and the like. I'm doing about 130 lifts per week at such a weight.

Next week I'm going to do the work to max and then try a new PB. This is where I differ. Smolov says that you start the second half of the program with your new 1RM (if you increase it) and use the percetages from there. I'm not doing that as I want to have a consistent figure to work with through to Week 13.

After that, I'll do the squat (150kg - 1RM) for 13 weeks, bench press (85kg - 1RM) for 13 weeks and I might even try a full overhead press using the Smolov routine (70.75kg - 1RM).

A full year of Smolov will hurt but, not to be cliche, if this doesn't kill me, I'd better be stronger...

Posted on: Tue, 01/21/2014 - 00:11

Just checking that the order in which it is written for the sets and reps?

For example is

Day 1 – 3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%

So is that-

3 sets of 8, 1 set of 5, 2 sets of 2 and 1 set of 1

or is it-

8 sets of 3, 5 sets of 1, 2 sets of 2 then 1 set of 1?

Thanks in advance

Posted on: Sun, 01/26/2014 - 10:33

Sets are listed before reps, so that would be 3 sets of 8 reps at 65% of 1RM.

Darryll Elliott
Posted on: Tue, 12/24/2013 - 07:44

I am now my second round of Smolov and it is everything this article says it is. My 1RM went from 155kg to 180kg first time round and now looking at hitting 200kg for the second go. If you are thinking of doing it the best advice is swallow your pride and knock 10% of your 1RM and be realistic with 1RM after the first cycle, remember this is your entry weight for the next cycle. Good luck.

Posted on: Thu, 11/14/2013 - 09:04

mmmm m afraid,very afraid....
smolov has an undertone of 'danger ahead' but ama
give a try coz i love the big 3 so much.
i hate supplements and im a lacto-ovo vegetarian,will this program still work for me?
BW 94kg SQ 225lb, BP 250lb, DL 300lb
thanks for the great article

Posted on: Tue, 10/08/2013 - 22:28

Can someone clarify for me on the 1RM at week 6. I am well on my way with the intro weeks and when I shoot for a new 1RM during week 6 is that my new 1RM percent to use moving forward or do you use the same 1RM you started with in week 1? Thanks

Some guy
Posted on: Tue, 07/16/2013 - 12:09

According to, week 9's monday should end with 1x5 @ 85% instead of 90%.

Posted on: Thu, 07/04/2013 - 13:43

Great article. One question though, I will be doing the 3-days a week cycle of the smolov squat, and was wondering if it is allowed to deadlift with this cycle, since it is less demanding, on the lowest squat workout that week ?.

As example: week 5 it is:
monday: 7x5 @ 80% + 20 pounds
wednesday: 10x3 @ 85% + 20 pounds
friday: 4x9 @ 70% + 20 pounds

Is it okey to deadlift after squats on friday ? only if it is 2 sets to keep my 1RM up for the deadlift.

Also, could you give me perhaps a basic outley around this cycle to target all muscles, so chest work, back work etc. Without interfering with the progress of this cycle.

Much thanks in advance !


Posted on: Mon, 06/10/2013 - 12:46

For Smolov Jr., if you intend to extend it to 4 weeks instead of 3, how would you breakup the workout?

Posted on: Wed, 04/24/2013 - 15:33


If I'm not mistaken I think you at 20 lbs to the 70%..So if your max is 315, 70% of 315 would be 220(really 220.5, just rounding)..then you add 20 to that so you'd be doing, 240 lbs.

If I'm incorrect someone speak up quick.

Posted on: Thu, 04/25/2013 - 00:14

Thanks dude.

You are absolutely correct. I'll call it bad oversight on my part. I just noticed this example in the article, "For example, if you use a 1RM of 400 pounds, you will squat 10 x 3 @ 340 pounds in week 3 and 10 x 3 @ 370 pounds in week 5!"

Happy squatting,

Posted on: Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:37

Sounds horrendous! Good luck to anyone attempting it!

Posted on: Tue, 04/23/2013 - 19:22

I'm in!!!!!!! Sound's like just what I need.

Posted on: Tue, 04/23/2013 - 16:09

I'm so glad there's smolov explained by muscleandstrength now. Great article. The other websites just do not explain programs as well.
I just want to double check on one thing though. When you begin to add weight in weeks following week 1 of mesocycles (such as, Monday – 4 x 9@70 + 20 pound increase from Week 3), do you add 20 pounds to your 1RM and take a percentage or do you add 20 pounds on top of a percentage of your 1RM? Thanks

Posted on: Mon, 05/13/2013 - 00:52

you would add to the weight used the week before, not your 1RM