Smolov Training Program – Week 1

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This is my first week of doing the Smolov Training Program for my squat and Bench press. I am doing the full 13-week squat routine and the 3-week Smolov Jr. bench press routine. I plan to try to get four 3-week blocks out of the Smolov Jr. routine and then test my max to see where I’m at. I will do light deadlifts once a week just to maintain technique.

The Smolov routine is known for either making or breaking an athlete through the pursuit of possibly adding up to 100+ pounds to your squat. It is an insane amount of volume weekly and is going to be a challenge that I welcome. I have done the Smolov squat routine once before a few years ago and made some great progress.

Sergey Smolov is the ‘Russian Master of Sports’ designer of this program. The Squat routine I’m doing is an intense 13-week strength program that is broken down into four phases.

The four phases are:

  1. Phase In – This is a 2-week phase of squatting 3-times per week. Over 111 reps with warm-ups!
  2. Base Cycle – A 4-week cycle of squatting 4-times per week. Over 408 reps with warm-ups!
  3. Switching Cycle – 2-week cycle where you actively reload to handle what’s to come in the next cycle. Do speed work here.
  4. Intense Cycle + Tapper Week – A 5-week cycle of squatting 3-times per week. Over 350 reps with warm-ups!

Sounds fun right! For my bench press I’m doing the Smolov Jr. routine which is essentially the 3-week base cycle of the squat routine that has been tweaked a little bit by reducing the amount of reps on certain days, but maintaining the volume by spreading it out over more sets. I will be splitting up my training into two sessions per training day. First one being squat and the second being bench press.

My main reason for doing this program is because I wanted a challenge and more importantly is to get in specific practice through the increased volume from my last training program. I will be happy if I can put on at least 50 pounds to my squat and I will take whatever I can get out of the bench program, but 10-25 pounds at the end of 12-weeks would be great.

I found out about the Smolov Training Program many years ago when I bought a book called ‘Power To The People Professional’ by Pavel Tsatsouline for my Kindle through Amazon. This book is all about advanced Russian techniques to improve your squat, bench, and deadlift. I highly recommend it to anyone that wants to improve their lifting.

Week 1

Day 1 – 9/24/18

Smolov Full Squat Routine – Phase In

  • Squat: 250×8,8,8, 270×5, 290×2,2, 310×1
  • Leg Extensions: 3×8 – Superset – Leg Curls: 3×8

Note: Squat felt good. I’m experimenting with widening my stance and being more conscious of keeping my upper-back tight; shoulders pinched together and head more straight forward to slightly up. Did some light leg extensions supersetted with leg curls. These seem to help with recovery.

2nd Workout – Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 180×6,6,6,6,6,6
  • Seated Rows: 3×15

Note: Bench went fine, but the weights are pretty light here. I need to focus on technique instead of just blasting through reps to get them done. Light seated rows to get in some back work.

Day 2 – 9/26/18

Smolov Full Squat Routine – Phase In

  • Squat: 250×8,8,8, 270×5, 290×2,2, 310×1
  • Leg Extensions: 3×8 – Superset – Leg Curls: 3×8

Note: 2nd day of Smolov and my legs were feeling it. I know I will adapt to the volume with-in a couple weeks. This day I focused on dialing in technique based on last squat session: upper-back tightness, head neutral to slightly up.

2nd Workout – Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 195×5,5,5,5,5,5,5
  • Chest Supported Row: 3×15 – Superset – Banded Triceps Extensions: 3×20

Note: Bench felt good, still lightweight. Added in some banded triceps work mainly to keep the elbows feeling good.

Day 3 – 9/28/18

Smolov Full Squat Routine – Phase In

  • Squat: 270×5,5,5,5, 290×3, 310×2,2, 345×1
  • Leg Extensions: 3×8 – Superset – Leg Curls: 3×8

Note: Squat felt great up to the 345 and it felt kinda heavy. Expected after the volume and this was with-in the 90% range for me.

2nd Workout – Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 210×4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4
  • Lat Pulldown: 3×15 – Superset – Banded Triceps Extensions: 3×20

Note: Bench went well. I need to focus on leg drive to build more speed off the chest.

Day 4 – 9/29/18

Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 220×3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3
  • Deadlift-Sumo: 370×1,1,1,1,1
  • Barbell Rows: 4×8 – Superset – Triceps Pulldown: 3×10

Note: Bench felt decent this day. A little grindy towards the end sets, but not too bad. Did deadlifts sumo for five singles and they moved great; felt super easy. Light barbell rows for the back pendlay style with my bench grip supersetted with triceps pushdown for a little extra work.

New Beginnings Comrades!

Overall this was a great first week. Training is moving in the right direction. I had been doing high-intensity training with not even half this amount of volume, so I look forward to the increase in muscle and strength to come. This is a new beginning and I feel good about the decision to take on the Smolov Training Program for both my squat and bench. Luckily I’m able to split them up into two separate workouts with-in the day because I have a home gym.

My plan for my rest days/ recovery workouts:

  • Kettlebell swings
  • Goblet Squats
  • Kettlebell Snatch
  • Abs

I’m keeping my nutrition on point by tracking my macros and carb-cycling to get as lean as possible while still building strength and muscle. My current weight is 195.5 lbs. and I don’t plan to lose weight, but If I can lean up a little bit without losing any strength that would be a bonus.

I enjoy lifting and seeing the progress in strength is addicting. Seeing your body become more muscular is like creating a sculpture. It takes time, builds discipline, and patience to keep pushing when you don’t think you have anything left. Being able to make decisions through observing and documenting my progress has become valuable. I am the athlete, coach, and training partner all in one, helping to push myself to become the best I can and to never give up. This is the learning process that I plan to fully utilize to improve and make progress.

Until next time, Keep Pushing!

If you have any comments or questions leave them below.

The key is not the will to win… everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.-Bobby Knight





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Marcus is a man of God, married to a wonderful women and has 4 children. He is an ISSA Certified Personal Trainer and aspiring Powerlifter. He has a passion for helping others achieve personal growth through a healthy fitness and nutrition based lifestyle. With hard work and dedication anything is possible. God bless

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