Smolov Training Program – Week 2

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This week went well! I am handling the volume in both the squat and bench quite nicely, but this week of squats wasn’t that much volume at all. This is more or less a transition into the following week which starts the base cycle and that is where the real volume starts to pick up.

I’m managing the bench volume just fine with some days tougher than others, but it’s doable. By doing more volume I have found that this a great way to practice the movements and ingrain proper motor patterns or grease the groove to become more efficient and perform the lift better.

Volume is going to become an asset; by helping me improve my technique through building muscle which in return will help me build greater strength. A bigger muscle has the potential to become a stronger muscle is what I’m getting at. Previously, I was training with far greater intensity on a regular basis with about 50% less volume, so this is a huge change-up for me.

I have no doubt that I could have continued with the high-intensity and lower volume training style and still made some progress, but I am looking to maximize my gains by introducing a new stimulus to my training with adding extra volume specifically targeting squat and bench while maintaining a moderate level of intensity as well.

Because I have the tendency to overthink the movement, doing more overall volume in these lifts will allow me to find proper positioning. Starting from the set-up to executing the movement based on instinct through the repeated movement pattern.

I know that in the past I have had great days when everything felt right and looked great, but I will begin to overthink because I watched some video of someone saying how you need to do this or do that. I should have probably just stuck to what was already working.

There is so much information floating around that when you’re wanting to improve at something, it’s easy for me to change what I’m doing if someone else seems to be claiming that doing things their way will provide better results, but there is no one size fits all strategy to success. It’s understanding that to accomplish goals and become great at anything it takes persistence and consistency. I will stay open-minded and continue to learn what works for me.

Week 2

Day 1 – 10/1/18

Smolov Full Squat Routine – Phase In

  • Squat: 310×5
  • Leg Extension: 3×8 – Superset – Leg Curls: 3×8

Note: Squat was not as smooth as I would like. Still playing around with stance width and head position. Trying to get a feel for the strongest position. Being able to brace properly and maintain a solid position from start to finish is the goal.

2nd Workout – Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 185×6,6,6,6,6,6
  • Seated Rows: 3×15 – Superset – Band Triceps Extension: 3×20

Note: Bench felt good. Super lightweight, but a great way to start the week and get in the volume.

Day 2 – 10/3/18

Smolov Full Squat Routine – Phase In

  • Squat: 320×5,5
  • Leg Extension: 3×8 – Superset – Leg Curls; 3×8

Note: Squat looked ok, but didn’t feel great. I did an extra set with a slightly narrower stance to see if it would feel any better, and it was about the same. So, I will look else where to make adjustments.

2nd Workout – Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 200×5,5,5,5,5,5,5
  • Band Pulls: 3×25 – Superset – Band Triceps Extensions: 3×25

Note: Bench felt fine. Not much to say, but could’ve used a little more leg drive to stay more stable up on my traps.

Day 3 – 10/5/18

Smolov Full Squat Routine – Phase In

  • Squat: 325×5
  • Leg Extensions: 3×8 – Superset – leg Curls: 3×8

Note: Squat felt a little more stable with flat shoes and I went back to looking more down than up; I feel this helps me to brace better and keep my back in a better position. I will play with it for a while to see.

2nd Workout – Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 215×4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4
  • Lat Pulldown: 3×15 – Superset – Band Triceps Extensions: 3×20

Note: Bench was good. All sets moved well. Still need to work on keeping my upper-back tighter and drive harder with my legs.

Day 4 – 10/6/18

Smolov Jr. Bench Press Routine

  • Bench Press: 225×3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3,3
  • Lying Triceps Extensions: 3×10-12
  • Deadlift-Sumo: 385×1,1,1,1,1
  • Barbell Rows: 4×8

Note: Bench felt great! Moved through the sets nicely. Somewhat challenging, but easy enough to get in the volume. I have never done much of lying triceps extensions, but I’m gonna start once a week ramping these up to see if they help. Deadlift was light and easy; feeling great!

Never Stop Learning!

Being open to learning and experimenting can be beneficial, but not to the point of completely throwing you of course of your destination. I do believe sometimes it is beneficial to take a few steps back to continue to make forward progress.

I have started to get into reading ‘Starting Strength’ by Mark Rippetoe. The way he teaches the squat movement seems to be what works for me as far as positioning. Before I ever read anything from his book, I was naturally squatting with this hip dominant style, and it felt great.

I began to listen to others saying how you need to look up or keep your chest up cue and this kind of threw me off, it just didn’t feel natural and I couldn’t seem to brace properly with this style. Of course, I need to keep my upper-back tight and this automatically will raise the chest some, but it also has to do with not being so upright and allowing for more of a forward lean. I thought that I needed to be more upright to become a better squatter because that is what I kept hearing. So, I have been experimenting with trying to change my squat style and I have come to realize that the squat technique that ‘Rip’ teaches works best for me.

For whatever reason, learning the squat movement in a way that allows me to be most balanced and stable has proven most challenging of all three of the main lifts that I train(squat, bench, deadlift). Next, is the bench press, which just recently in the past 6 months or so am I beginning to find a decent technique that feels good. The deadlift kind of comes naturally, but learning to find the right sumo position for me took a little time, but less than the other two lifts. The reason I like sumo deadlifting is because it saves my back since I tend to do more squatting throughout the week and my squat has great carry-over to my deadlift.

My plan for this next week is to boost recovery by:

  1. Upping my calories a little bit and try to keep my body weight around 200lbs.
  2. Recovery workouts on my rest days including: abs and kettlebells.

With this amount of volume I want to be sure that I’m recovering to the fullest and staying somewhat in a calorie surplus to allow for the muscle and strength gains to happen.

My recovery workouts are what I have been already doing on my rest days for a while now. It consists of an ab exercise and a couple kettlebell exercises in circuit style for a couple sets. I do what I feel, but usually some kind of kettlebell swing along with some kind of overhead exercise like a clean & press or snatch. I have found this helps with muscle soreness and for staying more mobile. Sometimes I might break-out the foam roller if needed. Check out my Top Recovery Strategies to get a better idea for what you can do to help prepare for your next training session.

Until next time, Keep pushing!

Feel free to leave any questions or comments below.

I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’-Muhammad Ali





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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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