Ah, yes. The infamous Smolov program for squats and Smolov Jr for squat and/or bench. If you’re willing to build these lifts at any cost (e.g. a record attempt) then this might be the ticket!
While not recommended for general strength work, as articulated well by Powerlifting To Win, these programs are certainly an interesting look into brutal training principles. They are specifically designed for peaking and are not designed to be run multiple times.
Frankly, you could successfully go your entire life without ever running them, but they have maintained a persistent level of infamy since their popularization in the early 2000’s. As you see how intense and overwhelming the training cycles are, you will understand why.
The Smolov program consists of four micro cycles:
- Weeks 1-2 (Introduction Cycle)
- Weeks 3-6 (Base Cycle)
- Weeks 7-8 (Switching Cycle)
- Weeks 9-13 (Intensity Cycle)
Smolov Introduction Cycle
Here you’ll squat 3 days per week, back to back.
Here’s a snapshot of the first week.
The first two squat sessions will look like this.
The third squat session of the week will look like this.
The second week will also consist of three squat sessions, but has significantly fewer working sets per session.
- 2×2 @85%
- 1×3 @85%
- 1×5 @85%
Smolov Base Cycle
Here are the sets, reps, and percentages used for each of the training sessions of the Smolov base cycle.
|4||1||4||9||70% + 20 pounds|
|4||2||5||7||75% + 20 pounds|
|4||3||7||5||75% + 20 pounds|
|4||4||10||3||85% + 20 pounds|
|5||1||4||9||70% + 30 pounds|
|5||2||5||7||75% + 30 pounds|
|5||3||7||5||80% + 30 pounds|
|5||4||10||3||85% + 30 pounds|
|6||3||1||1||Build to 1RM|
|6||4||1||1||Build to 1RM|
Smolov Switching Cycle
The Smolov switching cycle consists of heavy squat negatives, power cleans, and box squats. It is included as a recovery week before the final intense mesocycle where the peaking will occur.
Smolov Intensity Cycle
The Smolov intensity cycle is spread out over 6 weeks. The first four weeks consist of a significant amount of volume, much of it between 80% and 95% of your squat 1RM. The fifth week only has one training session that builds to 4 sets of 4 reps @ 85% before 3 full days of rest. After those rest days, you will test your final new 1RM in the squat.
Smolov Spreadsheet + Calculator
Smolov Jr is a shorter version of the full Smolov program, lasting only 3 weeks. It is often run for the squat or the bench press. Unlike the full Smolov program, Smolov Jr can be run twice in a row if a week of rest is taken between cycles.
Here is what you can expect during each training week for Smolov Jr.
Every week of Smolov Jr has 4 training days. Here is what the set & rep scheme looks like for each of those training days.
While the set & rep scheme for each training day remains the same over the course of the 3 week program, the intensity will change. Here is how the intensity will change over the 3 weeks for each training day.
|Week||Day 1||Day 2||Day 3||Day 4|
|2||70% + 5-10 lbs||75% + 5-10 lbs||80% + 5-10 lbs||85% + 5-10 lbs|
|3||70% + 10-20 lbs||75% + 10-20 lbs||80% + 10-20 lbs||85% + 10-20 lbs|
Smolov Jr Spreadsheet + Calculator