T Nation

Back to the Basics


Oddly enough, I got inspired after reading about Smolov squat programming to go back to the basics.

For the next few weeks, I'm going to be doing low rep, high-volume sets on each exercise.

Mon: Squats
Tues: Bench and chins
Wed: Squats, weighted abs
Thurs: Bench and chins
Fri: Squats
Saturday: Bench and chins, ab work
Sunday: Rest day for Jesus. Not really though. It's actually for my sanity.

Thoughts? Is this a stupid idea? Will I die?

I'm a few days in to this, and I haven't been this sore in a long time.


Go for it, would maybe throw in some more ab work on your off/bench days. Find I can never do enough ab/core work.


Example squat workout for the week:

Squat Day:

5 min. stair-stepper warmup, followed by dynamic stretching of the hips, quads, and hamstrings. About 15 min. total of pre-lift warmups.

Bar X 10 X 2
High Bar Olympic Squats: 135 X 5, 185 X 5, 225 X 5, 275 X 5
Low Bar Power Squats: 315 X 4, 335 X 2, 350 X 2, 350 X 2, 345 X 2, 345 X 2, 345 X 2, 335 X 2, 335 X 2, 315 X 3
Pause Squats: 275 X 2 X 3

Bench Day:

Band pull aparts, 5 lb. plate rotator cuff warmup, stretching. Once again, about 15 min. total warmups.

Bar X 10-15 X 2
135 X 10-12, 185 X 6-8, 205 X 2, 230 X 2 X 8-10, 205 X 4 X 3, 185 X 8, 135 X 12
In between sets: Neutral close grip strict pullups, 5-6 reps with a full stretch at the bottom.
Decline weighted situps, 25 lbs. X 10-15 X 5

Notes: These workouts are each done 3 days a week. On the second day of squats the bar felt super light on my back. I hit a 385 single on Monday, which was outside of the programming. I also hit a 455 pound beltless deadlift on Thursday to see how much of a toll the squats and benches were taking on my lower back strength and mobility. It was slow, but it was also smooth. My hips have felt pretty sore, but overall my whole body is also feeling sore and I’ve never slept so well. Caloric intake is up, weight isn’t up yet but we’ll see. Gonna try to maintain 212 while I do this for a few weeks and then drop weight again come January.

Overall, I’m liking this program. The frequency is pretty killer though.