T Nation

Death by Smolov


Ok, I guess it is time I contribute something more than bad advise and corny jokes. After a 6 month layoff, due to work and an ITB strain, I am jumping back on the horse. I have started eyeing meets that are in the 24week plus neighborhood, because I know that I am way down on my already week lifts.

The lift that I think I can benefit the most from right now is the squat, so I am going to journey thru the Smolov Jr first. Once I get thru that, I will start the Smolov in full.

My logic is two part: 1) 6 months is a long friggin layoff and 2) I have never really had squat stamina (I think the most exhausted I have ever been is 10x1 with 420 with fairly short breaks).

Last night was my first night back and I wanted to play it safe with the numbers, so I am marked my 1rm at 320 (which is probably pretty accurate with the inactivity).

Mistake #1: Don't warmup with a 20-rep set before starting the work sets. I almost blew chunks at the start of sets 2 thru 6. 6x6 with 225 was a good start, i think. It fried my legs, but it was light enough for me to manhandle if the need arose.

Mistake #2: While 225 was a beltless warmup when I was in shape, I am no longer in shape and will wear my belt in future sessions. I'm not sure if i will stay with the full Smolov Jr with the same 1rm, because I think my numbers will shoot up way too fast for it to give me any benefit. But, I will need to make it thru the first week injury free before I reassess.


You're a lot stronger than I am, so take this with a grain of salt, but maybe you should try Starting Strength for a few weeks? It's a beginner program, but if your maxes have dropped as far as you think they have, you could probably make some significant gains with simple linear progression.

Good luck.


Actually, that was along the lines of my plan to getting back to work on my performance. But, I think this is more of a penance to the lifting gods for me putting my job and the almighty dollar in front of training. Personally, I believe that I can be around 90% of my max gym lifts in a month, so I don't doubt that I can move forward and up successfully. Plus, for my 40th b-day, I want to hit a 500lb squat and Smolov intensity is the best way to get back on that path. If, over the next two weeks or so, I am missing too many lifts I will look at changing direction.


Don't do the complete Smolov unless you have a hell of a workcapasity. Unless you are used to squatting 2+ times a week for the last two years, there is no point in doing Smolov, it is like asking for an injury. If you select to do it anyway it is going to be brutal like nothing else, and to survive, you will have to reduce the pre-cycle 1RM with at least 10kilos.

Injuries could still happen. I would wish nothing else but to see you through, but six months off is a bloody long time, and I would have started with something less demanding if I were you. Smolov is and andvanced squat specialization routine for advanced lifters.

My two cents.


stallion, thanks for the advice. pre-layoff, i had been training westside fashion, so 2 times a week was done. 3 or 4? never for squat, only bench. And I do realize that the frequency will wreak havoc on my body. That is why I am starting with the Smolov Jr, then progressing to the introductory, base, and intense (if I can make it that far). I think that once the junior cycle is completed, I will have a better gauge on setting the 1rm for the rest and I think a 10kilo decrease due to the reps, sets, and frequency is a solid plan. And I wont be ashamed of going even 15kilos lighter for my first run thru, but it's way too early to tell.

This is one of those routines that you always want a trash can nearby and that is what gets me psyched. how far can i go until i cant go anymore? the only way to find out is to get under the weight and do it. I don't like to quit. Failing to accomplish a goal is one thing, cause you will still have the desire to achieve. Quitting....that doesn't register in my mind.


Second night completed. 7x5 with 108kg. My legs were tight as crap. 15 minutes of stretching and I still had issues getting below parallel with warmup weights. Once the work sets started, I felt pretty good until the 5th set.

My legs feel like jelly, but the more I walk around, the better they feel. My biggest issue is with bar placement, my traps hurt like hell. I will need to start wearing a sweatshirt again, for padding.


Good luck. If you tough it out and keep pushing the program will condition you.

Piece of advice, make sure to fix up little things in your squat as soon as you see them arise. 4x/week frequency can make even the smallest of problems huge.

Warm up, stretch after and eat more, you'll be fine.


The "fixing up little things" is definitely a focal point. At 6'4, getting below parallel for reps gets a little tedious and the squats start to favor the good-morning squat exercise. "CHEST UP" is constantly going thru my head. Also, driving my head back into the bar on the push up is something else I need to work on to get to my potential.

Thanks for the encouragement.


Padding on the bar is gay! :wink: Don't! :slightly_smiling:

You seem to have the right attitude. It will bring you far. You also seem dedicated and intelligent. I hope your body will tolerate all the squatting.

Here you have some motivation to get you psyched: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8Hz1iXJndYY

It's all about pushing those limits! Most of the limits are in your head!

I am going to do the 3rd workout in week 3 of the base meso cycle in just a few minutes!

All the best!


Padding is gay, I agree. I will bring the sweatshirt and not wear it. Just drape it on a chair that I have to look at right before i get into the squat rack to remind my self that comfort is for the weak.

That is actually one of the videos that I watched the day I decided to start this journey. So friggin impressive...

Keep on pushing!


Workout #3 of week 1 complete. 8x4 w/120kg. Right hip felt...interesting. Kind of loose, but tight at the same time. Rode the recumbent bike for 10min and stretched for 10min before the squat session began. I will stretch for 15-20min and do 30min to an 1hr of massage time so that I can rock and roll for the last day of week one tomorrow.

Thanks to stallion, I sucked it up and worked with no padding. The funny thing is that every time I looked at that sweatshirt on the bench, I felt no pain.


undersired08: You are a hero! I loved the picture of that sweatshirt on the bench! Way to go! Just suck it up man, and do your very best. When the going gets tough. Just concentrate as much as you can, and focus on one set of the time. You can do so much more than you think. Today is your last workout. Go blast it!


Workout #4 of week 1 complete. 10x3 w/ 122.5kg. The first 5 were a LOT easier than the last 5. The bike and stretching prior to the sqaut warmups really help me loosen up. Can't wait till week two! I do have a little tweak in my upper right hammie, but I think that is more of a muscle imbalance from the injury. It's also one of the reasons I chose to drop as much as I did off of my previous 1rm. If isn't a cause for concern, but I will be giving it more attention prior to the start of week 2.

The weight really felt light tonight, as it should and I'm feeling more sure that the next 7days/4 workouts will bring me farther on the "road to recovery".


Well done and good luck with the rest of the cycle.


This shit is rough, but definitely worth it. Good to see 3-4 threads of smolov experiences going on at the same time.


Rough? Yeah, I think will have to agree with that. getting out of bed was interesting, my abs don't really want to work like they are supposed to today. I have a pretty good soreness going all over. And this 3,500 calorie diet is out of the window, but I am still trying to keep the fat intake low. I wont mind getting up to the mid 280's in bodyweight, but I can't go 290+ again that's too "painful". It doesn't friggin help when one wakes up to 6 full sheets of fudge; peanut butter, white chocolate, regular with and without nuts, and one that I have never seen before. I don't know which she made for me, so I can't eat any till she gets home.

I'm really anxious to see what tomorrow brings as far as muscle stability goes. It will be a 6x6 w/110.5kg. So not much weight, but the frequency of the sessions make things a bit of an unknown.

I did bench w/ light weight after the squat sessions. I'm not really worried about losing poundage on my bench, if I can gain on my squat.


Week 2 workout 1 is complete. 6x6 w/112kg. I felt really good going into the gym, but that over-confidence was quickly put in check. The last 3 sets had me huffing and puffing pretty hard.

The best thing that came out of tonight is that I was looking forward to the full smolov sessions that are almost a month away, and thinking that the weight is way to low for me. Yes, the weight may be low, but the reps and the frequency of the sessions are something I have never experienced before and that is kicking my butt pretty hard.

One session at a time!


Yepp baby that's right, one rep, one set, one session at the time. Don't worry about overeating. Just eat what you can. Excess bodyfat can be removed later on. If you cut yourself short in the eating department you will soon enough find yourself failing to get the required numbers of reps when the going gets heavy...

Keep it up!


Yeah. I have pretty much given up on limiting the calorie intake, but I am still trying to keep it fairly clean. Just so I can be a "healthier" 285. LMAO. Seriously, my next meet will be with the SPF and they have a 259 weight class and an early weigh-in. So, if i can hover around upper 260's and lower 270's, I will be able to dry out enough to make weight.

But, in the end it doesnt matter, cause I need to be more focused on my total than my bodyweight right now. I actually have it on a post-it at my desk; 480/380/550.

Keep pushing the limits!


Week 2 workout 2 complete! 7x5 w/118kg. Tonight was rough, but survivable. Some of the reps were slow, and some were FUGLY. But the important fact is that the halfway point for the week and for the Smolov Jr has been reached. 6 sessions left. For some reason, I am looking forward to the friday and saturday sessions. I definitely need to warmup with box squats to help get my body in the proper descent position.

Since Christmas Eve is going to try to ruin my Week 3 workout3, I have to start looking for a gym that will be open. Or see if I can pay for a day at the only 24hr gym around here.