T Nation

First Week Smolov Completed

I thought I would introduce myself and give my take after completing the first week of Smolov meso cycle. I am 49, 6â??1â??, 105 kilos/231 pounds, a transplanted Yank in the land of Oz. In my youth, I raced bicycles on the road and track. Later in life, I got into middle distance ocean swimming, did Alcatraz and the Waikiki Roughwater several times. Last year I was ranked in the top two percent of 45,000 open water swimmers in Oz.

I decided to do some lifting to get a bit stronger over the Australian winter. I looked around, found this site, and was impressed with the 5/3/1 program which I have followed closely for six cycles now. I have generally followed either the triumvirate and/or the BBB. I did the BBB challenge 60%/70% for two months. The squat wasnâ??t too bad, but the 5x10 70% deadlift portion is hurlarrific. I wouldnâ??t do the deads again for that high of volume as I think there is a high chance of injury, better with a 5x5.

Because of the BBB challenge I thought I might be able to do the Smolov meso protocol. I used 140kilos/308 pounds for my calculations as that was the weight I could complete three reps with a push but not a strain. I have never gone for a PR with squats only deads where it is 165 kilos, so I just tried to use what I thought would be reasonable based what many have posted here.

After the first week completed yesterday, I am feeling surprisingly good. I had a few aches this morning, but after some moving and stretching I feel good. I am surprised how much I am looking forward to starting the second week tomorrow.

I concentrated on each rep, figuring if I was going to fail at some point I wanted every step to failure to be well executed. Then I would truly know my limit. The joy is not the medal, the joy is the job well done.
The first day was doable and very similar to the BBB challenge. I would say easy, but it was work. Jerking off to porn is easy. 36 reps at 70% is work. Felt the same about the second day.

The third day I really felt the weight for the first unracking and, even though I had squatted heavier, it really felt heavy thinking I had to do it 34 more times. Doing five rep heavy sets gets the lungs to working too, I think here is where I was helped a lot by swimming background.

The fourth day I was just plain nervous. I knew that this was the day I would either fail or be able to make it close to the end. I did a good warm up and stretched. I decided I was just going to look at each set on itâ??s one. I wasnâ??t going up for thirty reps, all I had to do was three. After the first set, I was a little in shock that I had nine more to go. It was never easy, but the last three were â??easierâ?? because I knew I was close to the end. I wasnâ??t worried about failure anymore, I just had to deal with the discomfort. I didnâ??t need too much rest between sets, it varied between 3-5 minutes, just how I felt from set to set.

For every day on the last set, I added in one extra rep that I really worked on executing slowly and perfectly. It was my mental extra credit. I like pushing myself, but I like feeling like I won when I walk out of the gym. To stick with any physical activity it becomes far more mental than physical. The mind drives, the body responds.

I did a few calculations and at my set weight, the second week is an 8% increase over the first week with the third week another 4% jump. The 9s day on the second week is a repeat in volume of the 5s day of the first week, so just a repeat, not an increase. On the third week, the 9s and 7s day are both repeats from the second week, so only the 5s and 3s on the last week are really new. Something to focus on when the going gets hard. The real work comes on the very last two days and even for those I have shouldered that weight, it is just the volume that is new.

I think one thing that has helped is three weeks ago my wife got me to start going to yoga. I believe the stretching helps. Not a huge fan of yoga as it is really boring but I can check out the cute girls which helps pass the time. I donâ??t quite â??getâ?? yoga. We were talking to some young girl and she was nattering on about how the slow meditation brings up a lot of emotion in her. For me, I just try not to fall asleep. I got in trouble for snoring in one class. I think the few â??emotionsâ?? I have get purged under the barâ?¦

Overall, I like the gym and get far less flak at home versus ocean swimming. The wife doesn’t annoy me worrying that I might get eaten at the gym.

I did the first day of the second week today. My legs donâ??t feel so bad, but I have weird aches and pains elsewhere. Today was 4x9 at 112.5 kilos/247.5 pounds. It was more of a grinder than anything elegant. I am getting a bit of a wear mark on my traps from the bar.

I did it on my lunch hour and when I got back to work and sat down I started getting a bit nauseated. It passed fortunately! Glad I have another day of rest before 5x7 at 120 kilos/264 pounds.

I finished the third day of the second week today, the fives day. I woke up this morning and the first thought I had was I am too sore. I decided that I was going to give myself an extra day of rest. It was only after being up, moving around, having a decent breakfast, and a hot shower that I decided I would rather fail in the rack then fail in my mind. It is about a two mile walk to the gym and the whole way there I just was thinking today would be the day that I either stopped or missed reps at least. Neither happened and I feel the best today after the workout versus the last couple of workouts. Woohoo!

One thing I have learned is that it is far better to find a tried and true program then to just flail about. Smolov certainly knew how quickly the human body could adopt and how far one could push. And it is a push, I hurt to some degree and in odd ways all the time.

The lifts today were interesting. I tend to have a wider stance squat and feel that I push a lot from my hamstrings. Today though I was really feeling it in my quads and I felt like my quads activating was what got the lifts completed.

Still made my one ultra deep bonus rep too.

Tomorrow is 10x3 at 135 kilos/297 pounds.

Some fun bits. I have a lasting mark on my traps from where the bar sits. My hands are still staying calloused from gripping the bar tightly. I really work on holding the bar tightly with my upper body. I only wear my belt for the heaviest sets. All my warmup is done without a belt.

The girls at the front desk ask me every day what my workout is. As far as I know, I am the only person there who has ever tried Smolov. The owner doesn?t know anyone else who has tried. The personal trainers there are split. About half are pretty interested and always chat me up. The other half just ignore me or glare at me. I guess I make them look bad or something. Whatever. There were a number of cute girls there today which made the time pass. I probably took the longest breaks between sets as I ever have, generally 5-7 minutes.

Ah, forgot. I may be smart in some ways, but I am a freaking idiot other times. Just ask the wife. Anyways, was going over my numbers and realized I had used 145 kilos for the program, not 140. So far so good.

I finished the second week today with 10 sets of 3 at 135 kilos/297 pounds. Unlike yesterday, I woke up this morning feeling pretty good and was ready for the day ahead. I wish I could say the workout went as well, but it just hurt from the first set to the last. I found that the first rep of each set was always the worst, so I ended up doing the 8th and 9th set as just one set of six reps. The tenth was just a painful grind and I didn’t take a bonus rep. The bonus was just setting the bar down.

I am looking forward to couple of days off. I can’t workout Friday because of a work commitment so I am getting two days of rest. Next week is only a five kilo jump which seems manageable. Also, every day I complete for next week is the last time I have to do it. 2/3 of the way done!

Since I am a relative novice and a bit older, my original plan was to have longer breaks between each week. I am pretty happy that I have stayed on plan. A big reason I posted about completing the first week is I figured this would help push me to keep going. I didn’t want to be the guy who joined the forum just to choke on Smolov!

I strangely feel great today. Normally I sleep 5-6 hours but last night I went to sleep at 9pm and didn’t wake up until 5:30 am. I haven?t slept 8+ hours in ages. Considering how hard yesterday was, I really though today was just going to be a day of shuffling along in pain. I am reworking my schedule so I can make it to the gym tomorrow.

From Smolov and 5/3/1 I have added 13 pounds/6 kilos of muscle to my frame according the body fat calculator on my scale. I am still carrying almost the same amount of total fat since I started so no variance there either way. I am pretty happy to have added muscle while not adding fat. At some point I would like to cut down the fat a bit, but my goal all along was to get strong, not worried about being skinny. Ideally I would like to add about the same amount of muscle again as that would put my lean body weight around 195 pounds /89 kilos.

Re Tim H’s question about overseas lifters and measurements. I lift in kilos but measure my body in pounds! Kilos because that is how they measure at the gym, pounds because I have always kept track of my weight in pounds.

Great job running Smolov. Its a real bitch and completing it will be a big accomplishment. You ought to post a log in the 0-35 section, lots of good lifters and support there.

Good luck with the rest of the program,

Jack

Thanks for the kind words and after I finish Smolov and my experience here I probably will do that. I wanted to add to the Smolov experiences here for those contemplating it.

2 days down and 2 left to go for the third week!

I normally start the week on Friday, but work intervened and couldn?t start to Saturday so had a bonus rest day. I went to yoga first (just two classes left) and then headed to the gym. I was curious if all the stretching would help and I believe it did. I was really fired up and thought with the extra day rest I would load the bar at 117.5 kilos (258.5 pounds) instead of 115. I warmed up then bashed out 4x9 super deep and fast. I came up so fast the bar was bouncing on my traps when I straightened up. The next day I was pretty sore, but not terrible.

Because of the increase on Saturday, I decided to increase on Monday for the 5x7 day. I was scheduled for 120 kilos (264 pounds), but after the first set of 7 I jumped it up to 130 kilos (286 pounds) for the next four sets. I was hard, but I executed them all deep and with a long pause on the last rep of each set.

I had to give blood today so I am going to give myself an extra day and do my fives day on Thursday. Because of work again on Friday, I probably will have to do the final threes day on Saturday. A bit off track from perfect Smolov, but I gotta pay the rent too. I am scheduled for 130 kilos for the 5s and 140 for the threes, but plan on bumping those to at least 135/145 respectively.

I am surprised at just how strong I feel, like I have two oaks for legs. Really happy overall with the Smolov protocol.

I will say, pain has become my friend. After yesterday?s workout, my legs felt like someone was sticking hot pins in them for several hours afterwards.

I had the fives day today. Just one day left and I will completed the Smolov base meso cycle. I went ahead and bumped the weight to 135 kilos (297 pounds) where 130 was called for. I had two days rest instead of the planned one day. The extra rest day had me feeling super strong and the least painful of any days since the first day. I hit all the reps and really concentrated on proper form for every rep.

I was pretty beat by the last set, but felt strong enough that I could have done a couple of more sets if called for. I have tried to stay as close to plan as I could. I have had two extra days of rest, but compensated with basically a 10 kilo jump for the third week instead of a five kilo. I?ll take more weight anyday!

Because of the frequent and heavier squatting, I am surprised at how squatting feels now versus just a few weeks ago. As I warm up, the bar loaded at 100 kilos feels like 60 kilos used to for the walkout. For all the reps today 135 felt substantial but never unmanageable.

One day left!

I am beginning to feel like I feel after a long swim. I remember the first time I made it to aquatic park after swimming from Alcatraz. I still had a ways to go, but I knew I could make the finish.

[quote]GoCal wrote:
I had the fives day today. Just one day left and I will completed the Smolov base meso cycle. I went ahead and bumped the weight to 135 kilos (297 pounds) where 130 was called for. I had two days rest instead of the planned one day. The extra rest day had me feeling super strong and the least painful of any days since the first day. I hit all the reps and really concentrated on proper form for every rep.

I was pretty beat by the last set, but felt strong enough that I could have done a couple of more sets if called for. I have tried to stay as close to plan as I could. I have had two extra days of rest, but compensated with basically a 10 kilo jump for the third week instead of a five kilo. I?ll take more weight anyday!

Because of the frequent and heavier squatting, I am surprised at how squatting feels now versus just a few weeks ago. As I warm up, the bar loaded at 100 kilos feels like 60 kilos used to for the walkout. For all the reps today 135 felt substantial but never unmanageable.

One day left!

I am beginning to feel like I feel after a long swim. I remember the first time I made it to aquatic park after swimming from Alcatraz. I still had a ways to go, but I knew I could make the finish.

First off well done,smolov is a truly tuff programme,i done it last year,got 20kg gain off it,nearly there,the last week will feel easiest,best of luck and keep us posted when you test your max :slight_smile:

DONE! I had to work a long day on Friday so got in a day of rest which I didn’t mind. I woke up Saturday morning feeling good and went to yoga. Yoga is like the castor oil of exercises, I know it is good for me but it still sucks. I was all loose though so when I got to the gym I just did a quick warmup and then went over the squat rack. I had to wait for someone to finish using it first. He was deadlifting a whopping 40 kilos. I don’t think that would even qualify as a deload, so figured maybe it was a chick on hormone therapy. Nice enough though and I just warmed up the lame ass smith machine.

Finally she was done and I got onto the squat rack. I loaded it up with 145 kilos and figured what the hell, at least let me get in one set at 145 and then if I need to back it to 140 (the original plan) I would. I got my three reps in and made sure they were deep. It felt heavy but was not unmanageable in the least. A quick note, this was the FIRST TIME I had ever done 145 and I did three deep reps.

I set the bar down and felt pretty chuffed with myself. I thought no matter what happens every additional rep I get in will be a PR so, what the heck, go for it. And I did. Nine more sets at 145 and I was the man. The last three sets were grinders. I didn’t go for a bonus rep, but the last rep over every set was done with a long pause at the bottom with my thighs/hips clearly below parallel.

I am not so concerned with what my absolute max has now become, but I will spend the time doing some speed work and recuperating over the next couple of weeks so I can see what mine has become. Gotta do it just for posterity. My plan for the next month is to concentrate on conditioning and high rep work then get back to the 5/3/1 that has worked so well for me so far.

On the scale before Smolov, my lean body weight would vary between 177 pounds and 181 pounds. Now it is varying between 180 and 184 pounds. This morning by bodyfat and bodyweight were pretty low (vs the last month) and my lean body weight was a calculated 181 pounds. I can definitely say I added muscle, maybe a couple of pounds. I think pretty amazing for a three week protocol on a 49 year old man. The middle of my thigh measures 25" and the top of my thigh is 29", ie forget any slim cut pants.

I am a bit sore today and slept about 9 hours last night which is a real change from my usual six hours.

My tentative plan is to run 5/3/1 for six months until the Aussie fall and then next winter try the full 13 week cycle. Ultimately, I really would love to get to a 5 plate squat and figure that will take a year or two at least.

I hadn’t mentioned this before, but one thing I did in the few weeks running up to Smolov was adding some heavy leg presses for speed work. I would pyramid up on the leg press starting at 6 plates and do sets of 5 as fast as I could. Every set I would add 2 plates until I would usually max at 14. I would use a ROM all the way ankles to ass and push hard from there. I think that really helped me always in getting out of the hole on Smolov. I like the leg press because it is easy to concentrate on just generating maximum force with no thought to technique beyond keeping the legs lined up.

p.s. Celtic, my wife’s family is all from the Galway area.

Nice work man. That’s impressive stuff.

[quote]GoCal wrote:
DONE! I had to work a long day on Friday so got in a day of rest which I didn’t mind. I woke up Saturday morning feeling good and went to yoga. Yoga is like the castor oil of exercises, I know it is good for me but it still sucks. I was all loose though so when I got to the gym I just did a quick warmup and then went over the squat rack. I had to wait for someone to finish using it first. He was deadlifting a whopping 40 kilos. I don’t think that would even qualify as a deload, so figured maybe it was a chick on hormone therapy. Nice enough though and I just warmed up the lame ass smith machine.

Finally she was done and I got onto the squat rack. I loaded it up with 145 kilos and figured what the hell, at least let me get in one set at 145 and then if I need to back it to 140 (the original plan) I would. I got my three reps in and made sure they were deep. It felt heavy but was not unmanageable in the least. A quick note, this was the FIRST TIME I had ever done 145 and I did three deep reps.

I set the bar down and felt pretty chuffed with myself. I thought no matter what happens every additional rep I get in will be a PR so, what the heck, go for it. And I did. Nine more sets at 145 and I was the man. The last three sets were grinders. I didn’t go for a bonus rep, but the last rep over every set was done with a long pause at the bottom with my thighs/hips clearly below parallel.

I am not so concerned with what my absolute max has now become, but I will spend the time doing some speed work and recuperating over the next couple of weeks so I can see what mine has become. Gotta do it just for posterity. My plan for the next month is to concentrate on conditioning and high rep work then get back to the 5/3/1 that has worked so well for me so far.

On the scale before Smolov, my lean body weight would vary between 177 pounds and 181 pounds. Now it is varying between 180 and 184 pounds. This morning by bodyfat and bodyweight were pretty low (vs the last month) and my lean body weight was a calculated 181 pounds. I can definitely say I added muscle, maybe a couple of pounds. I think pretty amazing for a three week protocol on a 49 year old man. The middle of my thigh measures 25" and the top of my thigh is 29", ie forget any slim cut pants.

I am a bit sore today and slept about 9 hours last night which is a real change from my usual six hours.

My tentative plan is to run 5/3/1 for six months until the Aussie fall and then next winter try the full 13 week cycle. Ultimately, I really would love to get to a 5 plate squat and figure that will take a year or two at least.

I hadn’t mentioned this before, but one thing I did in the few weeks running up to Smolov was adding some heavy leg presses for speed work. I would pyramid up on the leg press starting at 6 plates and do sets of 5 as fast as I could. Every set I would add 2 plates until I would usually max at 14. I would use a ROM all the way ankles to ass and push hard from there. I think that really helped me always in getting out of the hole on Smolov. I like the leg press because it is easy to concentrate on just generating maximum force with no thought to technique beyond keeping the legs lined up.

p.s. Celtic, my wife’s family is all from the Galway area.[/quote]

be sure to test,i can see 180kg squat when u test based on your 10x3 145kg,Galway beautiful place in west of ireland :),say hello from a fellow irishman in dublin fair city,and all the best luck to you :slight_smile:

Hey Celtic. In the nicest way possible. F’ you! I saw your post that 180 was possible and the whole week I was thinking about it. Mind you, until the third week of Smolov I had never even squatted 145 kilos so 180 seemed crazy. It just weighed on my mind, no pun intended!

Sunday rolled around and I felt good and ready to get it over with. The whole week was just light duty and spinning my wheels until I could test. I guess to follow correct Smolov I would have waited another week, but since I wasn’t I just couldn’t stand not working out heavy for that long.

I got to the gym and it was packed with everyone getting ready for summer. As usual though everyone was pretty boy exercising and no one was on the squat rack. Yes!

I just did a nice progression up to 140. 60x5, 80x5, 100x3, 120x2, 140x1. I then loaded 150 and did a nice slow deep rep. I was happy because if nothing else, I had set a new PR and it felt good and easy. I did the same with 160 which was a 15 kilo bump for a PR and was still feeling good. I decided to go for 170 and see how it was. I really noticed the heaviness of the weight and descended slowly. As I came up I just thought about keeping my core tight, not rounding, and pushing from the heels. It was work for sure, but after I racked it I didn’t feel like I was at the limit.

Now came the reality of 180 and a 35 kilo PR jump. I loaded up the plates and just looked at it for a minute. I haven?t spent much time in serious gyms and in person I have never seen a person complete a 4 plate squat. I know it is not a freaky heavy weight, but it was a lot to me. I took out my headphones, tightened my belt, and got under the bar. I figured I would walk it out at least just to feel the weight. I did and was a bit shocked about how heavy it was. I quickly dropped that line of thought and focused on success. Think success, not failure. I positioned myself and started descending. The descent went well and then I realized I had to the down elevator! I really tightened up and pushed and stopped it. I took a quick look in the mirror to see if I was past parallel and it looked good enough for me. I pushed super hard and started coming up. I felt a little forward and rounded a bit about ¾ of the way up, but just grinded it up and onto the hooks. DONE! I doubt I would have got three whites but I am sure one judge would have pity lighted me of one!

I had someone come up to me in the locker room and make a comment about spending all my time in the squat rack (nicely!). I told him what I had just squatted and he was shocked and congratulated me. On the way out, the trainers at the front desk asked how I was going and I told them about my new PR. I am under instructions for the next time I have to tell everyone so they can watch! Sweet!

Man, nice!

[quote]GoCal wrote:
Hey Celtic. In the nicest way possible. F’ you! I saw your post that 180 was possible and the whole week I was thinking about it. Mind you, until the third week of Smolov I had never even squatted 145 kilos so 180 seemed crazy. It just weighed on my mind, no pun intended!

Sunday rolled around and I felt good and ready to get it over with. The whole week was just light duty and spinning my wheels until I could test. I guess to follow correct Smolov I would have waited another week, but since I wasn’t I just couldn’t stand not working out heavy for that long.

I got to the gym and it was packed with everyone getting ready for summer. As usual though everyone was pretty boy exercising and no one was on the squat rack. Yes!

I just did a nice progression up to 140. 60x5, 80x5, 100x3, 120x2, 140x1. I then loaded 150 and did a nice slow deep rep. I was happy because if nothing else, I had set a new PR and it felt good and easy. I did the same with 160 which was a 15 kilo bump for a PR and was still feeling good. I decided to go for 170 and see how it was. I really noticed the heaviness of the weight and descended slowly. As I came up I just thought about keeping my core tight, not rounding, and pushing from the heels. It was work for sure, but after I racked it I didn’t feel like I was at the limit.

Now came the reality of 180 and a 35 kilo PR jump. I loaded up the plates and just looked at it for a minute. I haven?t spent much time in serious gyms and in person I have never seen a person complete a 4 plate squat. I know it is not a freaky heavy weight, but it was a lot to me. I took out my headphones, tightened my belt, and got under the bar. I figured I would walk it out at least just to feel the weight. I did and was a bit shocked about how heavy it was. I quickly dropped that line of thought and focused on success. Think success, not failure. I positioned myself and started descending. The descent went well and then I realized I had to the down elevator! I really tightened up and pushed and stopped it. I took a quick look in the mirror to see if I was past parallel and it looked good enough for me. I pushed super hard and started coming up. I felt a little forward and rounded a bit about ¾ of the way up, but just grinded it up and onto the hooks. DONE! I doubt I would have got three whites but I am sure one judge would have pity lighted me of one!

I had someone come up to me in the locker room and make a comment about spending all my time in the squat rack (nicely!). I told him what I had just squatted and he was shocked and congratulated me. On the way out, the trainers at the front desk asked how I was going and I told them about my new PR. I am under instructions for the next time I have to tell everyone so they can watch! Sweet!

thats great,wel done,told you 180kg be yours :),squatting is a mental strength as much as a physical,i know in my gym,its rare to see a 100kg squat done properly,im the only one :D,the leg press seems to be the main attraction,they think im crazy :D,again well done and keep strong :slight_smile:

If you have calculator,link it.