T Nation

Khaine's Smolov Experience and 531 Molestation


I'm a complete wimp when it comes to squatting, so I decided to do Smolov. I also suck at introductions. Blamma.

Right, after the winter break (in December, I did a whopping 6 workouts and ate like a girl), I weighed in at 166 lbs at 5'8''. Embarrassing stuff, yes.

According to most recommendations, I should have been squatting twice a week for 2 years with high volume / high intensity before attempting Smolov. I haven't. So if I die, it's my fault for being retarded.

However, seeing as how most Smolovers complain of lower back overload during the program, I figured I needed to prep my lower back in record time. Being dumb as shit, I decided against soliciting advice anywhere and just made a gut decision.

Waterbury's Singular Workout: http://www.T-Nation.com/readArticle.do;jsessionid=8F07B8B9432ABF9607C0828B77C50134.hydra?id=1738331

I realise he's not the most popular author amongst the big guys here, but the program layout made sense to me from the perspective of hammering my lower back (low volume, high intensity, high density).

I picked Rack Pulls from below the knee, Back Squats and Snatch Grip Platform Deads as my main exercises for lower back pummeling.

So, On January 9th, I did Max Testing. At 166, I squatted a girly 275 (my all time PR was an equally girly 305 with very questionable depth).

After completing the Waterbury stint, on February 5th, weighing in at 177, I squatted 305 (rock bottom). I failed at 315. I'm fairly certain I could've gotten it, but as I slowed down about halfway up, I lost my composure, forgot all about pulling down and driving through, and got stuck. I set my max at 295 for purposes of the Smolov Cycle.

The next day, I breezed through the recommended 5 reps at 85% (245).

Gotta say I'm satisfied with my choice of the Waterbury program for an introductory meso. 30lbs on my squat and 11lbs of bodyweight is decent in 3 weeks.

Monday February 9th, Smolov begins:

4x9 @ 205

First set was way too easy, and I was already cocky from the ease with which I hit 5x245, so I figured this'd be a walk in the park. By the 3rd set, my quads were rigid as shit. Still got through it without too much of a hassle tho.


5x7 @ 220

DOMS were fucking with me all tuesday and wednesday leading up to the session, and after the warm-up (I do the whole protyazhka sequence as prescribed, I can even OH Squat now) and stretching I was trying to convince myself to lower the weight. I didn't though, and after the first couple of sets, I was alright.


7x5 @ 235

Sore as shit again. Daily stretching of the hip flexors is an absolute must for me, or they start pinching after my first warm-up set. I find that once I get past the first 3-4 sets of squatting, my confidence really gets on a roll and I can finish the workout with real energy.


10x3 @ 245

DOMS had dissipated somewhat. Again though, I'm not really comfortable until I get the first couple of sets under my belt, but when I do, I know I can get through the whole thing.

Cliffnotes after week 1:

  • I've gained 2 more lbs, 179 now. Need to step my calories up next week. 2 lbs a week is great stuff, but I really want to stay ahead of the curve here, so I don't crash halfway through the shitfuck week 2 looks to become.

Rather eat too much than too little at this point. Also, this is usually the bodyweight where I plateau. I need to move my set point here.

  • Lower back is aching a little once I start my work sets, but by the end of the workout, it's gone. No troubles in evenings or on off days.

  • Lifting on weekends is great. I usually struggle to maintain sound eating habits if I have both saturday and sunday off (lower bw on monday than preceding friday), but going to the gym keeps me structured throughout the weekend.

  • I squat shoeless. This is just a habit from Bali where I didn't really wear shoes at all. I've no idea what this means for my squat, but as long as get deep enough and get all my sets, it can't be too bad. Shoeless OH Squats should put me in the 'flexible enough' category.

  • My squat form has never been this good. All this repetition is obviously great for proprioception.

  • Every workout is a full-body workout. So after I've squatted, I perform a push and a pull. Push Press, Chins, Paused Bench, DB Rows, Dips, Pull Ups, Speed Bench, Kroc Rows (in that order, figure it out). I'll put up the numbers on these as I make progress.

  • This week, I've rested 2 minutes between sets. I have a feeling I'll be extending these next week.

  • I like this shit.


Week 2, Day 1:

4x9 @ 225

Heavy, uncomfortable, but ultimately satisfying. 3 minute rests today.

Hit the Push Press for 190x1 (PR). Yay.


Week 2, Day 2:

5x7 @ 240

The last rep on the 4th set was the closest I've come to missing a rep so far. I knocked the shit outta the last set tho. Strong finish.

Not satisfied with my eating so far this week. Stepping it up as we speak.


Week 2, Day 3:

7x5 @ 255

Now we're talking. From here on out, pretty much every squat I hit is a PR. Seven 5s at 255 definitely is. This shit fucking sucked. After the 4th set, I had to go to 4 minute rests, my right VMO was cramping up and my forearms were burning up from squeezing the bar. Fucking awesome.

I've developed a patch of hard skin right between my traps. Squatter epidermis. I'm evolving. Cool.


Week 2, Day 4:

10x3 @ 265

This day fucking sucked. I overslept and had to rush to the gym with 1100 cals of breakfast still fresh in my stomach. On top of that, I messed with my form, as my current close hand positioning is starting to fuck with my elbows as well as pulling my chest down.

This was obviously not the day to start making adjustments. On my second set, I hit the left safety bar on my descent. I tried to correct it, rather than just sitting the fuck down, which was a mistake. Wasted energy.

Long story short, I started missing reps in my 8th set. Fucker.

I've been eating my ass off all weekend to help me recover and put me back where I need to be to finish this fucking base cycle.

I WILL hit every rep in week 3.


Week 3, Day 1

4x9 @ 235

I adjusted my set-up again today. Higher bar positioning, hands further apart, thumbless grip, all to keep my elbows down and chest up. It worked out all right. I felt comfortable under the weight and had no real problems finishing the workout. Reps are clean and solid.

Added KB Swings to my warm-up and definitely felt a difference in my glutes firing during the sets.


Week 3, Day 2

5x7 @ 250

Not much to say about this really. I took my time between sets, nailed every rep, my form is getting real solid, I'm still miles away from the numbers I want to be squatting.

Forgot to mention a PR on Week 3, Day 1; Push Press for 195x1. Should've gone for a double, that shit was too easy.


Week 3, Day 3

7x5 @ 265

Failed on 3 sets. Hit the first four, then hit a triple on my 5th (failure), a triple on my 6th (failure) and a double on my 7th.

Don't know what to say really. I felt real good on wednesday, but thursday and friday I was worn down from the moment I got up in the morning. I've been eating shitloads and sleeping 9-10 hours a night, but my body just isn't being cooperative.

Week 3, Day 4

10x3 @ 275

Given how crappy friday's workout was and how I felt getting up on saturday, I didn't really have a lot of faith in saturday's workout. I missed my second rep on the 4th set and said fuck it. The program doesn't call for failure training and I definitely shouldn't be going to failure on 10 sets in two days, so I cut my workout short and got started on my recovery week, hoping for some sort of supercompensation to occur.

Week 4, Max Test

I spent this week eating 3500+ cals a day and had two easy upper body workouts. Skimped on the hip flexor stretching tho, and definitely paid for it.

I hit 315 (all-time PR), failed at 325. I'm depressed now. I think I did too many heavy warm-up sets. The weight felt heavy walking it out and the confidence I built up during the first 2 weeks got shot to shit.

On the plus side, I'm squatting 3PPS finally, and my form is great. That was a rock-bottom, chest up 315 max effort. Too bad it's still girly weight.

Blahhh. I had planned to do the Intense Cycle at this point, but my body definitely wasn't ready for this kind of volume, so I'm cutting my losses and calling it a day after Base.

I can see myself doing Smolov at later juncture tho, when my work capacity is up to the task and I'm more accustomed to handling the heavy weights.

Final Results.

Bodyweight: Up from 177 to 184
Squat: Up from 305 to 315


It might be worth doing another light squat workout in 2 or 3 days and testing your max again around March 15. It is possible you weren't fully recovered yet. I'd use this article as a guideline for your warm-up: http://www.elitefts.com/documents/max_effort_easy.htm. Nice work so far and all the best for the future.


Cheers man. That was actually the table I used as my template for the warm-up, I just felt drained by the time I was trying for my PR.

Appreciate the support man.


It is possible it wasn't so much the warm-up that kicked your ass as you weren't anywhere near fully recovered. Definitely my guess.

You might have to set a new goal as I don't think anyone can consider you a pussy.


Random updates here then.

Currently on the 5-3-1 bandwagon. 5th cycle, 4 days a week, BBB assistance, v.2.dumbfuck.


DL: 6x346 which puts my ca sorta max at 415 (PR)

SGDL off platform: 5x10 @ 148

Added these in place of regular DLs this cycle for the extra quad work. My glutes, hammies, forearms and upper and lower back are liking them too.

GMs: 5x10 @ 104

I go wide stance, arched back on these. I like the depth I get this way, and the stretch in my hammies. Whether or not it's actually good idea, I haven't a clue.


MP: 5x137 = ca sorta max of 159 (PR)

When I have to reset this, I think I wanna do Push Press as my 5-3-1 lift and MP as my assistance. I'll see how that works out tho.

MP: 5x10 @ 82.

Super Wide Pull Ups: 5x4
Neutral Grip Chins: 5x6
Chins: 5x5

I do the pulling in between MP sets, which is a great way to get volume in, which I need, seeing as I suck at vertical pulls.



I hate whining about this shit, so I'll make it short. I lost a fuckton of weight because I stayed in Brazil for 4 months and played around with jiu jitsu and soccer. This made me a limp noodle. My triangle choke is tight tho.

Back on 531 for 10 weeks now, and PRs are starting to stack up on a weekly basis.

Dead is up to 7x157.5, which puts my ca sorta at 194kg / 427lbs (PR). Aiming for 200kg before 2011.

MP up to 7x62.5 / 77kg / 169lbs (PR).

Squat is still shit. 8x110 / 140kg / 305lbs. 110lbs less than my dead. Ridic. Still gonna beat my 315 PR before new year's tho.

Bench about 111kg / 245 lbs.

BW 180-185 and rising.

1000lb total before 2011.


Last cycle of 531 in 2010

Week 1 Day 1

Squat 11x102,5 / 140 / 308

Bulgarian Split Squats with 45s

Band assisted Nordic Hamstring Raise


Week 2

Squat 10x107,5 / 143 / 315

Bench 10x85 / 113 / 248

Deadlift 9x152,5 / 198 / 436 PR

Military 10x60 / 79 / 174 PR


Week 3

Squat 8x115 / 145 / 319 (PR)

32 Pull Ups

Bulgarian Split Squats w/ 50s (15-30 RP)

Nordic Hamstring Raises (12-20 RP)



Bench 9x90 / 116 / 255

38 Chins

Chaos Bench

Blast Strap Inverted Rows w/ Fat Grips

Gun show


Deadlift 7x162,5 / 200 / 440 (PR)

RDL 6-6-6-6 set


Yay 200!


Military Press 5x65 / 75 / 165 - Missed the PR by two reps, which is the first time in a while I've done that.

38 Chins

Weighted Dips

T-Bar Rows


Doing retarded stuff at the gym tomorrow, then it's time for a 10-day break.


Okay, 10-day break turned into a lazy 21 day break during which I got drunk (too much), gluttonized (enough) and fornicated (too little). All good stuff to a decadent motherfucker like myself, but starting 2011 with a ton of guilt and a bit of a gut is hardly ideal. So, to the gym.

Missed rep PRs on both squat and deadlift by a couple of reps, but that's to be expected for a week or two. Still well within the required reps, so I'm not too worried.

Bench Press 13x82,5 / 118 / 259 (PR)

Bunch of chins

Chaos Bench (I'm dropping this now, cus I don't like it, going back to DB Floor Presses, which I love)

Blast Strap Inverted Rows w/ Fat Grips

Gun city

On a side note, I'm adding some volume, first by hitting the gym on two of my off days, just doing mobility work and light, low-volume stuff, then I'm adding two days of hill sprints next cycle. Hopefully, this'll help with my recovery, build my work capacity and give me some form of conditioning. Which is all great, you know.