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Maintaining After Smolov Jr?

Anyone have any input on maintaining strength gains after running Smolov Jr? I’ve been running Wendler 5-3-1 for the past 8 months or so, but wanted to (need to) increase my squat so I decided to try Smolov Jr. Been reading different things that say it’s more of a “peaking” program, and I was curious how someone who has actually ran the program and what they transitioned to after to maintain those gains.

I’m a competitive bodybuilder, but just recently got into powerlifting also so this style of training is relatively new to me. I’m 5’7", 175 lbs right now. Just did a Raw push/pull comp with a 325 bench and 600 deadlift. I have a full meet coming up in December. Obviously I’d like to improve all my lifts, but my squat and bench need the most work. I’m running Smolov Jr. based off a 450 squat with the intentions of switching back to Wendler for squats (based off my new max) and then running Smolov Jr. for bench.

I’ve cut out deadlifts while doing Smolov squats for the sake of my low back, but figured 3 weeks off wouldn’t kill me and then throw them back in when I switch to Smolov bench. Any advice from anyone who’s been in a similar situation?

Thats an awesome deadlift for your weight. I am surprised your squat is so far behind

I’ve ran the full Smolov cycle for squats with great results, but be prepared for a little let down. Smolov is a peaking program and I assume Smolov Jr. will be similar. I went through a period of lifting depression after I completed Smolov because I couldn’t keep all the gains and it seemed like my normal 5-3-1 program just wasn’t working. I was still much stronger than when I started, just not as strong as I was when I peaked. That’s just the nature of the beast.

Tim Henriques wrote this article a few weeks ago and I think he hit the nail on the head:

These two “cons” for HFT stand out to me:

"Once the body is used to higher frequency, you can feel a little lost when you get off that program. You can’t stay on an intense high frequency program forever (due to injury or burn out), but after you scale back there’s often a period that feels like nothing is working and your strength drops significantly.

Strength levels seem to fluctuate more on high frequency programs. The good news is that if you peak right you can be really strong when it’s max-out time, but there will also be periods where your strength is lower than normal or well off your max."

Those observations sum up Smolov perfectly for for me. I think the moral is Smolov will make you stronger, but you need to manage your expectations about the sustainability of the gains in the short run or you might get really down on your training.

I ran smolov in November going into December and again in March going into April. I think my max was about 340 by the end of that.

I’ve been working with 3x5 work, 5x5 work, and paused sets of the same rep set schemes with lower weights. I’m at 425 now.

Thanks for the responses. I got away from the site and actually just saw them. I guess this would be a good time for an update now then…I finished Smolov Jr. and definitely noticed a significant increase. I based it off of a 450 max, and after the cycle, I squatted 495 (first time ever having that much on my back). The depth was questionable at first (I think I just wasn’t comfortable having never even felt that weight), but I was able to put up 501 at the meet in December. I was so happy with the results from the squat cycle that I decided to try it for bench, but it wrecked my shoulder and I wasn’t able to finish it. I think it was more of a technique issue though and seem to have corrected it since. Ultimately I weighed in at 179 and finished with a 1432 total (501/330/601). Have another meet coming up in March and hoping to improve on bench and deads, but coming off a sartorious strain that really put a damper on my squats. Gonna hit them hard the next few weeks and try to get them back where they were.

So addressing your original question, it seemed you maintained just fine?

If I have this right:

  1. Sometime in September, you hit a 450 PR on your Squat, and you had started Smolov Jr for squat by the time you posted on 9/30.

  2. You would have finished Smolov Jr by the third week of October, and you got a PR of 495 in the last week of October.

  3. ??? you went back to Wendler 5/3/1 for Nov-Dec ???

  4. You continued to make gains (on 5/3/1?), adding six more pounds for a 501 PR in a meet.

  5. Went back to Wendler (???) and injured your quad?

I did maintain fairly well. I hadn’t started Smolov Jr when I made the original post. I had a friend who had just completed it, but had a problem with his strength falling off significantly and I was searching for ways to avoid that. Started right after the original post, so I finished at the end of October I believe.

November was loosely based off Wendler using 495 as my 1RM, but December 2 was my first meet so I designed November to lead me up to that based off what I felt worked best for me. I know that’s clear as mud, but powerlifting is still new to me so I’m still tinkering with things at this point.

Since December, I’ve been training more based off of feel than anything, trying to incorporate things from Mike Tuchscherer’s Reactive Training System. I’ve always been one that tends to push it to the max every time, so even though I haven’t had as much of a structured plan for progress, I was increasing the weights as I was able to. I kind of view powerlifting as a means to an end for my bodybuilding, so my training has been all over the place trying to balance both styles.

One thing I can say for sure is that my bench and dead have improved by increasing the frequency (bench 2-3x/week now and deadlift usually twice, one heavy day and one focused on speed). Squats were improving too, but strained an adducter (I believe) on a PR set. Bittersweet to say the least. Have had to take the last month easy due to the injury, but it’s much better now and gonna try and push it the next few weeks to get back up before my next meet on March 23.