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Recommendations for Maintaining Lifts?


Does anyone have any suggestions for how to maintain a certain muscle group while focusing on a different group? For example, I’ve come a long way on bench. I am due to test somewhat soon, and I think I will finally hit 315. I’d like to really focus on my squats (smolov/super squats…) but I’d like to do so without losing the progress I’ve made on my bench. I’m hoping for a 12 week focus on legs.

Any known programming specifically for maintaining current status?



Keep doing the lift infrequently. Maybe do it heavy every now and then. What’s your weakness on the bench?


If you focus so much on one lift, your other lifts will very probably go down somewhat. That’s just how it goes. I’m not sure why you’d want to do Smolov anyway, but that’s your call.

Have you considered training to bring all your lifts up steadily?



Let’s say you hit 315 easily and now you want to bring up your squat. You will lose strength in the bench if you back off, but when you do bench hit a 285 single every time you bench. Try to keep yourself accustomed to 85% or so.


To clarify, are you trying to bring up your squat, or just do a program with a lot of squats in it? I ask, because Super Squats really didn’t do much for improving my strength on the squat. Was great for putting on weight and teaching me intensity, and just an awesome program in general, but not terribly strength oriented.

And, of course, Smolov is a peaking program. Good if you have a meet coming up, but you’re not going to keep most of what you get out of it.


Add volume (preferably doubles and triples) in the 70-80% range on squatting. Do singles on the bench in the 80-90% range for low volume.

You could also spread that squat volume out over a week and do shorter workouts w/ a higher frequency if you don’t wanna do it all in one session.


Apparently Smolov was originally designed for low level weightlifters that need to get their squat up fast, in other words their lack of overall strength was holding them back. They would have continued with lots of lower body volume and of course the Russians were pretty liberal with their special supplements, so you can assume that they would have kept their gains.

However, I definitely agree with what you are saying for powerlifters, I have heard of a guy setting an IPF squat record after running Smolov but there are few other good stories about it. Most people burn out or get injured, and those that manage to get through it end up losing most of their gains because that kind of volume and intensity is totally unsustainable for most people. There are days where you are supposed to squat 90% for multiple triples - the rate at which you are expected to progress is totally unrealistic.


Something to keep in mind; anything that gets your “strength” up fast is gonna be a peaking program. Strength is built slowly. Steroids will make it go a little faster, but it still just takes a while. However, proficiency can be acquired far quicker, and this tends to be what a peak is.

Honestly though, I can’t think of a single athlete Smolov ever trained. Does anyone know of any?


Take a look at Amit Sapir’s squat thread and look at the conversation me and him were having (before it gets into arm pain and such). I recently put about 30lbs. on my squat in two months, I was trying to get my bench up too but it didn’t go anywhere so you could say I was “maintaining”. Here’s the basic layout of my program - I will leave out the benching because it didn’t work out

Monday - Squat, pause squat
Tuesday - light SSB squat (60%x3x3), heavy deadlift, rack pulls
Wednesday - high bar squat (doubles or triples with around 75%)
Thursday - SSB squat (70%x5x3-5 sets), pause deadlift 3x3
Friday - lighter squat (still 80% but only doubles), pin squat, heavy barbell rows

The numbers I have there are just a starting point, I added 5-15lbs. each week. I also started with less volume and added more sets each week. I can’t tell you how much volume you should start with just like that, but basically take about 60% of the highest volume you have done in a week recently and spread it out over 6 days. Change exercises if you want, that’s just what I did.

Deadlift volume was low, around 20-25 reps a week. Everything was fairly low reps except for stuff like chin ups and band pull aparts. I also benched every day after squatting (which Amit had cautioned me against, I should have listened) and it didn’t work at all, I was used to high volume benching but lately I have been stuck. I recently lowered the volume and frequency significantly but increased intensity and I’m seeing some progress again.

Let me know if you have any questions.


And just to clarify, with my setup there I think I would have been better off benching 3x a week (on non-deadlift days) with fairly high intensity, low reps, low volume. As long as you can maintain intensity and do enough volume to keep muscle mass you won’t get weaker.