T Nation

Russian Squat Routine


I'm on the fourth week of the russian squat cycle. This is my second time running it. My first run ended like a week or two after new years. Today I failed on my 4x4 workout, and my ankle has been bothering my on the achilles tendon.

Should I give the 4x4 workout a go tomorrow after having decent food and rest, or should I just move on to something else, and let my ankle heal?


I'm not familiar with the russian squat cycle.

I am familiar with training with injuries, bumps, bruises, pains, discomfort etc.

You'll probably be fine whether you do your 4x4 workout tomorrow or if you move onto something else and let the ankle heal. The difference is going to be in the ankle mainly. Is it worth it at this point for you to push that ankle? Are you preparing for a competition? Do you feel that the 4x4 workout is that important for your overall volume?

Self regulate.


This is probably like the Coan/Phillipi Deadlift Routine. You can only run it so often before burning out. I would've taken a couple of months off in between cycles to rest up. During those 2-3 months, I would just eat, eat and eat. And train of course. My advice: take some time off so you can heal up and rest up.



Did you actually fail the 4x4 because of your ankle? Or are you looking for an excuse to quit because it's starting to get really tough now? How much of the 4x4 did you manage?

I can totally relate to what you're going through. I'm currently on it too and tomorrow is my 3x3 day and I'm looking for excuses to stop doing it aswell because it's so hard. I only just scraped through my 4x4 and my 6x2 on Wednesday felt much harder than it should have.

You've only got two weeks to go and it would be a great shame to stop now after all the hard work you've put in to get this far. It is a really hard routine (probably only Smolov is harder) and very few manage to complete it. Only you can honestly say if you're ankle is bad enough for you to have to stop or not.


I've been squatting on the ankle for like 2 months now. it's horrible some days, and only slightly painful others. I'm back to college so my sleeping and eating got fucked with for the past week. It's getting back on track now though, although my job has me working like full time on top of being a full time student. I got through the first set with a rounded back on the last two reps, feeling like I wasn't even pushing with my right leg. My ankle almost rolled on every rep. I don't have a consistant spotter, and I don't have any safeties on the squat rack I'm using.

I think I'll be done with the program until next summer, where I may run it again. We'll see how I feel tomorrow morning though.


This is what I'm leaning towards. I appreciate your imput, as well as both of the other posters.


I completed the RSR in Dec last year. Got a 10kg gain from 140kg to 150kg @ 86kg BW. It was my first time running it and if I was to offer advice to anyone it would be:

  • Do not start it unless you are healthy and injury free

  • Don't plug in your absolute max, use a 'gym' max - a weight you can say nail on any given day without a psyche up

  • Work your abs like a mofo, your back will thank you for it and the weights in week 4 onwards won't feel so heavy on your back

  • Stretch and foam roll every day, multiple times per day if possible

It is fairly brutal if you are only accustomed to squatting heavy once per week (not sure if you're in that boat, but I certainly was). I had no injuries going into it and by week 3 I was getting stiffness in my TLF on my left side. I was using a foam roller up to then but decided to change to a wooden rolling pin. Rolled my TLF, IT band and piriformis every day. Hurt like hell but the stiffness went away by middle of week 4 when the weights start to get heavy.

It sounds like this was a pre-existing injury you took into the RSR, and you mentioned you rounded your back to finish some reps and almost rolled your ankle on every rep. This is a recipe for disaster imo. I would stop the program and make rehab of your ankle #1 priority.


if you are squatting to one side, you will really end up injuring yourself in your back or somewhere else. only you know your limits and i agree with the others-'is it worth it?" if you decide to stop the program, try squatting with lighter weights on some foam, that will strengthen your ankles, it helped me with stablization


planning on starting this squat routine next week, thoughts on deadlifts? throw in speed pull on Friday for a couple sets? or forget about it until after test day?


I think the thing is in the famous words of James Caan "are you hurt or are you injured" If your hurt get your ass in there and go. If your injured give it time to rest. You have to know your body, and what needs rest and what doesnt. Some things you just have to work through, all of us have worked through pain.


Trust me, once you start this routine (I completed it the beginning of this year, exactly as written and off a recent real 1RM) you wont be wanting to do "any" deadlifting. You'll probably have your hands full just managing the squatting.

At worst you'll maintain your DL or more likely increase it without doing a single rep.

I always have a chuckle when I hear people wanting to add extra work to RSR or Smolov.


I think the old russian rule if you failed was to start the cycle over again. so in this case go back to the start of the intensity phase and start over. that is if you are ready to go and the injury is one to train through or one to make you stop and get better


6 week routine right? just making sure i have the right template


Can someone please post what this program actually consists of? I am curious because nothing anyone has said on here makes it sound like there is any mathmatics or physics involved... and if that is the case, I would like to start talking shit about it as soon as possible. Thanks.


If I'm not mistaken, it's the 6 week version of the 3 lift, 9 week russian peaking cycle... That one is alright (as long as you don't do it for lifts you really aren't built for), but I don't like the condensed one-lift thing personally...

It has 2 workouts, light and heavy, done for 3 sessions per week (i.e. light, heavy, light, then reverse that next week).
On the light ones you just keep doing 80% of your old 1RM for 6 sets of 2.
On the heavy days you start with 80% for 6 sets of 3, work your way up to 6 sets of 6 then go down 1 rep and 1 set each until you hit a single (I think). You'll likely get more weight out of the cycle than what you're doing for that single though... At least that's the way it usually is with the 9 week routine... I tried the 6 week thing several times but finally gave up on it because it always murders my hips.


Oh, and after you hit 80%x6x6, when you go up (5x5, 4x4, 3x3 etc) you increase the weight lifted by 5% each heavy day. The single at the end is done with 105% of your old max. I never made it through even once, so I have no idea if you actually get more out of it or not.


mainly doing the program with a low estimate of max to strengthen the changed form i'm trying, it looks better than before, but not strong yet. need practice and this program gives you lots of it