T Nation

Sheiko or Smolov?


5'9 195
first meet in october this year @181
have gone 425/265/445
I know that in the sheiko program there is deadlifting but not sure how much. I personally think that i have a high tolerance for volume when it comes to squats. my workouts normally break down like this:
bar x shitload

I kind of want to take a step back on my deadlifting because i feel like ive gone backwards a little and want to build my squat even more. I know that sheiko has some deadlifting but not a ton. Would sheiko or smolov be the best bet for me?


Sheiko 29 has
Squat 2x week along with goodmorning assist
Dead 1x week along with lunge assist
Bench 3x week
Assistance day recommended (mobility, upper back, biceps, etc)

I havn't done Smolov, but it looks like a damn lot of squats. If someone else wants to post up the vague details of Smolov...
Either way they are both good for squats. If you haven't done a meet before, I would suggest sheiko over smolov.

Your 7 sets are a pittance if you look at Sheiko, which has squat days consisting of up to 17 sets in a day.


If you are looking for a meet prep workout, I would not suggest Smolov. During Smolov, you will very rarely have the energy to do anything other than the squat session for that day. I'm not saying Sheiko is easier, but it is created to be a more rounded program. Over a 4 month run of Smolov, I benched maybe 5 times and never deadlifted.

I don't know how long Sheiko 29 is, but you could also look at running Smolov, then running a Sheiko program after. Or, doing the Base Phase of Smolov and running Sheiko afterwards.


That pretty much sums up every Sheiko week.

Mondays - Squat + Bench
Wednesdays - DL + Bench
Fridays - Squat + Bench

Sometimes you Squat twice and Bench once in a day, sometimes the other way around. Same with DL.

The different templates have more or less emphasis on one of the big 3.

29 is more focused on bringing up the DL, but it only has you DL'ing once during the 4 week cycle. The rest are DL's from Boxes or DL's to Knees.

37 is a more balanced program, and has you DL from the floor 3 of the 4 weeks.

32 is a prep cycle leading up to a meet.

The 13 week beginner cycle is a good way to get into Sheiko if you have 13 weeks to commit to a program (which isn't asking much).

Smolov is too easy because you only have to Squat and nothing else. :wink: But it's not a good way to prep for a meet, unless you are confident in your DL and Bench, and just want to bring up your Squat.


thanks for the replies guys.
Forevermade, sorry i didnt specify more clearly. i know my 7 sets isnt much but then i deadlift to a single at or above 90% and still have more in the tank. i normally have to rein myself in on both squats and deadlifts. they are the lifts that i love to do.

modi- if you had more than a few months to run whichever order of sheiko, what order would you run which templates in?

thanks again.


I am personally not a fan of either due to the outrageous volume of both and the fact that on both you will have a great squat and deadlift, but I don't know anybody with a bench worth a damn. The volume seems too high to me for the chest/delts/triceps to recover when benching 3 times a week.

The Smolov cycle is squat only and you will not be deadlifting or benching the entire time, except for a few sets light just for maintanence. You will not be able to do a heavy session in either without sacrificing the entire cycle. You will NEVER recover from either (squat, bench, or deadlift) if you do. It is a very demanding cycle and will put a total on you squat, but that is it.


If I had never done it, and wasn't used to the volume, I would start with the 13 week cycle. The first week is a conditioning week, meaning that you follow the basic structure of Sq/B on Mon, DL/B on Wed and Sq/B on Friday, but you don't repeat the movement in the same workout.

The next 4 weeks are a slightly scaled back #37, but nothing too dramatic, the next 4 weeks are #37 but with added bench volume, and the last 4 weeks will be a peaking cycle, either for a meet or for a testing day. It's well written, and worth doing. Matt McGorry wrote an article here a while back.


If you don't want to go that route, I would still start with #37, then #32 and test your maxes, if you get some good gains, then you could keep repeating #37 until you don't get the gains you want.

Another option, if you tolerate volume quite well, would be to do #29 then #37 then #32 and test your maxes. I haven't done #29 yet, but it is supposed to be harder than it looks.

I just finished #40, which isn't really in print, other than an excel spreadsheet that is floating around, and it was hard as hell. I wouldn't recommend it unless you handle very high volume at rather high %'s or if I just didn't like you.

There are also some CMS and MS programs, but those are designed for rated lifters, and even if you had a total high enough to be rated, you would still be better off starting with one of the above mentioned cycles before trying a rated program.


The Bench volume may be high on Sheiko, but the intensity is cycled pretty well, so you aren't always training heavy. I won't say it's the best program for building your Bench, but if you end up with a great Squat and DL, you will probably put more on your total than with something that is just OK for all 3 lifts.

Smolov is Squat only, you are right. But you don't have to ignore your Bench while doing Smolov. I trained Bench fairly heavy and even made some gains while doing the Smolov. Smolov Jr. is suitable for Squat, Bench or DL.

In the end, some people tolerate volume, others do not. There's only one way to find out. Most people either lack the commitment or the balls to run Smolov all out. They give you all the reasons why it probably won't work, why it couldn't possibly work, so why bother trying?


I have to say that my bench and squat has gone up pretty well on Sheiko. Sheiko is the training routine for me. It suits my needs tremendously.


Thanks for the info guys. I think I'm just going to have to make up my mind and get behind something fully. There is a good chance that I will be going smolov just because, to me, it looks and sounds badass, and even if i only get 20 pounds out of it, ill know i finished it.

on a somewhat related note, do you guys wear wraps and a belt during all of your working sets? or only if you really need it.


I wore knee and elbow sleeves, and a belt on all working sets. Just doing Smolov is bad ass enough, no need to make it any harder than it is.

If you are using a max that is belted and wrapped, then I would use belts and wraps, if you are using a max that was beltless, then I would train beltless the whole time.


good point about the belts and wraps, modi. thanks again. i'm pretty set on going smolov and i will have a bench day somewhere in the rotation with 5-6 working sets and a fair amount of high rep accessories.

modi, did your DL suffer at all while on smolov? or did the constant battering of your leggs eventually pay off in overall strength?


I'd see how you feel the first week and then add in bench or whatever other exercises you need.


I think it stayed the same. I will test a 95% of max tomorrow, but other than that I won't know until Nationals. However, I based this training cycle off my old max, and it felt about right.


I managed benching twice a week while doing smolov, its quite impossible. My bench didn't suffer at all.


I don't know about multi-ply, but certainly in single-ply there are. I don't think the volume is outrageous, impractical for many, but not outrageous. You deload regularly.


anybody here with smolov experience NOT experience the gains they were looking for?