T Nation

Smolov Advice!


Hey guys, just wondering if running Smolov JR back-to-back at a sub-max percentage is a good idea? Instead of basing the calculations off of my true 1MR, what if I used like 90% of it? Would this be ok, or is it still too demanding?

I've recently switched to high-bar squats and I really want to catch it up to my low-bar squat. Squatting low-bar has caused a lack of development in my quads right around my knee, it makes me really weak out of the hole. Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!!


Running it back-to-back isn’t a good idea but it’s possible with a break in between. I ran the Smolov Base with the 2 week intro, Sheiko 29 (with the same training max) and then Smolov Base again with the 2 week intro (added 20 lbs to training max). Make sure you have diet and recovery in check. You have to eat to grow. I plan to do this again in a month.


How did you determine how much weight to add onto the bar after your first Smolov cycle? How did you come up with 20lbs? In the JR version it ends with 10 sets of 3 at 85%…


I was conservative because I knew my max from the end of a Smolov cycle would decline a little bit after the peak was over. I also didn’t want to overshoot, which happens to a lot of people running Smolov, because then you start another training program with a training max that is slightly too high and hit a wall as your strength drops back down. For me I know that it is highly likely that I put on at least 15-20 lbs on my squat after successfully completing a Smolov cycle and judge it based on my progress throughout the cycle.

I have learned that it’s best for me to choose my training max based on work capacity and progress throughout an entire cycle of training, not just a PR where most conditions were ideal for peak strength. If I don’t feel like I have progressed, I keep the numbers the same and figure out what is wrong. In the past I found that if I push forward regardless of having a shitty cycle, I end up going backwards instead of stagnating which is worse.

I also don’t really care to hit a PR at the end of a Smolov cycle, unless I planned it for a meet. I haven’t in the past because I wanted that week off to feel fresh leading into another program to get more training leading into a meet. It’s not a bad thing to go for it since it can be used for technique assessment. Instead of losing a week from a PR, I wasted 12 weeks of training this year from not addressing a technique issue that I could have discovered from the max attempt, so that was a dumb decision on my part.

The main reason why I run Smolov is to increase work capacity for future training. I plan to run Smolov at least 2 times a year for the next few years because my squat has a lot of room for improvement. People argue that high volume/frequency programs are the last thing you should use and to keep it in your back pocket. The only thing I have in my back pocket is more volume/frequency and I’m fine with that lol.


That was quite the reply!! I appreciate you taking the time to explain this stuff to me. What I’m taking from it is that 15-20lbs is generally the accept amount of strength to assume you added to your squat.


small advice, don’t be affraid to raise your calories while on it… You really need them to recover

Good call on switching to high-bar, i once failed a smolov base cycle cause it’s too much volume for low-bar (at least for me, my shoulder was wrecked).