I agree that the day where you do 7 sets of 5 is a very hard day.
I have done the complete smolov for back squats twice, and smolov for front squats two or three times (don’t remember exactly). I have also done the base meso cycle only for front squats several times, and for back squat several times. By the sound of this, my squat should have been humongous by now. As it is, I suffered a very serious injury in 2007, that kept me out of back squatting for more than a year, and there have been periods of sickness and demotivation, so the current raw deep beltless max is at 240kg:
Typical gains for me have been:
Base meso cycle: approx 10kg/22lbs
Entire Smolov: approx 30kg/66lbs
Now I am so accustomed to squatting that I can tolerate a very high workload. The first time I did Smolov I was about to die! But I made it through. It was very very very hard, and I had pain everywhere. I felt like a zoombie after the base meso cycle.
Recently I have completed the base meso cycle exclusivly, twice, with a few weeks of lighter training in between. Those cycles both gave 10kg on the squat, and brought the 1RM from 220kg to 240kg. The first run through, I ate like a mad man, and gained a noticeable stomach. Every session was a good session, and energy levels was high. The second run through, I was slacking in the eating department and in the rest department, and I still made it through, but the workouts were a lot harder, and I got a slight knee pain, that took a couple of weeks to disappear.
I also did the two base meso cycles diffrently to my ordinary squat. My ordinary squat is a high bar, narrow grip, narrow stance olympic squat, while the base meso cycles was done with a maximum wide grip, narrow stance, and full pause at the bottom for every rep. I used a 1RM guestimated to 20kg below my 1RM for my ordinary style.
It was very hard to complete the base meso cycles both times, but as I said, very very hard the second time. I had a hard time motivating myself in the end, but I made it through, and the results was absolutely worth it.
I have previously done 180kg x 20 reps in the squat, and I am now working towards 190kg x 20 reps in the squat, got 11 reps this far.
After this, I will definately do Smolov again, but I think I will stick to the base meso cycles only, as I like those the most. It is also easier to get motivated for one month compared to three months.
And as the saying goes: “Don’t change a winning team”.
When it comes to bodyweight, I have always gained bodyweight from frequent squatting, given I have been eating properly. Not eating properly and squatting frequently is very very hard, and injuries can come more easily then.
I read about the dude who gaines over 20kg on the base meso cycle while starting on a max over 200kg, and he also stated he gained no bodyweight. I find that incredible. That must be some talent. I, myself have never gained more than 10kg on the base meso cycle, no matter how much i ate, or how much bodyweight I gained, but I guess there are lifters out there that respond more quickly to squatting than what I do. I never saw myself as genetically gifted, and I work my but off for all the progress that I get.
I work harder in the squat than anyone that I personally know, and that will bring me far.
I have total confidence in Smolov, and consider it to be the holy grail of squat routines.
Smolov is hard, and unless you have circumstances that allows it, it can be incredibly hard to complete. I would not reccomend it if you have a very stressful job, or other factors in life that can come between you and eating and recovery.
Best of luck everyone that tries to do the Smolov.
Here is the complete layout for the entire Smolov program, including the switching period. It is in danish, but those determined to do Smolov, can use online translators to translate. I might do an english version sometime in the future. I provide this spreadsheet, but I did not make it. Some danish powerlifter did.