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Smolov Jr. Bench Program


Started the three-week Smolov program for bench press today (4/10). I did my main sets and am experimenting with secondary and accessory work. Here was today’s workout:

Bench press: 70% (180 pounds) for 6x6
OHP: about 70% for 5x5
Weighted Pull-ups: 20x5x5
Standing DB Tricep Extension: 20x3x15
Band Face-Pulls: 3x15
Hanging Knee Raise: 3x10
Plank: 3x1 minute

Thoughts and experiences are welcome in regard to Smolov Jr!

FYI, I’m 20 years old, 5’9’’ and 161 pounds and my max bench to date is 255.


Today (4/11) was legs and back training.

Note that I’m nursing a lower back injury. It wasn’t exactly diagnosed but my physical therapist said I have muscular adhesions in my lower back and strained ligaments from deadlifting too heavy too frequently (I can talk about what I did if anybody is interested),

Back squat: 165x5x5
Leg Press: 3 plates/side x3x14 supersetted w/ (#teamno)calf raises 3x10
Barbell rear lunge: 70x3x10
Goblet squat: 45x4x12
Elevated wide-grip row (plate-loaded): 70x4x10
Dumbbell shrug: 55x4x10


I haven’t done the program, but it could be an idea to keep the “posture exercises” like pull ups and face pulls, but ditch the triceps and shoulder exercises and save your recovery for bench. You might be able to get away with it the first week or so, but remeber as you add weight, you’ll be benching pretty heavy 4X a week. But some lighter work might be benefical as long as it dosen’t tap into your benching recovery.


I hear you loud and clear, man. My left pec is already feeling like it’s ripping in half. I might keep some very light dumbbell pump work in there but you’re probably right. It’s not like four days of benching 70% and up isn’t enough volume.


Week One, Day Three

Today (4/12) was upper body.

Despite my plans to rest my lower body, nothing beats a ruck march (only six miles) for PT at 0500 to start the day.

Just a couple warm-up sets in I already felt my left pec bothering me. I’m sure it’s not torn or even pulled but it sure didn’t feel good. Carried on with the workout. Sometimes you gotta play hurt.

Bench: 75%(195 pounds) for 7x5
Flat DB Bench: 30x3x20
Standing EZ-curl bar skullcrusher: 10 lbs. on each side for 3x20
Band Face-Pulls: 3x15
Weighted Pull-Ups: 25x5x5
Ab Wheel: 3x10
Side Plank: 3x30 sec/side

I think I’m going to have to cut out some of the secondary pushing volume. Rest day tomorrow, I’ll keep y’all updated.


One month ago from yesterday I set a goal of gaining two pounds over the course of the month, from 161.8 to 163.8. I checked in at 162.8 yesterday, so I gained one pound in a month. Not huge but it’s better than nothing.

Left pec felt much better after a rest day. Definitely need to dial back or eliminate the secondary chest/shoulder movements.

Today’s (4/14) training session:

Bench: 80% (205 pounds) for 8x4
Safety-Bar Box Squat: 180x8x2 (dynamic effort)
Single-Leg Squat: 3x14
Goblet Squat: 45x4x13

My training partner had to get to class at 0800 so we cut our session a little short. We’ll double up on abs tomorrow.

Tomorrow is 85% on bench, so it’ll be interesting to see how the chest will feel after getting hit heavy on consecutive days. Stay tuned.


Happy Easter everybody!

Yesterday’s workout (4/15) was a bitch. Hardest bench press session I’ve ever done. Gotta keep the secondary movements to a minimum, particularly later in the week when the weights get heavier.

Bench: 85% (215 pounds) for 10x3
Weighted Pull-Up: 25x5x6
Standing DB OHP: 25x3x15
V-Grip Pull-Up: 3x8
Single-Arm Landmine Row: 35x4x10
BB Curl: 45x3x10
DB Hammer Curl: 20x3x10
Weighted Crunch: 10x3x15
Decline Russian Med Ball Slam: 3x20
Plank: 3x1:05

The majority of people, meaning mere mortals who are not obsessed with the gains, view holidays as a time just to stuff their fat faces and enjoy food. There’s certainly no harm in that. But we as brothers in iron see holidays as opportunities. Opportunities to finally have enough food prepared in a sitting to satiate our ravenous appetites and feed our starving muscles. Will I enjoy the food? Without a doubt. But will I permit myself to be satisfied by only one, two, or even three plates of carbohydrate-rich cuisine? Hell no.

With that being said… Happy Easter. Be thankful. Be nice. And let’s dig in.


Happy International Chest Day!

Fortunately, I train at a gym that’s off the beaten path so securing a bench is never a problem.

Monday, 4/17

Bench: 185 x 6 x 6
Weighted Pull-Up: 30 x 5 x 5
Incline DB Press: 40 x 3 x 15
Band Face-Pull: 3 x 15
Hanging Knee Raise: 3 x 11
Weighted Plank: 25 x 3 x 45 sec.

Left pec is feeling beat up but hopefully it’ll recover better as we go on. I’m thinking about splitting up the last two days of the week (both heavy bench sessions). I know I wouldn’t be following Smolov Jr. to the T but I think it would be more beneficial from a recovery standpoint. We’ll see!