T Nation

Smolov Jr. Bench/Squat


I recently completed the first three weeks of Smolov Jr. for bench press. It was one of the more satisfying things I've done training-wise...I had never done more sets than 5 of any exercise before, even with weight training from playing high school baseball/football and college baseball. This was very challenging...the last two days of week three were a huge struggle. I'm currently a Physical Educator and high school baseball coach.

For the three weeks, I worked out 10 out of 12 days at a local gym that doesn't have a lot of weights, and no "donuts"...so some of the numbers prescribed via the calculator were not exact. I always went slightly heavier than prescribed if this was the case.

The other two days (after we got back from Winter Break), I lifted in our high school weight room, brand new with plenty of space. I will test my 1RM bench this Friday once some of the soreness of the last 10x3 day subsides.

beginning 1RM: 235 lbs

Week 1:

Week 2:
8x4x205 - on this day, I was supposed to do 198 lbs. I couldn't find 2.5 lb weights anywhere in the gym, so I just put 205 on and hoped for the best. After completing, I pushed the weights up a little for the next 5 bench days, which was extremely rough.
10x3x215 (supposed to be 210, but felt really good. Got all 10 sets no problem)

Week 3:
6x6x185 (supposed to be 178)
7x5x195 (190)
8x4x210 (203)
10x3x225 (215) - this was one of the most difficult things I've ever completed...I had never done more than one rep at 225 pounds before this day. Very excited to see where the new 1RM is.

From here, I have decided to try running "Junior" for my squat. I pulled a hamstring over Thanksgiving break, and my 1RM to that point was 365 lbs. I am using 355 as a max for the design because I have hit that as a 1RM more than once, whereas the 365 was my first try and the day before the hamstring issue.

Yesterday (Monday): 6x6x250.
-Felt better as I went on. Have some good soreness today...Wednesday should be 7x5 at 265. Will try to keep this as up to date as possible. I know doing this many sets on squats is going to be very mentally (and physically, of course) challenging...this is why I wanted to make sure to post, to hold myself accountable to finish this. Luckily, our school weight room has eight racks to use.

Have a good one, all.



Wednesday’s 7x5 at 265 went great. I felt like I was grinding the first 3 sets, but sets 4-7 were much better. I definitely am going to foam roll and take some extra warmup time (jump rope, etc) prior to my sets.

Friday’s 8x4 at 285 went great as well. I wore Chuck Taylors instead of my Nike Frees this day and felt much better balance with flatter soles. Will try to keep using these on squat days.

Saturday’s 10x3 was extremely difficult (300 lbs). I don’t think I ate enough in the morning…didn’t feel as strong. I completed all the sets, but took far longer than in previous workouts.


I also ended with a 1RM of 255 on the bench, an improvement of 20 lbs after running Smolov Jr. Going to start to add more dips and dumbbell bench into the ancillary workouts to take a break from barbell bench. Feel good about the results, especially because I could only bench 225 once before Smolov, and used 225 on my last 10x3 day. I consider it a success.


[quote]ericbyrnesjr wrote:
I also ended with a 1RM of 255 on the bench, an improvement of 20 lbs after running Smolov Jr. Going to start to add more dips and dumbbell bench into the ancillary workouts to take a break from barbell bench. Feel good about the results, especially because I could only bench 225 once before Smolov, and used 225 on my last 10x3 day. I consider it a success.[/quote]
Solid results for 3 weeks effort.


[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

Solid results for 3 weeks effort.[/quote]

Thanks for the post. I was pretty happy with how it ended up…shoulder joints are a little beat up, so I am going to stick with DB bench for a while and work on form (mostly keeping my elbows in a bit better). I will try to get a video posted, but I usually work out during my school’s after school weights so I don’t want to get in trouble if any kids are in the background or anything…can’t be too careful these days as a teacher


Had to take an extra day off after 10x3 squat on Saturday just due to family circumstances…legs felt better than I thought they would yesterday, but I am going to do week 2’s 6x6 day today and push the week two workouts back one day (Tu/Th/Sa/Su vs. M/W/F/Sa).

This week is supposed to be:

6x6x253 (will use 255)


Felt really good this week. I lowered the bar on my back a little bit and made my base wider. It seemed to help a lot, as I don’t have great hip mobility.

6x6 at 255 went really quickly on Tuesday.

7x5 at 275 on Thursday was tough, but I felt like I cut the rest time down between the sets. I’m going to time my rest periods out next time on this one; 7x5 has been the toughest day for me on both bench and squat (so far).

8x4 at 295 on Saturday was surprisingly good; I spent the day doing a “field prep day” at the high school and was putting things together or carrying things most of the day (got some unexpected farmers walks in).

10x3 at 315 yesterday was extremely good. I felt very strong and since I was able to lift at a baseball facility I work at with no one there, I got some video of one of my sets. I will try to post it.

Starting week 3 tomorrow:

6x6 at 265 (Tuesday)
7x5 at 285 (Thursday)
8x4 at 305 (Saturday)
10x3 at 325 (Sunday)


set 5 of 10x3x315.

edit: looks like the video uploaded sideways. wonderful


A couple of days behind with this…

Tuesday I completed the 6x6 fairly easily. I made the mistake of wearing a dri-fit style shirt that really made the bar slide on my back…mental notes.

Yesterday (Thursday 7x5) at 285 was probably the second-best workout I had, other than the 10x3 at 315 week two. I made sure to add some extra calories to get me through the day, as baseball workouts have started and I haven’t been able to get into the weight room until 5 or so (instead of the 3:30 previously).

I have been getting some lower back pumps recently, which I have read up on here and asked a couple friends about…they all said they have had them before, but only when on a prohormone or some sort of gear. Since I’m not taking either a PH or gear, could the tribulus I’ve been taking possibly have this effect? I get them about 4 sets in, but only on the higher-rep days. I didn’t have them on 8x4 or 10x3 day last week, only 6x6 and 7x5. Really strange. I will double-check my form/bar placement as well.

Going to have to push 8x4 and 10x3 back to Sunday/Monday…playing in my college alumni game on Saturday and won’t be able to make it to the gym. Worried that I’m going to wake up Sunday around 1 PM dead tired and sore after not playing in a competitive baseball game for five years…we’ll see how it goes.


Alumni game went great, but I was dead the next day…hips, shoulders, shins…got a hit though, so that’s all I care about really.

I pushed 8x4 to Monday and 10x3 to this morning. I know this is really pushing the framework, but I really have seen some great progress.

Monday night: 8x4 @ 315
Tuesday morning: 10x3 @ 335

I think I will test Thursday. My legs feel extremely strong. No lower back pumps either of the days either.


I ended up hitting 405(!!!) for my 1RM on Thursday, and also got a triple with 365. Couldn’t be happier. Started 5/3/1 today with OHP (my weakest by far out of the four main lifts on 531). Worked up to 9 reps with 115.