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Smolov Squat Program vs Smolovs Madcow

I am looking to switch up my program and wanted to know if anyone knew if the Madcow layout was a waste of time or if it will still produce gains with an experienced lifter. Or should I just go right into the full squat program. I want to increase my squats and obviously it will transfer over to dead lifts but donâ??t want to completely neglect my upper body strength. Really cant go wrong with any 5x5 but whats the real difference in expirence level?

Squat - 375lbs
Deadlift - 455
Bench - 285

Smolovs Madcow? Do you just mean Madcow?

Smolov is not a go to program after linear gains have ceased to be efficient. Madcow is an extremely good program and will add plenty of strength. I did the madcow intermediate program and my squat went to atleast 485lbs, bench to 286 (I’m crap at benching) and deadlift to 530lbs. Since then I’ve done some form or other of madcow and I have squatted 572lbs, benched 352lbs and deadlifted 610lbs.

The thing with Smolov is that it will add a lot to your squat (and some to your deadlift) but a lot of the gains won’t be sustainable. You’ll keep most of your gains just from the base cycle. If you keep much more then it just means you’re a relative newbie and you would have faired better on a simpler, more consistent program. But even though the base cycle will probably add 20-40lbs, it’s not something you can run over and over again. Whereas on the madcow intermediate program I added over 130lbs to my squat (started on about 350lbs) over the course of 16 weeks or however long I did for.

In summary, madcow (or something similar) is a program you’ll do for the long run to build up your base strength and is particularly suited to your strength levels. Smolov is a good program to give you a quick boost in your strength and it should only be used sparingly. I would say if you don’t really know the difference you’re definitely not in a position to be doing Smolov. Just stick to a program like madcow and you’ll see fantastic results.

[quote]JordanWebster wrote:
Smolovs Madcow? Do you just mean Madcow?

Smolov is not a go to program after linear gains have ceased to be efficient. Madcow is an extremely good program and will add plenty of strength. I did the madcow intermediate program and my squat went to atleast 485lbs, bench to 286 (I’m crap at benching) and deadlift to 530lbs. Since then I’ve done some form or other of madcow and I have squatted 572lbs, benched 352lbs and deadlifted 610lbs.

The thing with Smolov is that it will add a lot to your squat (and some to your deadlift) but a lot of the gains won’t be sustainable. You’ll keep most of your gains just from the base cycle. If you keep much more then it just means you’re a relative newbie and you would have faired better on a simpler, more consistent program. But even though the base cycle will probably add 20-40lbs, it’s not something you can run over and over again. Whereas on the madcow intermediate program I added over 130lbs to my squat (started on about 350lbs) over the course of 16 weeks or however long I did for.

In summary, madcow (or something similar) is a program you’ll do for the long run to build up your base strength and is particularly suited to your strength levels. Smolov is a good program to give you a quick boost in your strength and it should only be used sparingly. I would say if you don’t really know the difference you’re definitely not in a position to be doing Smolov. Just stick to a program like madcow and you’ll see fantastic results.[/quote]

JordanWebster,

Thank you for your input. That is exactly what I was looking to hear. I can see that Smolovs squat program is intense and would produce gains regardless, but I wasnt sure how much of a waste of time it would be for actual obtainable strength gains. I figured it would be a good program to run before a comp to jack your squat up quick but have no intensions of doing it if thats all you gain out of it. I actually Came across them last week and liked the layout for both but was skeptical of some of the projected numbers and lack of accessory work.

How did you supplement in accessories with the Madcow? or did you not? I feel like hitting full body three times a week bilaterally seems like a lot of unilateral imbalances might fry you out or at least will neglect some areas. Likewise, to many in between days or on the same day might jack cortisol and get into over training issues.

My idea for a full plan:

FMS test for mobility warm ups

Monday - Off …or rotate with tuesdays.
Tuesday - Day 1—Squat / Bench / Row - Pull ups and unilateral stability work
Wednesday -Biceps/Triceps/ rotator cuff work. —not crazy heavy just to keep them up with the lifts.
Thursday - Day 2—Squat / Press / Dead - Finish out with some unilateral push / pull for back and chest
Friday - Off
Saturday - Day 3–Squat / Bench / Row - finish with A single leg (lunge/ bulgarian / or spilt) and based off the week a few stability exercises.
Sunday - Off

Still trying to program out accessories - but never ran this type of 5x5 so I dont know how spent I will be after the third lift.

Rip it apart or shut it down… open for whatever, but you know more than I do, esp having already ran the program.

Josh

[quote]JChappCSCS wrote:
JordanWebster,

Thank you for your input. That is exactly what I was looking to hear. I can see that Smolovs squat program is intense and would produce gains regardless, but I wasnt sure how much of a waste of time it would be for actual obtainable strength gains. I figured it would be a good program to run before a comp to jack your squat up quick but have no intensions of doing it if thats all you gain out of it. I actually Came across them last week and liked the layout for both but was skeptical of some of the projected numbers and lack of accessory work.

How did you supplement in accessories with the Madcow? or did you not? I feel like hitting full body three times a week bilaterally seems like a lot of unilateral imbalances might fry you out or at least will neglect some areas. Likewise, to many in between days or on the same day might jack cortisol and get into over training issues.

My idea for a full plan:

FMS test for mobility warm ups

Monday - Off …or rotate with tuesdays.
Tuesday - Day 1—Squat / Bench / Row - Pull ups and unilateral stability work
Wednesday -Biceps/Triceps/ rotator cuff work. —not crazy heavy just to keep them up with the lifts.
Thursday - Day 2—Squat / Press / Dead - Finish out with some unilateral push / pull for back and chest
Friday - Off
Saturday - Day 3–Squat / Bench / Row - finish with A single leg (lunge/ bulgarian / or spilt) and based off the week a few stability exercises.
Sunday - Off

Still trying to program out accessories - but never ran this type of 5x5 so I dont know how spent I will be after the third lift.

Rip it apart or shut it down… open for whatever, but you know more than I do, esp having already ran the program.

Josh
[/quote]

Smolov is indeed great before a comp because it definitely does jack up your numbers quick. My friend did it for the IPF Classic this year and got the Gold medal in the squat.

I honestly think you’re overcomplicating things. I just did madcow as written and the accessory excercises are fine. Accessory exercises are just that, an accessory. I find that people, and beginners in particuar, will overcomplicate things so their progress will stagnate. Just do madcow as written and watch everything improve.

Don’t worry about throwing in another day for bicep and triceps, my arms grew over an inch in just a couple of months.

Actually there is one small change I made to the madcow program as written and that’s instead of doing incline benches on day 2 I did overhead presses.

Regarding overtraining, you will not overtrain on this program. There are people who are squatting heavy 6x a week and they are not overtrained, they’ve just adapted. Madcow is a tried and tested intermediate program and has gotten many people jacked and strong. It will work for you too.

I just re-read your first post and I see you asked if madcow is a waste of time for an advanced lifter. Let me make this very clear to you without sounding like a dick. You’re not even close to being an advanced lifter. You’re just now beginning to become an intermediate lifter. The fact you don’t really know the difference between a program like madcow and Smolov is a testament to that.

I think everybody wants to get ahead of themselves to be classed as ‘advanced’. I’ve almost hit a 600lb squat and probably could have if I had peaked. I thought I was advanced but I’ve only just recently realised I’m still an intermediate.

By the way I feel I’ve done this horribly backwards, I didn’t pay enough attention to your first post because my immediate reaction was just “You’ve got Smolov incredibly wrong”. Why are you looking to switch up your program? Has your current program failed? If so, why? Have you been eating and resting enough? Have you tried resetting the weights?

[quote]JordanWebster wrote:

[quote]JChappCSCS wrote:
JordanWebster,

Thank you for your input. That is exactly what I was looking to hear. I can see that Smolovs squat program is intense and would produce gains regardless, but I wasnt sure how much of a waste of time it would be for actual obtainable strength gains. I figured it would be a good program to run before a comp to jack your squat up quick but have no intensions of doing it if thats all you gain out of it. I actually Came across them last week and liked the layout for both but was skeptical of some of the projected numbers and lack of accessory work.

How did you supplement in accessories with the Madcow? or did you not? I feel like hitting full body three times a week bilaterally seems like a lot of unilateral imbalances might fry you out or at least will neglect some areas. Likewise, to many in between days or on the same day might jack cortisol and get into over training issues.

My idea for a full plan:

FMS test for mobility warm ups

Monday - Off …or rotate with tuesdays.
Tuesday - Day 1—Squat / Bench / Row - Pull ups and unilateral stability work
Wednesday -Biceps/Triceps/ rotator cuff work. —not crazy heavy just to keep them up with the lifts.
Thursday - Day 2—Squat / Press / Dead - Finish out with some unilateral push / pull for back and chest
Friday - Off
Saturday - Day 3–Squat / Bench / Row - finish with A single leg (lunge/ bulgarian / or spilt) and based off the week a few stability exercises.
Sunday - Off

Still trying to program out accessories - but never ran this type of 5x5 so I dont know how spent I will be after the third lift.

Rip it apart or shut it down… open for whatever, but you know more than I do, esp having already ran the program.

Josh
[/quote]

Smolov is indeed great before a comp because it definitely does jack up your numbers quick. My friend did it for the IPF Classic this year and got the Gold medal in the squat.

I honestly think you’re overcomplicating things. I just did madcow as written and the accessory excercises are fine. Accessory exercises are just that, an accessory. I find that people, and beginners in particuar, will overcomplicate things so their progress will stagnate. Just do madcow as written and watch everything improve.

Don’t worry about throwing in another day for bicep and triceps, my arms grew over an inch in just a couple of months.

Actually there is one small change I made to the madcow program as written and that’s instead of doing incline benches on day 2 I did overhead presses.

Regarding overtraining, you will not overtrain on this program. There are people who are squatting heavy 6x a week and they are not overtrained, they’ve just adapted. Madcow is a tried and tested intermediate program and has gotten many people jacked and strong. It will work for you too.

I just re-read your first post and I see you asked if madcow is a waste of time for an advanced lifter. Let me make this very clear to you without sounding like a dick. You’re not even close to being an advanced lifter. You’re just now beginning to become an intermediate lifter. The fact you don’t really know the difference between a program like madcow and Smolov is a testament to that.

I think everybody wants to get ahead of themselves to be classed as ‘advanced’. I’ve almost hit a 600lb squat and probably could have if I had peaked. I thought I was advanced but I’ve only just recently realised I’m still an intermediate.

By the way I feel I’ve done this horribly backwards, I didn’t pay enough attention to your first post because my immediate reaction was just “You’ve got Smolov incredibly wrong”. Why are you looking to switch up your program? Has your current program failed? If so, why? Have you been eating and resting enough? Have you tried resetting the weights?
[/quote]

Little disconnect, I did know the difference between the two programs… I was looking to find out if anyone had actually tried both of them and if they are good programs to fallow or just a juiced up version of a 5x5 and if the squat program was beneficial in the long run or just a short term boast.

I think I might have a different variation of Madcow. The one I came across and was going to fallow actually already had over head press in it rather than a incline press.

As for why I want to switch up my program, no real main reason. I am a Strength and Conditioning coach and came across the 5x5 and wanted to try it myself before writing it up or programming someone else on it. So I guess you can call it personal research! But as for my previous program that I typically run for myself… and actually like a lot. Itâ??s a slight variation of the Russian 5.3.1, I was running Mike Ohearns power body building program with three week waves of 4.3.2 on compound lifts and blasting the accessories and endurance exercises hard. I was consistently still making gains in all my lifts… however, a lot more gradual and any natural lifter knows theres nothing fast about it. But I cant have athletes do a bodybuilding workout program year round and especially not in season. They had a really good layout on stronglifts.com for the madcow and the first thing I wanted to do is crush it and the suggested gains were very enticing! But I was trying to lay it out and wanted to get some feedback from people that already went through it.

A lot of people wrote that they were throwing in another day here and there and that they switched something up… And itâ??s looking like itâ??s really not necessary and theres a lot of ppl like me over thinking everything. Benefits of the internet!

Okay I respect that you want to try it out yourself, but otherwise I would have said keep doing what you’re doing since it’s working.

It appears Madcow originally suggested incline or military, but if you download his original spreadsheet it says ‘incline’ so that’s why I thought incline was the default lift, my bad. Mehdi from Stronglifts backed up Madcow’s old site where you can find the original spreadsheet: http://stronglifts.com/madcow/5x5_Program/Linear_5x5.htm There’s an absolute wealth of knowledge on that site, try and read as much as you can.

I’m sorry I didn’t mean to sound condescending, I know you know the difference between the programs but perhaps not the best applications of each program. Smolov is definitely a short term program and can’t be run week in week out. Madcow can. If linear progression each session has begun to stall out, then linear progression each week is the natural progression. Madcow is just such a program, and it works great for everybody who runs it. Madcow is not a ‘juiced’ up 5x5, it is a 5x5 - just geared towards someone with a bit of experience.

So in summary, Madcow worked very well for me and my friends who have run it and it is the completely natural progression from a program like stronglifts. Smolov is on the complete other end of the spectrum and should only really be done by a powerlifter or weightlifter with quite a lot of experience, definitely not athletes lifting weights to improve their sport performance.

While I agree with Jordan, I will say Smolov is great for more than just boosting your squat numbers. It makes you a better squatter, more adapted to squatting frequently, and teaches a rare work ethic in the gym.

I would say you can keep at least 50% of your gains and that is still pretty awesome in such a short time.

Also, you can consider running just the Base Mesocycle (4 weeks) by itself which is not a bad idea at all if you are conditioned for it and it really doesn’t take a lot out of you. The intense cycle, is in fact very intense and hard on the joints (I think), but the base cycle can easily be done while still hitting the bench, OH press, and whatever else. I would still not do deadlifts or any lower body/lower back intensive work, with the exception of remedial stuff like hip ad/abduction for example.