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Smolov Squat Routine


What do you guys think of the Smolov Squat Routine, a Russian powerlifting routine, for athletic purposes? Could it be modified for other exercises, most notably for front squats, deadlifts, and power cleans? The only one I doubt is the power clean, because it is strength-speed. Also could I use it for several exercises at a time?


Here is a link to it: http://www.ontariostrongman.ca/Resources/training/smolovsquatcycle.htm

The only thing that strikes me as being dumb is having two heavy days in a row. I might reverse the order of the week, heavy days Monday and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday light days, as I usually have very bad nutritional habits on weekends and get up at unpredictable hours.


I tried it for about a week, but it was impossible to do that routine then have to get up the next morning for conditioning.


EDIT - clarification has been given.


Heres a link where you type in your max and it sets it up for you



What type of assistance exercies could you use? Anyone ever tried this type of loading?


I have tried it. It works quite well. I would NOT do any assistance for legs on this routine. Other powerlifters have done this routine successfully. It is very good to get your squat moving, however, it is very taxing on the joints.



Here's the ORIGINAL Russian squat king of all cycles and I noticed down the page an extended 9 week version for all 3 powerlifts which looks real neat.


I have read that these cycles were designed originally for olympic lifers who's legs were weak compared to their olympic lifts. Considering that this might mean someone with a 365 clean and jerk and only a 405 deep paused olympic style squat, it may mean something different to you.

I actually think you can progress faster than 5% in 6 weeks for all that volume.

Here's a much simpler and easier (it should allow for more assistance work) cycle that should get you similar gains, but you have to choose-don't blame me if it doesn't do it.

Week 1
M Th
70% 7 x 3 80% 5 x 3

Week 2
70% 7 x 3 90% 4 x 2

Week 3
70% 7 x 3 85% 5 x 3

Week 4
70% 7 x 3 95% 4 x 2

Week 5
70% 7 x 3 90% 5 x 3

Week 6
70% 7 x 3 100% 4 x 2

At that point you should max 105-110%

The 7 x 3 should be pushed as fast as possible and all sets should be finished in 10 minutes, leaving you plenty of time for accessories.


I think the routine I posted and the routine you posted are two different routines from Russia.


You are right - the Russian Squat Routine and the Smolov Squat Routine are two different programs. The RSR was published in the Soviet Weightlifting Yearbook in 1976, but it's still around today so it's obviously effective. I have also read, as someone mentioned, that the RSR was meant to improve an Oly lifter's squat while still allowing for Oly lift training. So, the RSR can be combined with other stuff, but not a lot of other stuff.

The Smolov Squat Routine is a hardcore, off-season squat specialization routine for a powerlifter. You might be able to add some low volume bench to it, but that's it. I tried it for a week and said to hell with it. Whether or not you want to do it for athletic training will depend on what else you're doing at the time. If you're doing any type of athletic skill training, I would not do Smolov as it will zap your recovery ability.

However, if you can devote the time to focus just on improving your squat, and if you're recovery is good and you can remain injury-free (I knew someone who was injured as a result of Smolov), then you will be rewarded with amazing gains. But you will pay a price.

The entire program lasts something like 13 weeks. However, people have made gains just using the Smolov "Base Phase." The Base Phase lasts only 3 weeks, but it has you squatting 4 days a week. It has you doing back to back squat workouts with 7x5@80% and then the next day 10x3@85%. That's some major ugly right there. You would be better off taking 4 weeks for the Base Phase and doing 3 squat workouts a week.


Why couldn't you add other exercises to the Smolov Squat Routine? I am thinking of doing weighted chins along the same parameters and lower volume bench press.


If you do the smolov routine, I wouldn't do much else for legs. When I did it I deadlifted once a week after I did squats. You should be able to do normal upper body work.



If you think your recovery ability can handle it then by all means try it.


I tried this program two winters ago. It works better than any other program I have tried. My squat (in competition) went from 405 up to 500. But this is a squatting program not a powerlifting program, and my bench dropped 30 pounds while my deadlift remained stagnant. Smolov is one son of a bitch and if you try it, only do it with squats, it's simply too hard to be used with anything else. Maintain your upperbody with light workouts twice a week, anything more and you'll overtrain.

A word of caution, you wont want to do any accessory work for legs, hell you won't even want to walk to your car in the parking lot, but if you want a damn impressive squat, give it a try.


Did you do the full 13-week program or just the base phase? Do you think it would work for a front squat as well?


CT Reccomends that you DON"T try this unless you have "assistance".

Do a search for Smolov and see for yourself... though, maybe his opinion changed.

He reccomends the russian squat program, which is detailed in one of C.Staley's articles called "From Russia With Love"

Automatic calculator for it:

My only question would be... lets say you were juiced to the gills and wanted to do the Smolov program with Overhead Squats (rather than back squats) would it be worth while? Or just drain the fuck out of you (even if you're "on").


just wanted to bring along my two cents.

completing smolov is possible. i have done it twice, and i lift all natural. first time i had a 1rm increase of 27.5kg, and this second time - i do not know yet - but added 10kg on the 1rm after base mesocycle - will do my max attempt the coming sundag, and aim for a 30kg increase in my 1rm.

it is bloody hard work, but it certainly is possible, if your heart is into squatting.

i think many people are afraid of doing it simply because they do not want all the pain.

esp. the 10x3 days, after 7x5 the day before is very hard. and also squatting with very heavy weights in the intense mesocycle three time a week is taxing.

andrey butenko advised to do this cycle with a high bar placement, and then bring the bar further down closer to competition.


I just took a look at this cycle. It makes sheiko seem like kid stuff. At the same time, it seems like too much volume. I know its doable, but everything else appears to suffer.

lineman_56, how long did it take you to go from 405 to 500? You say it got you there, but was that in 1 cycle? 10?

I plugged in my max. I am not doing 518 for 10 triples. I can probably get it for 5 or 6 doubles. Crazy stuff.


Don't plug in your max max - use your everyday max, i.e. use something that's more like your max double. Don't let the numbers scare you though - you will be able to do the required reps/sets by the time you get to the third week.


true words spoken by ninearms. I just completed the second base meso cycle. Yes, doing only the base meso cycle.

My usual style for the squat is high bar, narrow stance ATG/olympic squat.

I did the smolov base meso cycle this time around with the following style: Narrow stance, maximum width grip, pause at the bottom of each rep, high bar.

I then set the 1RM pre-cycle 20kg lower than my actual 1RM, because I figured that's what I could do in the paused style with a wide grip.

I had an 1RM of 220kg before doing the base meso cycle twice. My 1RM is now 240kg. Raw, without a belt. I have gained some significant bodyweight as well, some of it fat.

The routine is brutal, and several people report injuries from trying it. The myth that you need to be assisted (ie. using steroids) to complete this thing just makes me cringe. What a bunch of pussies there are out there in the strength world. What happend to taking the squat seriously?

Well, to be honest, the Smolov is not for you unless, you are able to eat a lot and sleep a lot. You will be tired in the end.

I have a lot of Smolov experience now, and I have to say that if you don't eat enough, you will be punished. The program is not advised to be done by beginners.

I also injuried myself pretty badly in 2007, probably due to poor technique in combination with too hard training. I could not back squat for more than a year after that. Luckily I am now back on track.

Here is the latest progress:

22 november 2008, 220kg squat:

Doing the smolov base meso cycle, then ecember 18 2008, 230kg squat:

Doing the smolov base meso cycle again (was pretty hard this time, due to other variables in life), January 26 2009, 240kg squat:

Smolov IS the holy grail of squat routines. That is if you are tough enough to do it. It is extremely hard! Right now, I have some pains in my left knee, but some light training for a while will cure that I think.

Good luck anyone trying this program. Do what it takes, and see the results.

PS: So what are the sessions like, here is a video from a grueling session were my energy level was a bit off due slacking in the eating department: