T Nation

Summer of Smolov

With improving our squats in mind, my training partner (Max) and I have decided to try the Smolov cycle. Here we will log our workouts and report our progress.

I’m approx. 6’1" 205 and Max is approx. 6’4" 245. My best in the squat is 345 and Max’s is 470.

We began the introductory mesocycle on June 9. Due to scheduling difficulties and a maintenance of strength from prior training, we are going to enter the base cycle on Monday, June 16.

Here is a summary of my training from this week:
Monday: Squat 225x3x8, 240x5, 260x2x2, 275x1
Snatch up to single at 155.
Several sets of 3 of push press at 155.

Tuesday: Squat 225x3x8, 240x5, 260x2x2, 275x1
I forget aux exercises…

Wednesday: Squat 240x3x8, 260x5, 275x2x2, 315x1
Light snatches up to 115.
Clean and push press 135x2x4, 185x2x4
Finished with some shoulder assistance exercises and a bit of badminton.

Max’s Lifts were as follows:
Monday: Squat 305x3x8, 330x5, 350x2x2, 375x1
I forget his aux exercises. Perhaps he will chime in.

Tuesday: Didn’t lift with me, so I’m unsure.

Wednesday: Squat 330x3x8, 350x5, 375x2x2, 420x1
Light snatches
Clean and push press 135x2x4, 225x4, 185x4
Shoulder exercises and badminton

By Day three our legs began to feel a bit beat up.
Over the next few days we will do our lunges and dive into the base cycle starting Monday. I’ll post results after the workout.

[u]Base Cycle Week 1:[/u]

The first week was tough. As I sit here now my legs quite sore and quite fatigued. As the week progressed we realized that we need to eat a lot more.

What follows is what we did over the past 6 days.

Squat: Me 4x9 @ 240 lbs
Max 4x9 @ 330 lbs
Curtis 4x9 @ 215 lbs
Matt 4x9 @ 170 lbs

Pull-ups+chin-ups: We all did a few.

Dumbbell bent over row: Me 3 or 4 sets of 8 at 65 lbs. Max used 90 lbs I believe. Not sure on Curtis or Matt.

Preacher curls: 3-4 sets of 3-5 painful, agonizing reps @ 65 lbs in strict style. Max, Curtis and Matt managed more reps in general.

Hammer curls: 3x8 @ 35 lbs w/ dumbbells for me.

Grip machine for several sets of 10-12. Worked up to a weight between 180-225 lbs.

(Workout with another person not involved in Smolov)

Bench press 6x6 @ 155 lbs. Easy.
Standing military w/ barbell: 4x6 @ 95 lbs.
Incline db press: 50x10, 2x10 @ 55.
Shoulder and rotator cuff assistance exercises.

Went to shot put ring for overhead shot throws. Reverse overhead distances ranged between 45-47’.

Squat: Me 5x7 @ 260
Max 5x7 @ 350
…unsure on others

Clean w/ push press/power jerk: 135x6, 185x6,5,5. (Max usually doing around 8 reps on those.)

Snatch pull: 185x4, 235x3,3, 255x1

Operating on minimal sleep, I did a very minor workout and promptly fell into a 3 hour nap.

Bench 7x5 @ 170

Squat: Me 7x5 @ 275
Max 7x5 @ 375
…once again I forget the others. I’ll calc their numbers later
This workout was tough.

Clean + push press/power jerk: 95x4, 135x2, 185x1,2, 205x1

Deadlift: 205x2, 275x3, 315x1, 365x1, 405x1, 425x1

I decided to go for a relative max in the deadlift because I am considering starting a dl cycle with the smolov. I use a high-bar, narrow o-lifting stance in my squats, so I’ve been seeking more lower back activation.

We went over to CMC in the morning for squatting…and a strongman field day…

Squat: Me 10x3 @ 295
Max 7x3 @ 405, 3x3 @ 365
Curtis 10x3 @ 265
Matt 10x3 @ 215

After squatting we moved outdoors for strongman in 100+ degree temperatures!

Keg run (pick up keg, carry around zig-zag of cones, put keg on 48-54" plyo box). We each did this twice. Once with Keg II (~130 lbs) and once with Keg III (~160 lbs). Runs were timed.

Log clean and press @ 165 lbs. 60 seconds. Max managed 8, Curtis 7, I did 1 and Matt nearly hit one rep. Very awkward movement for Matt and I.

Farmers walk (205 lbs/hand) and sled pull (270 lbs) medley. First, we took the farmers handles 40 yards, then pulled, backwards, the sled via ropes 40 yards. Runs were timed. I ran a 52 flat. Matt ran a 56?. Max did 43-44 seconds. I forgot Curtis…

That put the finishing blow on our legs. Now we shall eat and rest until Monday, then Week 2 of the base cycle will begin, with each of us tacking on another 20 lbs to our working weights.

[u]Base Cycle Week 2[/u]

Me 4x9 @ 260
Max 4x9 @ 350
Matt 4x9 @ 190
Curtis 4x9 @ 240

Afterward I did dumbbell bent over row for 3x8 @ 70 lbs. The others did similar aux exercises.

Then down to the track for overhead shot and forward shot. I was more consistent in the 45-47 region and pushed toward 48 in overhead. Managed to get the forward throw to 42-43’.

Bench press: 5x5 @ 185. These felt pretty easy. I probably could’ve managed 1-3 more reps per set, but didn’t have a spotter so I stuck to the plan.

Standing overhead press: 4x6 @ 105 lbs
Incline press: 3x8 @ 65 lbs

Went to track for some overhead shot. Only took three throws, approx. 45’, 47’, 47’.

Also, here are two videos of me cleaning just prior to starting Smolov, June 14. I will compare these to when I clean seriously post-Smolov.

235 power clean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYvISYQ3c-s
255 clean: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ssrPT3_EqRA

Me: 7x5 @ 295
Max: 7x5 @ 395
Matt: 7x5 @ 210
Curtis: 7x5 @ 275

Week 2 of the Base Cycle complete!

Me: 10x3 @ 315 lbs
Max: 10x3 @ 420 lbs
Matt: 10x3 @ 225 lbs
Curtis: 10x3 @ 275 lbs

Afterward I did:
Power clean + power jerk: 135x1x1, 185x1
Power clean: 235x1
Power clean/front squat/power jerk/drop snatch/overhead squat combo: 135x1

Deadlift: 6x6 @ 315 lbs.

Nice work. I like the YouTube cleans.


That is a photo of Curtis squatting after being roasted at the beach. I’ll get more photos up eventually.

[u]Base Cycle Week 3[/u]

Me 4x9 @ 275
Max 4x9 @ 365
Matt 4x9 @ 205
Curtis 4x9 @ 255

After, I did 2x6 @ 195 on bench.

There are no easy days with this program. Every day assaults you in a different way.

Me 5x7 @ 290
Max 5x7 @ 385
Matt 5x7 @ 215

Curtis didn’t lift because he was hideously sunburned.

Me 7x5 @ 315
Max 7x5 @ 410

Me 185x4, 195x4,4, 185x4

Curtis was still MIA. Matt lifted earlier.

Me 10x3 @ 325
Max 10x3 @ 420
Matt 10x3 @ 235
Curtis 10x3 @ 305

Rest off legs until Friday and Saturday when we will max. I believe we will record, with video, the max attempts. Meanwhile, here are a few photos from Saturday.

Me squatting
Max squatting

Curtis and I maxed yesterday for the last part of the Base Cycle. Furthermore, several other friends also maxed, one (Dan) on deadlifts and the other (Brent) on squats. Brent was roughly following the Smolov with us. Max and Matt were river rafting.

Me: Prior = 345, new = 405 +60 lbs

Curtis: Prior = 405, new = 455 +50 lbs

[Curtis used a sub maximal starting max for the Smolov (320). He was probably capable of 405 when he began]

Brent: Prior = 225, New = 265 +40 lbs

[Brent only did the last half of the routine, but he busted his ass]

Max: Prior = 470, New = ???

Dan (deadlift): Prior = 500, New = 525