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Upper Body Training for Somolov

Ok, everyone here has read about squat specialization routines such as the famous russian somolov squat plan and the more recent sweet 16 article. I am a combat athlete and competitive climber. Hence, upper body work is a must. However, when I go to college (RIT in september), I am thinking about dropping the grappling and climbing for a month or 2 to do a squat specialization plan, probably somolov. I’m sure that these plans are great all around, but I dont want to regress any on my upper body work.
So, I was wondering what everyones thoughts were on this. You don’t have to have experiance with these routines to reply, but let me know if you do.

I was curious about this as well, wish I could help… I’ll simply post the smolov squat program so that those who don’t know what it is can get an idea.

Prepare for a little fluff comrades

I have tried the Smolov squat routine. I did the introductory two week microcycle and the first week of the first cycle, then had to quit. It was simply too much for me to recover from. However, I am 53 and have only been lifting for two and a half years, so perhaps this is not surprising. If you are younger and in good shape you might survive, although if you have little squatting experience you might find it very tough. I think you would find it difficult to combine with much, if any, upper body work, but the overall anabolic stimulation from such a demanding routine might mean that your upper body still ends up bigger and stronger, if you eat enough.

In his “Beyond Bodybuilding” book, Pavel also sets out a modified routine in which you squat only twice a week - somewhat easier to survive. This goes as follows:

Week Monday Thursday
1 70%x9x4 75%x7x5
2 80%x5x7 85%x3x10
3 (70%+10lb)x9x4 (75%+10lb)x7x5
4 (80%+10lb)x5x7 (85%+10lb)x3x10
5 (70%+10lb)x9x4 (75%+10lb)x7x5
6 (80%+10lb)x5x7 (85%+10lb)x3x10

Each entry reads as % of 1 rep max (raw)x reps x sets.

With this routine it would be much easier to fit in upper body work. BTW, in Pavel’s book he quotes the case of a master powerlifter who increased his squat from 560 to 665 in 13 weeks using the full Smolov routine. This lifter said he had never worked harder in 25 years of exercising. Given how much work is required to get to a 560 squat in the first place, that is a powerful statement.

IMHO, this is not a routine for a climber, and probably not right for a grappler either. The volume alone will put weight on you like nothing you have experienced.

Think about it. You also probably need some squat base to start from.

Great stuff, but not for everybody.

jack

[quote]jackreape wrote:
IMHO, this is not a routine for a climber, and probably not right for a grappler either. The volume alone will put weight on you like nothing you have experienced.

Think about it. You also probably need some squat base to start from.

Great stuff, but not for everybody.

jack[/quote]

Routine entails that it’s not for mass gain and that it wont put any weight on you…

I tend to lean towards your viewpoint but still such low reps don’t seem to be conducive to weight gain.

Way back in one of his old newsletters Pavel gave yet another variation on Smolov. This was just a variation on the base phase and only lasted 4 weeks, but people still made gains. Basically, the 4x9 day (my notation is sets x reps) became 6x6, 5x7 became 7x5, 7x5 becane 8x4, and 10x3 stayed the same. All the percentages and weight increases remained as per the original Smolov base phase. You squatted 3x a week rather than 4.

I’m guessing as a climber and grappler, your most important upper body exercise is pull ups. You could definitely handle pull ups with one of the “easier” Smolov plans. You could probably handle some pull ups on the full Smolov. Although Smolov is not supposed to be a mass gaining program, given the weekly volume, you will gain mass. I was able to make it about a week and a half on the Smolov base phase and I was always hungy. Needed extra sleep, too. This program is extremely draining.

You know, I have to agree w/ some of the above. Westside for Skinny Bastards would be a much better program in my opinion. Just emphasize chinning rather than pressing in your Upper Body workouts.

General consensus is that if you can survive this your squat will go up a lot.

I think that you can make better gains through the westside protocal. The gains will probably not come as suddenly. I would venture to say it’s more consistent and at least you’re working your speed attributes (and other body parts) before you get to a ‘switching phase’.

This program was developed for professional olympic lifters.

If you need your squat to go up a whole lot in a few weeks go for it. But then again if you’re not “made to squat” I think this program might not be for you.

From Louie Simmons:

[quote]jackreape wrote:
IMHO, this is not a routine for a climber, and probably not right for a grappler either. The volume alone will put weight on you like nothing you have experienced.

Think about it. You also probably need some squat base to start from.

Great stuff, but not for everybody.

jack[/quote]

I’ve never really had a major problem with my bodyweight going up too much from lifting. I’m not to worried about it. As for it affecting my climbing, climbing is secondary, and I don’t wanna end up looking like some of the climbers I know (stereotypical light bulb shape, ala poliquin, but without the chest or shoulders.). I already have a decent squat base to work from, as I have been squatting for 5 years know.

In that case you have nothing to lose by training. As Xen Nova said, people who have survived Smolov have gained plenty on their squat. Post a training log - I for one would be interested in your results.

anyways, here were a couple of the ideas I had for incorporating upper body work into this.

  1. Eliminating my upper body work and hoping that my body responds positively to the squatting and I dont lose too much on my benching.

  2. Doing upper body supplementary work after my squat work.

  3. Breaking 2 of the days, wednesday and saturday, into 2 a day workouts, upper in AM and squatting in PM.

  4. Using overhead squats in place of regular squats, in order to work my upper body.

  5. Warming up for my workouts using an abbreviated upperbody routine, probably just weighted chin ups and some form of press.

  6. Continuing to rock climb 1 day per week.

What do you guys think about this and any other suggestions???

From the article posted above detailing the full Smolov routine

“Whatever stage of the cycle you are in, Smolov advises to include what Russian Olympic lifters know as a protyazhka, or a long pull, in your warmup. A protyazhka is a snatch without any knee dip whatsoever. Smolov plugs it in a time tested combo: a snatch grip long pull x 3-5 reps + a wide grip press behind the neck x 3-5 reps + a squat with the bar on the shoulders x 3-5 reps. I believe that you would do even better if you ditch back squats in favor of overhead squats. The latter are great for developing SQ specific flexibility and enforcing a good technique the hard way. Smolov’s warm-up calls for four to five sets of the above combo.”

I think you might find this enough upper body work. Those long pulls are tough even with a light weight. If you wanted more, you could possibly do some weighted chins (low volume, high weight) on your days off without overtaxing too much.

I am going to use smolov towards the end of this year. My current goal is to get 300/400/500lbs in the big 3. As such my ideas for additional exercises may differ from yours, but I was thinking along the lines of:

Bench/upper push: add in a ‘few’ sets using between 75-85%, low reps though. May use Pavels’ PTP stuff here to keep with the russian theme - that’s sufficiently low volume not to intefere too much I think. May also drink neat vodka beforehand, because if somethings worth doing… it’s worth doing drunk.

Deadlift/lower pull: virtually no full deadlifting - maybe just practice form with a v light weight. I’d then also add some grip work and some low back prehab in. The squat should keep the dl sweet anyway providing grip work is maintained. If you’re a recreational climber I’d maybe think of doing this too. I may do some higher rep ballistics as I enjoy them.

Upper back: I pretty much always ‘grease the groove’ with chins. I usually do a few sets a day of this exercise. Once in a while I may do some heavier rowing.

Anyway, that’s what I’ll probably do, but like I say we have different goals so take what you like and bin what you don’t.

[quote]juninho wrote:

Deadlift/lower pull: virtually no full deadlifting - maybe just practice form with a v light weight. I’d then also add some grip work and some low back prehab in. The squat should keep the dl sweet anyway providing grip work is maintained. If you’re a recreational climber I’d maybe think of doing this too. I may do some higher rep ballistics as I enjoy them.
.[/quote]

Hate to hijack my own thread, but a great way to do this, is by deadlifting with an apollon bar or bull bar, basicly a thick bar but using smaller weights, like using 25lb plates instead of 45lb plates. This way, you use less weight, still get a good back workout because the bar is lower, and train your grip really well. It has become common in my routine and I’ve been seeing great gains with it.

OK, so here?s the deal. I?ve decided to include my upper body work in the smolov squat routine by doing them in my warm up. I will do some bodyweight chins, something easy like 312, or one of the back routines I?ve picked up from wrestling and climbing, alternating 312, frenchies, the renzo gracie upper back workout, and climber?s pull ups.

Also, I may do the long pulls that Smolov recommends to warm up with. They are called something weird, but their pretty much a snatch but without the dip in your legs to catch.

Ill post my workouts and results here for anyone that is interested?

Ok, today was Monday, so it was squat day. I only squat once per week, my other leg day being centered around overhead squats, and power cleans or deadlifts. I did 10*3 with 85% of my 1RM, 200.
I am squatting 235 right now at 135 pounds bodyweight. That was my morning workout.

I am trying to get my body used to higher volume with squatting, so I did a strength-endurance workout, basicly 102 with 185, but with only 45 seconds in between sets. This was a workout, as I am used to longer rest periods, but my goal is to get to 102 with 185 with only 20 seconds TBS.

sounds ok… keep us posted.

Yeah, keep us posted. BTW, judging by your last post, shouldn’t it be wressler135 now?

It should. I competed in states at 135 naturally (without cutting weight). I don’t know if it’s possibe to change my name on the site though. Good catch.

I am also trying to destroy my upper body before embarking on smolov. I am doing this so that in the period of time while I am neglecting upper body training, my body will still be recovering from this bout of overtraining. Lifters call it supercompensation, westsiders call it circa maximal, and athletes call it peaking. call it what you want, but its overtraining to allow for overrecovery.

I am doing this throught increasing frequency as well as intensity. I have begun incorporating bands, and have started using HEAVY band tension in the bench press. Also, Tuesday was my climbing day, so I did a 4 hour session. I was dead afterwards. My hands were swollen and my forearms looked ripped. My upper back was sore the next day.

I plan on doing a light climbing session tomorrow (thursday) as well as a full upper body session.

What do you guys think of this?