smolovjr

Program Overview


The full Smolov cycle is a brutal 13 week reckoning. In the tables below, all percentages are based off your 1 rep max (check out our smolov calculator or app to compute your weights). At a high level, the program consists of the following:

WeeksDescription
1 - 2Phase In
3 - 6Base Cycle
7 - 8Switching Phase
9 - 12Intense Cycle
13Taper Week

CriticalBenchplate[1]

 

Phase In

This initial two week phase is all about getting your body acclimated to doing heavy squats regularly. None of these lifts should be too challenging, if so, you probably should make sure that you’re basing your numbers of your true and current maximum. Leaving ample time to stretch your legs is highly encouraged during this period. Since we keep the loads pretty light, it’s ok if you want to mix in some accessory work like plyometrics or lunges.

WeekDayLifts
113 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%
123 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%
134 x 5 @ 70%, 1 x 3 @ 75%, 2 x 2 @ 80%, 1 x 1 @90%
211 x 5 @ 80%
221 x 5 @ 82.5%
231 x 5 @ 85%

 

Base Cycle

smolov-squat-routineHeavy squats 4 days a week. This cycle will test what you’re made of. It’s quite normal to see an uptick in appetite… go with it. You need to properly fuel those muscles to maximize gains. Your week-to-week increase should be based off how you feel. If during the first week you feel fantastic, you don’t struggle at all with any of the sets, then go ahead and load an extra 20lbs onto the bar in week two. At the other extreme though, if you’re failing sets in your first week, you’ll want to stay at the same weight in week two. If you’re not at one of those two extremes, pick something in between.


If week 2 felt fantastic, then add an additional 10 lbs over what you used for week 3. However, the same applies for week 3 as it did in week 2, if you’re failing sets – don’t increase the load! Week 3 should be both physically and mentally challenging, if it isn’t you didn’t add enough weight.

WeekDayLift
314 x 9@ 70%
325 x 7@ 75%
337 x 5@80%
3410 x 3@ 85%
414 x 9@70 + 20 pound increase from Week 3
425 x 7@ 75% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
437 x 5@80% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
4410 x 3@ 85% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
514 x 9@70 + 30 pound increase from Week 3
525 x 7@ 75% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
537 x 5@80% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
5410 x 3@ 85% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
61Rest
62Rest
63Build to 1RM
64Build to 1RM

 

Switching Phase

During this period you get to give your legs a bit of a rest from heavy loads. You will focus on dynamic effort lifting during the switching phase. This means you will work at about 50 to 60% of your new 1RM and concentrate on speed out of the bottom of your squat. You can also use this window to cycle in some box squats and even do some band work a la Westside Barbell.

 

Intense Cycle

Hope you enjoyed your break from heavy loads during the switching phase because it’s time to get back to it now. While we are dialing back our lifting days per week to 3, the loads are very heavy now and your percentages should be based off your newly acquired 1RM from week 6. I’m not going to lie, this cycle is going to suck. We don’t want you consistently failing reps though, so if this is the case, try reducing the loads a bit.

WeekDayLift
911 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 75%, 3 x 4@ 85%, 1 x 5@ 90%
921 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@ 90%, 2 x 5@ 85%
931 x 4@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 70%, 5 x 4@ 80%
1011 x 4@ 60%, 1 x 4@70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@90%, 2 x 4@ 90%
1021 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 3 x 3@ 90%, 1 x 3@ 95%
1031 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 85%, 4 x 5@ 90%
1111 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
1121 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 3@ 95%
1131 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 4 x 3@ 95%
1211 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
1221 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 4 x 3@ 95%
1231 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 80%

 

Taper Week

Ahhh… sweet relief! This is the week you’ve been working so hard for and dreaming about since you started the program. We’re going to get a little squatting in this week, but it’s mostly about resting, stretching and preparing yourself for your 1RM test at the end of the week. Don’t forget to take your supplements! Head over here to see our recommendations.

WeekDayLifts
1311 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 5@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 95%
1321 x 4@ 75%, 4 x 4@ 85%
133Build to 1RM