View Full Version : Smolov squat for beginner

01-14-2005, 03:43 PM
I've just begun weight lifting (4 months) and feel that I'm still in the "beginner's gain" stage, where I can pretty much do anything and gain. So far that seems to be pretty true. I'm mainly shooting for increases in functional strength. Looking good and being able to lift maximal weights are just a bonus.

For 2005 I thought I'd start off with a bang by doing the full, 12 week Smolov squat program. My current 1RM squat is 220 lbs and I'm aiming for 300 by the end of 2005. I hope to increase my 1RM to 260 by the end of this Smolov cycle (in March)

I've just completed the 2 week introductory cycle (not the "base" mesocycle), which included squatting every day or every other day plus a few days of lunges. I didn't really get sore (DOMS) except for the lunges. The squatting was taxing but not insane.

I feel I'm ready to take on squatting every other day for a few weeks. Which is good since I'm starting the base mesocycle which has squatting every other day for 3 weeks.

In addition to my squatting I'll be performing a push exercise, a pull exercise, and one-arm dumbell snatches with a thick bar. Push exercises: pushups, incline press, overhead press. Pull exercises: chinups, pulldowns, db row. The snatch is just to get the blood flowing back into the system and work my speed and grip a little.

I am starting this journal to give other beginners an idea of how one guy did the Smolov program and to keep me honest. When I finish I'll post my Excel worksheets that show what assistance work I used.


01-14-2005, 04:11 PM
Sounds like a solid routine you've put together for yourself. There are only a few brave souls who have the balls to attempt the smolov squat routine. You can do it man, just hang in there and the gains you see will be worth it. Will you also be deadlifting in your routine? I'd think that might be pretty tough. What kind of push exercise are you going to do? OH Press or Bench?

01-15-2005, 09:29 AM
good luck with your goals pytron

01-17-2005, 12:39 PM
Thank you all! For push exercises I'll rotate these three: pushups, incline db press, overhead db press. I don't do barbell bench very often because I lift at home and have no spotter. Just about to start my first workout of the base mesocycle today.

01-26-2005, 01:21 PM
Ok, reporting back after the first week of the base mesocycle. Keep in mind that this week these weights are fairly light, just a ton a volume.

Week 1 (1/17)
Monday 4x9 day - got a crazy pump in my spinal erectors. Weight was not too bad.
Wednesday 5x7 - not too bad
Friday 7x5 - I find it easier to do the shorter sets
Saturday I was camping so I did my Sat workout on Sunday
Sunday 10x3 - Took a while to complete the sets but I did it.

Week 2 (1/24)
Monday - 4x9 day - Another day of a super-pump in the spinal erectors. Weight was a little more. I'm still very sore from doing supported rows on Sunday so I skipped my push/pull/snatch routine.

I'll keep you posted.

02-02-2005, 06:02 PM
I'm in the third week of the base mesocycle now. The squats are difficult to say the least. I find the high rep sets to be the toughest and it seems to get easier as the reps get lower. Despite the difficulty, I'm always pumped and excited to do my workout because I know I am progressing every time I go in.

On Monday I set a new est. 1RM personal record (PR) with 9@194 lbs. (est 1RM: 251 lbs.). That's up from 236 lbs. earlier in January. I started my Smolov routine with a 230 lbs. 1RM.

Today I was feeling a little restless a few hours after my workout. Decided to go in and try a deadlift 1RM. I haven't really touched a bar for DL since December (only one day, testing 1RM) and before that October. Since I've been squatting every workout I don't have a lot of time/energy to D/L, but I think the squatting has been building my lower back. I ended up pulling a new PR for the deadlift, 325 lbs. up from 315.

My bench is going up too. I've been doing lighter weights, higher reps on my off days. Kind of a "Power to the People" workout -- 2 sets of 5-10 reps and that's it.

My 1RM lifts now: Dead 325/Squat 251/Bench 160. Total: 736.
Shooting for 350/300/200 by year end. Total: 850.

02-02-2005, 07:25 PM
lifts looking solid man.

02-02-2005, 08:08 PM
Looking good, keep on lifting. I have always wanted to try that smolov routine

02-10-2005, 01:15 PM
Today was the end of the base mesocycle for me - time to test my 1 RM. Just got my power rack yesterday and put it all together. Warmed up with bar, 135, 225, then up in 20 lbs increments until 285. Then 10 lbs jumps until I got to three wheels - 315 where I failed. (All ATG squats)

So I maxed out at 305. It wasn't the most beautiful form - I was too fast on the descent and very slow coming up, but I felt like I had a little more in me, that's why I tried for 315. Now I know what it feels like to really fail on the squat, so I know how to push myself.

Bottom line is that I started at 230 and went up to 305 after about 6 weeks. I would guess my success was about 40% beginners gains, 40% ability to go to failure safety, and 20% smolov. Either way, I'm happy! My goal for December 2005 was to hit 300. I revised that to June of 2005 because of how well I was doing. Now I'll have to make it 350 for December. Who knows, I may hit that after the next part of the Smolov cycle.

Next up for me is the two weeks of switching phase (speed work). For direct squat work I'm doing: box squat, controlled negatives, and lockouts. For speed I'm working on snatches, db swings, thruster (squat down with db at shoulder, explode up and press db overhead), and star jumps. I'll probably throw some lunges in there for good measure, since I liked those in the introductory two weeks.

I'm kind of leary about the last phase, since my new 1 RM is so much higher, but sticking to the program seems to work, so I'll give it a shot. If it is too difficult I'll cut it back to a 280 1RM.

02-10-2005, 01:18 PM
My 1RM lifts now: Dead 325/Squat 305/Bench 167. Total: 797.
Shooting for 350/300/200 by June 2005. Total: 850.

02-26-2005, 02:25 AM
Today was the last day of the switching mesocycle/phase (2 weeks). This was actually the hardest part so far because it's somewhat unstructured. Did a lot of quick movements with lighter weights. Did box squatting for the first time--very cool but it made me sore. It is difficult to make yourself explode out of the bottom, even though the weight feels so light.

I did negatives with 1RM + 10. These were difficult as I had to remove weight and push the bar up from the bottom position since I have no spotter. Also I did squat lockouts (just holding the weight above the catches for 10 secs) with my 1RM + 30. These put some bruises on my shoulders but at the end I was handling them much better.

Next weeks workout, lots of squats in the mid 200's.
Monday: 3@200, 4@230, 3x4@260, 5@260
Wednesday: 3@185, 3@215, 4@245, 3x3@275, 2x5@260
Friday: 4@200, 4@215, 5x4@245

I still haven't gotten sore from regular squatting and squatting 3x a week seems to suit me pretty well. My legs are bigger although slightly less defined than when I started. I'll do measurements at the end. I am up to about 210-212 lbs now. I'm still eating like crazy.

I hope to hit at 330 by the end of the last cycle (4 weeks + 1 week taper). Just getting 315 (3 wheels/side) would make me happy, but 330 would mean I put 100 lbs on my squat from beginning to end.

I'll report back during the next cycle to let you know how it's going.

04-02-2005, 12:50 AM
Well, I finally finished off my Smolov plan. I maxed out at 310 lbs.

Overall I'd say that it was pretty beneficial but I'd like to point out my stumbling blocks for others.

The first phase went really well. I went from a 225 to a 305 in the first mesocycle. I think that the introductory 2 weeks really helped me prepare for the intensity of the plan. I think a lot of my progress was "beginner gains" but I think squatting every workout really helped me with my form.

The switching phase went pretty smoothly. I learned how to box squat and how to really explode with speed. I'm not sure I gained anything with the switching phase, but it was a change.

The last phase was really hard for me. Obviously, my max was much higher than before so everything was more difficult. I quickly switched the plan to a 280 1RM instead of 305. This helped but it was still very hard. The other difficulty was that I switched my squat style to a bit more power-style, with wider legs and more hamstring involvement. This really helped my hamstrings grow but I think it hindered my 1RM progress.

To top it all off, I lost my job and then had to do job hunting for two weeks. So that put a little crimp in things. It all worked out though because I got another job.

Earlier this week I maxed with my newer power-style at 295. Today I maxed using my old style at 310. Not sure what to think of that.

I met my goal (and then some) of 300 lbs by the end of 2005. Now I just need to improve my bench and dead to reach my new goal of an 850 total by June. I'm at 835 now.