Smolov Jr. Squat And Bench Program
Smolov Jr is a powerful, three week fitness program based on the Russian Smolov routine, but tailored to be less strenuous and more versatile. After this three week routine, many lifters report a significant increase in their lifting capacity – as much as 35 lbs for their dead lift and 25 lbs for their bench press!
The workout can be based around the same squat as its big brother, or can be translated to the bench press. And though it is not as intense as the Smolov proper, it is still a high intensity, high volume, and high frequency workout. As such, it is intended for intermediate to advanced lifters.
Make no mistake, this may well be one of the toughest workouts you’ve ever attempted. Like the Smolov, the Smolov Jr program has left many broken egos in its wake – though at only three weeks, it will be a less significant investment of your time should you find it is not for you. However, if you stick with the it and add weight safely and intelligently, the Smolov Jr squat program can be the single best investment you can make toward your lifting goals.
Technique Is Critical
The first step to this (or any) workout is perfecting your technique. A strenuous workout routine like the Smolov Jr should not be attempted with anything less than perfect technique. Whether you are attempting the squat or bench press version, injury is always a risk with high intensity workouts. To reduce the risk of injury, make sure your technique is up to par before you begin. This program will reinforce and refine your technique, making it second nature, and improve the way you approach all future workouts.
But, it’s necessary to have the fundamentals down well before you begin. If you have any doubt as to the adequacy of your technique, do not attempt the Smolov Jr. Work on your technique first, then come back when you’re ready.
Here’s The Program
If you think you’re ready, we’ll get started. The program consists of three weeks of squats (or bench press), four days per week, with rest days spaced evenly between. Each day, the weight and number of sets increase, but the reps per set decrease. Here’s how it goes:-
For week 2, simply repeat week one, but add 10-20 lbs to your baseline from week one. For week 3, repeat week 2, adding an additional 5-10 lbs (15-30 lbs total)
|Monday||6||6||70% +10-20 lbs|
|Tuesday||7||5||75% +10-20 lbs|
|Thursday||8||4||80% +10-20 lbs|
|Saturday||9||3||85% +10-20 lbs|
|Monday||6||6||70% +15-30 lbs|
|Tuesday||7||5||75% +15-30 lbs|
|Thursday||8||4||80% +15-30 lbs|
|Saturday||9||3||85% +15-30 lbs|
To calculate the specific weight for each week, take your max from 1 rep and calculate the appropriate percentages for each phase of the routine.
Focus On One Program
Other workouts are not recommended during the three weeks you will be following the Smolov Jr program. The routine is intense enough to work on surrounding muscle groups. Additionally, due to the high intensity, other workouts may impede your recovery and make the Smolov Jr routine less effective.
If you absolutely must continue other workout routines, you should make sure that your muscle groups are not being worked twice. You should also perform your Smolov routine first, as it will be the most strenuous.
Don’t start with too much weight. Make sure you know your limits and don’t exceed them. This is a serious workout and you can hurt yourself.
Also, focus on your recovery as much as the workout itself. Eat food high in protein, and lots of it. And be sure to get enough sleep every night. And, above all, be sure to stay hydrated. Drink as much water as you possibly can. Lactic acid is a byproduct of the metabolic processes that occur within your muscles, and when this acid builds up, it causes soreness and fatigue. Water helps your muscles flush out this acid, and staying hydrated will keep your muscles functioning at their peak efficiency, preventing fatigue from setting in quite so easily.
Boosting Recovery Further
To get the most out of the Smolov Jr program, you may also want to augment your normal nutritional regimen with additional supplements. Whey protein will of course help you add muscle mass faster, and creatine will help your muscles function at the peak of their ability.
Other steps you can take to aid in your recovery include hot-cold therapy. Simply alternate hot and cold showers, or hot soaks with an ice bath. This will loosen and condition your muscles. Stretches will also help to disentangle muscle fibers and align nutrient pathways, speeding your recovery significantly.
Finally, practice active recovery. This means, use your muscles in a low-intensity fashion between workouts. Don’t just sit around, but keep your muscles warm and prevent them from ‘locking up’. Nothing strenuous – take a walk, light swimming, do some house work, go shopping.
Unsure On Weight?
If you’re not sure of how much weight you should be lifting, Smolov Calculators are available online to make things easier for you. Simply put in your one rep max and the Smolov calculator will do the rest.
If you find the weight too much, it is better to add no weight the second or third week and to stick with the program than to add more weight than you can handle and fail to perform the required reps. If you fail a set or a rep, reduce the weight in 5 lb increments until you can perform the workout through to completion.
Taking It To The Next Level
If you find the program works well for you, you may want to group two Smolov Jr programs together – a total of six weeks with one week off between them for rest and recovery.
While this makes a tough workout even tougher, it can pay incredible dividends, almost doubling the increase from one cycle. Many report up to a 50 lb gain in their squat and a 40 lb increase in their bench press from a two cycle workout. That’s a tremendous gain from just seven weeks!
Any other programs that are similar to Smolov Jr that you would recommend? Hereby my experience with the program: