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Smolov Routine

What is Smolov?

Smolov refers usually to the original Smolov Squat Routine.

The Smolov Squat Routine is a weight training program for increasing your squat strength, originating from Russia. It is named after its creator, Sergey Smolov “the Russian Master of Sports”.

The squat routine is a strength program broken down into four phases which last for a total of 13 weeks.

The four phases are:

  1. Introductory Microcycle  A two week phases that uses a variation of squats and lunges.
  2. Base Mesocycle – A 4 week segment which requires 4 squat sessions a week. You will re-test your 1 repetition maximum at the end of this cycle.
  3. Switching – Squat negatives and Olympic type lifts such as the power clean are utilized.
  4. Intense Mesocycle – 3 squat sessions a week are programmed leading up to the final squat test to measure your strength gains.

It is considered one of the most difficult squat routines around with recommendations that only elite level athletes use the program due to the high frequency and volume.

Throughout the program, Smolov demands three to four days per week, with some weeks squatting back to back days.

Strength gains have been noted between 50–130 pounds (22–58 kg).

What about Smolov Jr?

Smolov Jr. is an abbreviated version of the Smolov squatting protocol. It is also very often used for bench press. Some nutheads (myself included) may even run a double Smolov Jr. routine (bench and squat). You can read more info on the “classic” Smolov Jr. here and you can use our online Smolov Jr. calculator by following this link.

Smolov explained

Smolov is broken down into phases. The base phase (week 3-6) is the most popular, and sometimes ran entirely on its own successfully. Here’s the full, unedited original cycle.

WEEKS 1-2 – INTRODUCTORY MICROCYCLE

Week 1 – Squats 3 days in a row working up towards heavy singles. Then, the rest of this week includes lunges for recovery.

Week 2 – Squats every other day with low volume.

Note: Smolov suggests adding explosive jumps and pylos in these two weeks. Just make sure you do not stress the knees going into the Base Mesocycle.

WEEK 3-6 – BASE MESOCYCLE

Weeks 3-6 – Squats 4 days per week for 3 weeks. The weight increases weekly with the same rep and set scheme.

Week 4 – Rest until the end of the week. Near the end of this week, you will work up to a new single rep max two consecutive days.

WEEK 7-8 – SWITCHING

Weeks 7 and 8 – This is a speed/deload phase done with light weights and explosive repetitions. Nothing over 65% during this phase. Rest up and recover.

“The motto of the switching program is speed, and speed again.” – Sergey Smolov

WEEK 9-13 – INTENSE MESOCYCLE

Weeks 9-13 – Squats 3 days per week. Lower volume, but higher intensity when compared to the Base mesocycle. The numbers used on this week are calculated from your newest max.

FULL SMOLOV ROUTINE

Weeks Description
1 – 2 Introductory Microcycle
3 – 6 Base Mesocycle
7 – 8 Switching
9 – 13 Intense Mesocycle

 

INTRODUCTORY MICROCYCLE

Week Day Lifts
1 1 3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%
1 2 3 x 8 @ 65%, 1 x 5 @ 70%, 2 x 2 @ 75%, 1 x 1 @80%
1 3 4 x 5 @ 70%, 1 x 3 @ 75%, 2 x 2 @ 80%, 1 x 1 @90%
2 1 1 x 5 @ 80%
2 2 1 x 5 @ 82.5%
2 3 1 x 5 @ 85%

 

BASE MESOCYCLE

Week Day Lift
3 1 4 x 9@ 70%
3 2 5 x 7@ 75%
3 3 7 x 5@80%
3 4 10 x 3@ 85%
4 1 4 x 9@70 + 20 pound increase from Week 3
4 2 5 x 7@ 75% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
4 3 7 x 5@80% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
4 4 10 x 3@ 85% + 20 pound increase from Week 3
5 1 4 x 9@70 + 30 pound increase from Week 3
5 2 5 x 7@ 75% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
5 3 7 x 5@80% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
5 4 10 x 3@ 85% + 30 pound increase from Week 3
6 1 Rest
6 2 Rest
6 3 Build to 1RM
6 4 Build to 1RM

 

INTENSE MESOCYCLE

Week Day Lift
9 1 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 75%, 3 x 4@ 85%, 1 x 5@ 90%
9 2 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@ 90%, 2 x 5@ 85%
9 3 1 x 4@ 65%, 1 x 4@ 70%, 5 x 4@ 80%
10 1 1 x 4@ 60%, 1 x 4@70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 1 x 3@90%, 2 x 4@ 90%
10 2 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 3 x 3@ 90%, 1 x 3@ 95%
10 3 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 85%, 4 x 5@ 90%
11 1 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
11 2 1 x 3@ 60%, 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 3@ 95%
11 3 1 x 3@ 65%, 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 3@ 85%, 4 x 3@ 95%
12 1 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 4@ 80%, 5 x 5@ 90%
12 2 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 4 x 3@ 95%
12 3 1 x 3@ 75%, 1 x 4@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 80%
13 1 1 x 3@ 70%, 1 x 3@ 80%, 2 x 5@ 90%, 3 x 4@ 95%
13 2 1 x 4@ 75%, 4 x 4@ 85%
13 3 Build to 1RM

Use our Smolov Squat Routine calculator to simplify things!

 

TIPS FOR SMOLOV

  • Calculate off of a conservative “1RM”. If you calculate too heavy, you have a high chance of failing, or injury (use in the included spreadsheet).
  • Don’t Deadlift (or do anything taxing on the back). It is recommended to stay far away from anything that requires lower back recovery. You will need to recover all you can.
  • Take action to improve recovery. Eat a large amount of food, and sleep uninterrupted. Starting this cycle when you know daily stress levels will be low is recommended. You may want to invest in something like a foam roller, and other recovery methods.
  • Expect it to be harder than expected! Some lifters report adjusting a bit around week two.

 

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