Smolov is a 13 week weightlifting program used to increase your strength in the Bench Press or Back Squat. It incorporates progressive overload, meaning a calculated increase in weight over the 13 week cycle that should result in a significant personal best.
There is, however, a shorter but equally intense program lasting just three weeks, known as Smolov Jr. I followed this program in December 2017, which you can see in my training log. Smolov Jr. is as follows:
Day 1 – 6 sets of 6 reps @ 70% 1RM
Day 2 – 7 sets of 5 reps @ 75% 1RM
Day 3 – 8 sets of 4 reps @ 80% 1RM
Day 4 – 10 sets of 3 reps @ 80% 1RM
1RM = 1 Rep Maximum. The heaviest you can lift for a single repetition in that exercise. This can either be tested with a true best effort or by attempting your best in the 2-5 rep range and using a 1RM calculator to estimate your best lift.
N.B: These are not four consecutive days and should be spaced evenly throughout a week. For example, you could do these sessions on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Weeks 2 & 3
Determine the weight you lift in week 2 by how that session felt in week 1 (and base week 3 on week 2). If the sets felt:
Easy to Moderate -> Add 10lbs (~5kg)
Difficult -> Add 5lbs (~2.5kg)
Very Difficult -> Same Weight Again
Smolov Jr. Results
- November 26th: I tested my Bench Press and my best was 115kg.
- November 28th: I tested my Back Squat and my best was 130kg.
- December 26th: I tested my Bench Press and my best was 127.5kg.
- December 26th: I tested my Back Squat and my best was 145kg (155kg with a weightlifting belt)
Overall this program was excellent and completing that number of difficult repetitions in a week really allowed me to focus on perfecting my technique. I staggered the Bench and Squat sessions by a day, meaning I was in the gym every day which did get a little tedious (despite having a home gym). If you have a few years experience and haven’t progressed beyond your “beginner gains” in a while then I strongly recommend you give this program a go.