Smolov Jr. (Bench Press & Squat) + My Results

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…

Smolov Jr.

Week 1

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 Max., 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

  • On November 26th I tested my Bench Press and my best was 115kg.
  • On November 28th I tested my Back Squat and my best was 130kg.
  • On December 26th I tested my Bench Press and my best was 127.5kg.
  • On 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.