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Does the Smolov Squat Routine Work? My Final Results

Posted in - Health on April 2nd 2012 1 Comments
Smolov squat experience final update

Get a spotter when testing your 1 rep max
(photo courtesy of Brett Jordan)

This is the final update for my Smolov squat routine. It’s taken me a while to update because I skipped a month (more on that soon) and was slow to write this post.

I choose the Smolov routine as a test to improve the weight I squat having been stuck on 100kg (220lb) for two years or more. Any other gains like a weight gain or deadlift gain were a bonus.

If you missed the previous posts, learn more about my journey (and possibly why you should give it a shot) at:

  1. Part 1 (overview)
  2. Part 2 (includes 7 recovery tips)
  3. Part 3 (half-way results)

So firstly, I was slow to do the final cycle in December. It was the Christmas holidays and I was tired of squatting. I hate squats yet alone doing a routine purely about squats. Skipping the excuses, I got lazy.

Did the month-long break hurt my final result? I believe I could of gained 10kg more on the squat had I not made this big mistake. Having lifted 120kg half-way through the 13-week program, I extended my initial goal of 125kg to 135kg.

I tested my 1 rep max on the final date in the schedule. I warmed up at 80kg then 100kg – my old max. Wooo yeah. 110kg was easy. Then went 120kg. I lifted 120kg straight up and down unlike my previous max test where I temporarily froze during the lift. I was stronger.

But how much stronger? I had no spotter. I put 130kg on and got under the bar. It was a lot heavier. I video recorded the final test just in case I collapsed under the bar and wanted you to laugh at my misfortune (also because I wanted the final update to be a video post), but it turns out I didn’t press the record button. Doh. It’s not something I could re-record.

Back under the bar, 130 came off the rack. I got half-way down the squat and wasn’t confident I could keep going then get back up. Guessing my limits, I ended the test day there. Testing your 1 rep max is dangerous especially with the squat and more so without a spotter. It’s probably the most dangerous thing you can do in a gym besides walk in there with a bomb strapped to your chest.

What was my new max? 120kg felt comfortable with no spotter. I’d estimate 125-130kg. I didn’t achieve my new goal of 135kg, but I reached my original goal of 125kg (which you can see I set in my first update)!

Like I said I would, I’ll do something with you to celebrate achieving the goal. I’m thinking a large discount off Big Talk.

Overall Feedback About Smolov

Be ready for pain. Lots of pain and soreness. Every muscle will be sore in the first cycle so make sure you use my 7 tips to recover fast. After the first 2-3 weeks, all soreness from the routine was minimal. If you start the cycle, feel sore, and want to quit, use that as reassurance to keep going.

My second and final piece of advice to you is if you’re considering the Smolov routine, stick at it to the end. Sure, I stuck at it. I never missed a workout. Heck, I did every possible set and rep laid out even when I had to squat 5 reps and wanted to quit after 1. But don’t give yourself a one-week break in the schedule. Follow the workout days to perfection.

If you want to gain weight on your lifts and are willing to endure the soreness, I highly recommend the Smolov routine. I’ve never been one to gain weights on my lifts fast. I’m a hard gainer and added 25kg to my squat in 13 weeks (well, 17 weeks).

As of now (1) people have had something to say...

  • jl -

    September 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Regarding your strength, and body mass, you are just not trying hard enough.

    Linear progression and eating would get you over 100 kg on the bar easily.

    Waste of time and waste of advanced program. Do your research and find who devised it and with whom it was used, before writing 5 posts about “advanced recovery techniques” and not single one on worthwhile progress.

    I’m may sound harsh, but I cringed when I’ve read about “most dangerous thing” and being “satisfied”. Also “not squatting” in baseball season but not “losing size” What size?

    You yearn for “tough guy aura” so you are using totally unjustified training program, starting it after long lay off and after first soreness speculate about possibility of torn hamstring.

    Really? Drop that artificial “hardcore thing” and just do simple program with any guts at all, it would take you a lot further.

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