Smolov Squat Experience: Adding 100 Pounds to My Squat in 3 Months


My legs are shaking already. I almost quit the Smolov squat cycle as soon as I started. More about my interesting day 1 completed today later in this introduction post.

What is the Smolov Squat Cycle

It’s a hardcore squat routine (Russian of course) designed by Sergey Smolov. When I say hardcore, it’s hardcore. You can read more about the cycle from Mehdi Hadim over at StrongLifts.

The cycle goes for 13 weeks. See my entire 13 week plan. It’s basically split into 4 cycles of squatting, squatting, and more squatting.

I started on the 28th of September 2011. I don’t know if I’ll stick to the full 3 month program – who knows what will come up on my calender – yet I’m committed to at least the first cycle, which is 4 weeks. Posting about it here almost live is sure to motivate me. I certainly don’t want to quit in-front of my blog readers.

The Goal

I’m no bodybuilder or powerlifter. Look at me:

Okay, it's not really me. A day 1 pic is at the start of this post.
Okay, it’s not really me. A day 1 pic is at the start of this post.

I’m 6’9″ and have struggled to increase strength and size (er-erm, muscle size) for years. As you see in my plan linked above, my current 1 rep max for the squat is 100kg. That’s ass to parallel with pretty good form. It ain’t easy moving all that weight the distance I have to lift it!

Though some people have supposedly added 100 pounds to their squat, I have a goal of half that. So the low down is: my current 1rm is 100kg (220lb) with the goal of 125kg (about 275lb).

Why 55 pounds in 3 months? I may be limiting myself by setting a smaller goal, but it’s believable to me. This is based on SMART goal-setting. It’s pushing my attainable factor as I’ve never made those gains before, but I believe it’s possible.

If I squat 125kg by the end of the year, I’ll do something to celebrate with you! Ideas?

Day 1 Reflections

I haven’t squatted for 8 months because of the basketball season here in Australia has just ended. I could of squatted light in-season, but chose not to because I figured I’d retain most of my strength and size over the period, which did happen.

So day 1 began today in my small home gym. It’s a good period for me to start because you should do the cycle when you have no other physical requirements like sport otherwise you’ll over-train.

As I lifted the barbell for my second set of the day, I felt soreness on the inside of my left and right hamstrings. “What! Already? You’ve hardly started and you’re already questioning whether you should do the second set which is suppose to be easy.” Not a good sign.

I paused with the weight on my shoulders considering if I should do the second set. I didn’t go ahead. At least not yet.

In the past I would’ve called it a day. But I knew I had to do something different if I was to get different results. I don’t know my limits, I don’t know what would happen if I kept squatting. Would I tear my hamstrings? Possibly, but it didn’t feel that severe… so I pushed on and completed the day. Phew.

Straight upstairs I went to swallow whey protein and recover feeling satisfied and relieved day one is complete. My hamstrings are already sore 2 hours post workout. It seems half the battle of this cycle is going to be recovery. Plenty of stretching, foam rolling, and hydrotherapy in the shower is in plan.

I would of surely completed day 1 easier had I done a week or two of squatting earlier. That’d be my first mistake.

Tomorrow will be interesting. I’ve never squatted with really sore muscles. Apparently you need to as part of muscular adaption in the first cycle.

What to Expect

I don’t know what to expect other than guaranteed soreness and de-motivation. But here’s the plan: I intend to post an update at the end of each week. Seeing that I’m doing for at least 4 weeks, that’s 4 updates. The next update will cover my first week.

What will be in my Smolov journal? Brute iron being pumped, most likely whinging of my soreness, training advice, recovery techniques, random videos, and probably even recipes. Is there anything you’d like to see or read about?

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