All About Squats – The Legendary 13 Weeks Smolov Routine

Smolov Squat Routine is a thirteen-weeks heavy weight training program for squats which was originally created in Russia. The training program is named after its creator, Sergey Smolov “The Russian Master of Sports”. It is considered to be one of the most difficult squat routines in the world of weightlifting. Keep in mind that it demands three to four days per week, as the strength gains are expected to be absolutely impressive. The training program itself is separated into five cycles.

The cycles interchange the training intensity with the main goal of a new one-rep-maximum. This program is designed for advanced athletes, who have enough experience and the possibility for good recovery. Still, there is a lighter version – Smolov Jr. Squat for beginners. The routine is intended for increasing the Squat strength. Most of the people who completed the routine successfully increased their one-rep-maximum with an average of fifteen to fifty-five kilograms.

Introduction

The program is popular mainly among powerlifters, but it could also come useful for bodybuilders. Probably, while reading this article you would ask if you can perform other exercises while carrying out the Smolov routine? Basically, it is not recommended, since the routine itself loads the body significantly. Many gym-goers (especially bodybuilding oriented) do not leave the gym until they feel completely exhausted. It is very common that the aforementioned leads to the implementation of redundant exercise, which is proven to burn calories only but not developing the muscularity. Remember – if you still have energy after you finish a training session, it is always better to save it for the incoming recovery.

General Overview

Cycle

Duration
Introduction Cycle 2 weeks
Base Cycle 4 weeks
Switching Cycle 2 weeks
Intensity Cycle 4 weeks
Taper 1 week

Introduction Cycle

The development of the entire training routine is based on one-rep-maximum (1RM). Similar to other training programs, the weighted usage is calculated based on a percentage of your one-rep-maximum. If you do not know your max rep, then it will be better to pick the weight that is underestimated instead of one that you can’t lift.

Important – The percentage shows what weight you should use compared to your one-rep-maximum. The second number is the rep count. The third number shows the sets count.

Week One

Day Workout (percentage, reps, sets)
1 65%x8x3, 70%x5, 75%x2x2, 80%x1
2 65%x8x3, 70%x5, 75%x2x2, 80%x1
3 70%x5x4, 75%x3, 80%x2x2, 90%x1

After finishing the first three days of the first week, focus on Lunges. Be careful, do not push it to the limits with the Lunges.
For your convenience, below I will list some of the most common variations of the Lunge exercise:
Bodyweight Lunge, Clock Lunge, Walking Lunge, Reverse Lunge, Reverse Lunge and Kick, Lateral Lunge, Alternating Lateral Lunge, Curtsy Lunge, Lateral Lunge to Curtsy Lunge, Lung with Rear Leg Raise, Lunge Pulse, Tick Tock Lunge, Walking Dumbbell Lunge etc.

 

Week Two

Day

Sets Reps % 1RM
Monday

1

5

80%

Wednesday

1

5

82.5%

Friday

1

5

85%

The volume during the 2nd week is considerably less than the first week, but the intensity is higher.

Base Cycle

Week

Monday Wednesday Friday

Saturday

1

70%x9x4

75%x7x5 80%x5x7

85%x3x10

2 (70%+10 kg)x9x4 (75%+10 kg)x7x5 (80%+10 kg)x5x7 (85%+10 kg)x3x10
3 (70%+15 kg)x9x4 (75%+15 kg)x7x5 (80%+15 kg)x5x7 (85%+15 kg)x3x10
4

Break

Break 1RM Attempt

1RM Attempt

Doing Squats four times per week with 85% of your one-rep-maximum and doing ten sets of three reps could come really exhausting. If you are unable to perform all sets with the aforementioned weight, reduce the weight with 5 kg. Of course, it is essential to rest between the sets as much as you need. (two-three minutes minimum)

Switching Cycle

This period is intended mainly for a break. The training sessions are oriented in speed and explosive power. The entire workout for speed is performed with no more than 60% of your one-rep maximum. There is no particular set up for these two weeks, but below you can find the main principles:

  • Emphasis on training sessions for speed ~ 50% of your one-rep maximum.
  • Try Squats with a block underneath your heels, in order to improve your explosive power at the lowest position.
  • Perform different variations of block jump and lungs. (listed above)
  • Rest enough and do not use heavy weights.

Intensity Cycle

This four-week training set is initially developed by the famous weightlifting and powerlifting coach I.M. Feduleyev. Therefore most gym-goers use only the Base Cycle, since the Intensity Cycle is extremely tough.  

Week

Day (percentage, reps, sets)

1 Monday

65%x3

75%x4 85%x4x3

85%x5

Wednesday

60%x3

70%x3 80%x4

90%x3, 85%x5x2

Saturday

65%x4

70%x4

80%x4x5

2 Monday

60%x4

70%x4 80%x4

90%x3, 90%x4x2

Wednesday

65%x3

75%x3 85%x3

90%x3x3, 95%x3

Saturday

65%x3

75%x3 85%x4

90%x5x4

3 Monday

60%x3

70%x3 80%x3

90%x5x5

Wednesday

60%x3

70%x3 80%x3

95%x3x2

Saturday

65%x3

75%x3 85%x3

95%x3x4

4 Monday

70%x3

80%x4

90%x5x5

Wednesday

70%x3

80%x3

95%x3x4

Saturday

75%x3

90%x4

80%x4x3

As a matter of fact, this particular cycle is designed for athletes, who can tolerate a high volume combined with high-intensity training. Not to mention that it is extremely important that you’ll need to rest, sleep and eat as much as you can. If you feel that, you can not use the aforementioned weight percentages, then immediately reduce with 5-10%.

Taper

Day

Workout

Monday

70%x3, 80%x3, 90%x5x2, 95%x4x3

Tuesday

Break

Wednesday

75%x4, 85%x4x4

Thursday

Break

Friday

Break

Saturday

Break

Sunday

1RM

Helpful Tips:

Highly recommended – do not underestimate your body recovery. Very good options to speed up your body’s recovery are ice baths, steam baths, and sauna, massages or alternative relaxation therapies, stretching and nutrition-rich diet aimed at muscle recovery. Of course, do not forget to sleep and eat well. Both good sleep and quality meals are fundamental for proper muscle growth and harmonic body.

Beware of injuries – Please do not get involved with Smolov if you are experiencing any kind of physical pain. It is essential to be 100% healthy before starting the routine. If you have already started it, whenever you feel even a twitch, give yourself a break and consult with a doctor immediately. Stay healthy first, huge muscles and strength will come necessarily, but for this to happen you need to be healthy.

The lighter version – Smolov Jr. Squat which we mentioned at the beginning of the article is coming soon along with the bench press variation – Smolov Jr. Bench. Stay tuned!

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