One of the most difficult squat programs is arguably the Smolov Squat program. It demands thirteen full weeks, at least three to four days per week. It uses high volume with heavy weights. Some of the squat days are done back to back and the program focuses on high and low repetitions. Strength gains can measure anywhere from 50 lbs to 130 lbs if the tough cycle is completed.
This is a routine designed for squats and only squats. The “Russian Master of Sports”, Sergey Smolov created the Smolov Squat program. It grew rapidly in popularity when the creator was published in Powerlifting USA Magazine in 2001 by Pavel Tsatsouline. This routine is designed for the experienced squatter that has years of training under the barbell. Someone who has excellent technique and form. It is made to produce a more serious challenge for a chance at a giant increase in gains.
Smolov Squat Explained
The range of gains with the Smolov Squat routine will differ dramatically between each lifter. General ranges are 20 to 50 pounds on the base and 10 to 45 pounds on the intense portion of the phase. After completing the full cycle, some of the lifters report an increase as much as 130 pounds.
The program was designed to run strictly as a shock cycle. It is not meant to be done multiple times annually. It is not one that you participate in for any reason other than creating an overload in the body for a specific amount of time. Deadlifting is forbidden when you are running the Russian Squat Program. It is not to be done while in a caloric deficit. You will increase the chance of injury if you ignore any of these warnings.
In all honesty, this is absolutely not one of those programs you should decide on a whim to just “give it a shot.” Lifters should have a very specific reason for needing this massive squat improvement in such a short amount of time. It should not even be considered for any other purpose. The whole point of the Smolov Squat Routine is to provide massive gains in the squat in a very short term. Period. Expect this routine to be harder than you could ever possibly imagine. It is in no way recommended for anyone who is at a beginner fitness level. This squat routine has a track record of failed cycles, injured lifters, and crushed egos.
Smolov Squat Program
- Introductory Microcycle -2 Weeks
- 1st Week: 3 days of squats in a row. Work up to heavy singles. The latter of the week include lunges to aid in recovery.
- 2nd Week: Using low volume, perform squats every other day.
NOTE: It is suggested by Smolov that explosive jumps and pylos be added within these two weeks. Avoid stressing the knees in the Base Mesocycle.
- Base Mesocycle – 4 Weeks (3-6)
- 3rd thru 6th Week: For 3 weeks, squat a cycle of 4 days. Increase the weight each week using the same amount of repetitions and set scheme.
- 4th Week: Until the end of the week, rest. Toward the weeks end work up to a single repetition max on two consecutive days.
- Switching – 2 Weeks (7 & 8)
- 7th & 8th Weeks: This phase is based on a speed/deload mode that is done using explosive repetitions with light weights. In this phase, nothing over 65%. Rest and recover.
NOTE: According to Smolov: “The switching program motto is speed, and speed again.”
- Intense Mesocycle – 4 Weeks (9-13)
- 9th thru 13th Week: 3 days a week squats. Lower the volume but increase to a higher intensity in comparison to the Base Mesocycle. This week’s numbers are calculated from your most current max.
- Taper 1 Week
- This is the last week before before the max is hit and then it is spent in rest so the body can recover. Monday the cycle will be 70%x3, 80%x3, 90%x5x2, 95%x4x3. Next day rest. Wednesday 75%x4, 85%x4x4.
Rest the next three days and utilize the last day, Sunday for the max..