How Smolov Works

The Russian Smolov Squat routine is split into 3 phases for a total of 13 weeks. As always, start with a weight you’re 100% sure you can Squat instead of starting too heavy and hitting plateaus. The 4 Smolov cycles…

  • Weeks 1-2 – introduction cycle to prepare your legs. Week 1 you Squat 3 day in a row working up towards heavy singles, rest of the week is stretching to speed up leg recovery. Week 2 you Squat every other day.
  • Week 3-6 – the base cycle where you’ll Squat 4x/week for 3 weeks. 4 sets of 9 reps Monday, 5×7 Wednesday, 7×5 Friday, and 10×3 reps Saturday. The weight increases each workout, each week. Week 4 is a rest week where you’ll only Squat once and attempt to break your PR.
  • Week 7-8 – the switching cycle is a 2 week deload to give you a well deserved physical and mental break before the next cycle.
  • Week 9-13 – the intensity cycle where you’ll only Squat 3x/week, but 44% of the time it will be using weights between 81 and 90% of your maximum… and for 4 weeks on. Most guys agree this is the hardest part of Smolov. Week 5 you attempt to break your previous Squat PR.

Do NOT Deadlift with Smolov. One, it would mess with your Squats. Two, Squats work similar muscles as Deadlifts, so it will almost always increase anyway. Just do some Bench Press, Pull-ups, band pull-aparts and lots of stretching – done. Frankly, many guys call it a day after they’ve finished their Squats on Smolov.

Tips for Maximum Results on Smolov

During the intensity cycle (week 9 to 13), you must take 2 days after the 2nd workout of each week because it is the most challenging one. Do the last phase of Smolov on Mo/We/SA. Few more tips…

  • Eat – lack of food kills recovery so eat at least 3000kcal/day. 
  • Sleep – sleep is vital for optimal recovery from your workouts, and lack of sleep kills motivation. 
  • Get a Training Partner – having someone behind your back when you’re Squatting, yelling at you to get your reps on each set, especially when you’ve having a hard time, is an invaluable tool on Smolov. Find one.

The first week of the Smolov base cycle is the hardest. Especially the 7×5 day is rough. Expect your legs and lower back to be sore. By week 2 your body will be used to all the Squatting and then it’s really a matter of mental fortitude.

Read more here.


Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting strongly recommends that you consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program.

You should be in good physical condition and be able to participate in the exercise.

Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting is not a licensed medical care provider and represents that it has no expertise in diagnosing, examining, or treating medical conditions of any kind, or in determining the effect of any specific exercise on a medical condition.

You should understand that when participating in any exercise or exercise program, there is the possibility of physical injury. If you engage in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Muscle & Mirth / Garage Gym Powerlifting and its affiliates from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown.


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