Smolov jr.

Smolov jr. is a three week program that comes from the Russian squat routine known as Smolov. A big difference is it’s 1/5 as long and not nearly as taxing on your body. Another difference is Smolov jr. can be used on other lifts besides the squat, and is actually quite commonly used on the bench press. The majority of users report that they add 20-35 pounds to their squat or deadlift, and 15-25 pounds to their bench press(some even claim numbers up to 40 pounds). Then there are the lifters that say it did absolutely nothing for them, but for the majority it usually works and increases your 1RM(one rep max) if done properly. The routine is as follows:


Week 1

Day Sets Reps Weight
Monday 6 6 70%
Wednesday 7 5 75%
Friday 8 4 80%
Saturday 10 3 85%

Week 2

Note:(When you add the 10-20 pounds onto your percentage, it’s just the same weight you used last week plus 10-20 pounds.)

Day Sets Reps Weight
Monday 6 6 70%+10-20 lbs
Wednesday 7 5 75%+10-20 lbs
Friday 8 4 80%+10-20 lbs
Saturday 10 3 85%+10-20 lbs

Week 3

Note:(Do not add 15-25 pounds onto your lift in addition to the 10-20 from week 2. Instead add on extra weight to get a total of 15-25 pounds.)

Day Sets Reps Weight
Monday 6 6 70%+15-25 lbs
Wednesday 7 5 75%+15-25 lbs
Friday 8 4 80%+15-25 lbs
Saturday 10 3 85%+15-25 lbs


To get your percentages you need to plugin your one rep max. For example lets say you can bench 200 pounds for one rep, then your week one would look as follows:

Day Sets Reps Weight
Monday 6 6 140lbs
Wednesday 7 5 150lbs
Friday 8 4 160lbs
Saturday 10 3 170lbs


you can use a calculator to figure out your percentages if you click here.

The way it works is it adapts your CNS to handling heavier weight, your warm-up weight will feel like an empty bar. You will also perfect your form practicing the lift four times a week also known as “greasing the groove” in lifts like bench press. By not going to failure you are allowing your muscles to not be fatigued and continue to overreach. It really is a controlled form of overtraining and takes advantage of supercompensation.

When you add weight each week be careful not to add to much. The rule of thumb is to add more on lifts like squat and deadlift and less on lifts like the bench press. If you fail a set it usually means you added to much weight and should most likely drop back down at least five pounds. If the weight feels to easy then feel free to add a little more as long as you know you can handle it. When you complete the program be sure to rest and deload before you max out. You can max out a few days after completing the program, but the recommendation is at least one week, however listen to your body and if you need more than take more. It’s not unheard of to take two weeks off after running a program like this especially if you’re not that advanced or have poor recovery ability.

You should not use this routine while trying to cut weight because you will most likely not gain anything, or even worse you may fatigue yourself to the point where your lifts actually decrease. You should increase your caloric intake(eat more) when working with programs like this to ensure recovery and reduce the chance of fatigue and overtraining. Staying hydrated is also a key part of any program and is vital to both strength and recovery, so be sure to drink as much water as you can for the best results. If you liked this program you could check out the FREE Serious Powerlifting Strength Manual, which has proven to be an effective routine to up your bench in only a few weeks.

Below you can see two lifters who both added 20+ pounds onto their lifts using Smolov jr.


Review on Smolov Jr.

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39 thoughts on “Smolov jr.”

  1. Should i be doing lifts after I bench such as tricep extensions, dips, etc. ? And if so should I do these after every workout or just a few?

    1. You shouldn’t need to do any accessory work if you are doing smolov and eating right. If you feel like you have more gas in the tank, go for it, but I’d do a strict cycle on it first to see how you feel by the end.

    2. No, don’t do any assistance for chest/triceps. This program is super-heavy as it is and you will definitely be overreaching the whole 3 weeks without any assistance. I would recommend doing some back and legs work though. For most lifters this would mean just enough to maintain strength levels.

    1. You really shouldn’t be doing any assistance work at all. Maybe just some back work like pullups and some light rows/trap work.

  2. just made it through my first week of smolov squat intro mesocycle ;) feel like i can squat double already,gonna run jr alongside it for bench as ive always struggled on bench,i mean im a 180kg squatter 210 dl but bench 85kg @90kg bw

  3. When you do this routine, do you do the rest of your body after? I’d imagine doing chest only would make you lose whatever gains you made on your back, biceps, etc.

  4. Hi, i was wondering how you determine how much weight you should be adding on the 2nd and 3rd week? I know it states a range of 10-20lbs but how do you determine from that range?

    1. It varies from person-to-person. I followed the program guidelines which state that if you’re near failing don’t add weight at all, if you feel invincible while lifting add 20 lbs, otherwise find what works for you in between.

      I ended up adding only 5 lbs per week, but put 30lbs on my squat with Smolov Jr.

    2. Just use the calculator. Plug in your original 1RM and it will spit your weight out for each day, each week. Whatever your 1RM is when you begin, is the 1RM weight that you plug in to the calculator for the duration.

  5. I added 20lb to my all time bench press max and about 30 lb from the start of the program. I highly recommend it.

  6. I can say I am a believer in “Smolov Jr” program I was able to destroy my passed PR of 205lbs to a new PR of 235lbs!!! a 30lbs pr!! all I did to make sure I could perform every other day was stretch REALLY GOOD and eat good! thanks to Smolov Jr I have beast lower body leg strength and any workouts to need my leg strength is cheesecake.

  7. My max on the bench press right now is around 174 lb. I plugged my numbers into the calculator with an 12.5 weekly increase or 25 lb overall increase. On the last day of the program, I should be pressing 171.5 lb. (10×3). When I plug this into a one rep max calculator, my projected 1RM is 182 lb, just 8 lb. more than my last PR. Am I missing something here?

  8. Started out with a 330 max bench at BW of 180. Finished the 3 week cycle and hit 360. This program works. Only question is, what do you do to maintain gains as a follow up routine?

    1. i did smolov base mesocycle for squats and could do my max for 7 reps at the end of it (after doing a deadlift max before hand) im now doing ed coan for squats and deadlift and hoping to god it works because it lasts 10 weeks but ya nothing compares to smolov, i cant wait to do the full cycle after this ed coan doing smolov jr as well which surprisingly ive managed to do the first week paused but what im beginning to learn is frequency with moderate weight is the best way to go with appropriate deloads of coarse. im really worried that ill plateau
      if i do smolov constantly its to much stress on the cns to be doing back to back even with a week rest

  9. Okay so may on bench is 200 ATM. All time pr is 210. So I used 200 for my max and the 1st 2 days Monday and Wednesday were cake. Friday and Saturday have gone to crap. I’ve had to drop a lot of weight to complete the sets. I’ve been eating at least 500 cals over maintanance drinking plenty of water.sleep . Everything . My max is right so why can’t i do the %??

    1. Finished it and bench went up 10 lbs. still don’t know what the deal was for not hitting all the prescribed %s. In the 2nd week of this for squats and the reps are coming a lot easier than bench.

  10. Hey!

    Would it be recommended to do smolovjr for bench and squats at the same time? Or is it even possible to do squats, bench and deadlifts using this progam during the same period?
    I can imagine it being really tough but is it possible to do with the same results etc?

    1. I am in the process of doing both bench and squat running the Smolov Jr program. I just started my third week and checked my 1RM on both lifts AFTER my first workout in the third week. I lift squats before bench.

      Squat is up 40 lbs (315 to 355) and bench is up 20 lbs (245 to 265). Surprising results to say the least. One big factor (besides the program) was the change in my diet. I have always been cautious of caloric excess but decided to try it when I started this program. I have consumed 3000-5000 cals per day since starting the program. Frankly, I don’t know which factor (diet or program) had a bigger impact on my success.

      Good luck.

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