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:
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.)
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.)
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:
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 try out Lee Hayward’s Blast Your Bench Program, 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.