Workout Programming: Smolov Jr.

A friend of mine asked me about trying to work the Smolov Jr. bench program (split into 3x/week over 4 weeks) into a regular training schedule. I put a fair amount of thought into it and figured that I’d share it. Here is the exchange:

Kyle,
If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you a few questions on Smolov – specifically how it impacted recovery for the squat/deadlift.
I’ve decided that enough is enough re: Show and Go. The program itself is fine, but I feel as if I’ve been stagnating big time on both lower body lifts. My bench has also stayed the same. Part of this is due to failing to eat enough to gain weight, and part has been some poor efforts in the gym, but in any event, a change probably needs to be made.
I’ll be squatting 2x/week – likely one time for speed and once a week where I’ll work up to a heavy single.
This seems like a good program to maintain squat strength at your bodyweight; that is pretty much my plan when it comes to in-season squat programming. Speed work / heavy triples. Is that your goal? You won’t drive much upwards progress in the squat with this type of program due to lack of volume.
Tuesday
DE Squats, Smolov Workout #1, DB Incline, Chins, KB Swings, Abs
Wednesday
Smolov Bench #2, JM Press, Pushups, Row Variation (either chest supported or cable)
Friday
Deadlift, Squat, Chins, GHR, Abs
Saturday
Smolov Bench #3, Push Press, DB Row, BB Curls
Smolov Bench #3 just one day after ME DL/SQ workouts + chins/pull-ups is going to be very hard, especially if you are at your upper novice limit of bench progression (while I wasn’t). I strongly prefer a Sunday/Tuesday/Thursday/Friday schedule where you have at least one day off between workouts; and scheduling your ME DL on Tuesday (surrounded by fresh days).
I think you would do well to maintain progress (or gain slight progress) on the SQ while you attempt to drive bench/DL progression. Squat strength is something to focus on as a primary target and costs a lot in terms of training economy and recovery; the main secondary benefit of that type of programming is that your pulling strength will go up without much DL work. IMO you either focus on improving squat strength or maintaining it, and if you maintain it, you can focus on one other type of training goal (endurance, bench strength, weight loss, etc). Recovery is not a pitcher of water you pour into various body parts, but you knew that already.
Hope that insight helps you some for what it’s worth.

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