The smolov routine It is a specialized training whose objective is to improve the maximum repetition that can be lifted in the squat. It owes its name to its creator Sergey Smolov, who is known as ‘The Russian Master of Sports’. In 2001 it reached its current popularity when it was explained by the coach Pavel Tsatsouline in an article in ‘Powerlifting USA’. This program has a duration of thirteen weeks that is subdivided into four specific phases. In order to visualize his structure, let’s look at these screenshots of a Smolov routine designed for someone who already has a very respectable 180kg squat and wants to improve his mark by being able to lift 190kg.
In the first two weeks, only the legs are prepared for what is to come:
This is followed by a phase of four weeks with four days per week of training, with which a maximum control lift:
We move on to two weeks of mixed training:
The maximum intensity arrives with squats three days a week calculated on that mark obtained in the sixth week and that should improve at the end of the entire routine:
By now you will have realized that we are talking about something very specialized and hard. A training with many particularities and that, in general, is quite little necessary and recommended for the vast majority of people for these reasons:
It is a method for specialists
The fact of focusing more than three months of work on a specific exercise shows that it is not intended as a tool for global improvement of your physical condition. Sticking to such a plan indicates, or should, that there are very specific sports performance goals behind it.
It makes no sense if you are just starting
Even if you are clear that you want to be a specialist or an elite athlete, if you still lack experience there is a lot of room for improvement before tackling this routine. He thinks that it is a strategy that many athletes who are stagnant after many years or who need a very specific action within a global training plan opt for.
It’s hard. Much more than it seems
It should be remembered that the sportsmen who do Smolov should be people with a lot of training behind them. That means that the mark to be improved is already usually good or high. If you do the math, as the programming progresses, you reach a very high volume of load, both daily and accumulated, and that, moreover, only affects your squat. This is a very serious muscle stress.
Anything can be strict. A diet too. It’s not that it’s bad, the point is that we are focusing thirteen weeks of training on improving your maximum squat lift. Nothing more and nothing less. It’s just as important to stick to the prescribed work as it is to the breaks you need. Think about whether you are willing to give up going biking with some friends, the soccer game on Sundays or your weekly mountain route. Other efforts can interfere with the final result, apart from the fact that they can make it impossible to reach the work goal the next day or even overload you so much that there is a risk of injury.
Having said all this, the message would be that it is good that you know that the Smolov routine exists and that you have a reference of the work that goes into improving a brand when you already have a good level of physical condition. On the other hand, I hope it is clear that getting into this type of training is for a person with a very good foundation and clear objectives. If this is your case, go ahead. Smolov works, but you’re going to sweat your shirt off.